By Dana Quell

The night my nose bled, you left.

It was winter in Louisiana, and though there was only a slight chill in the air, I was
cold. On nights like those, you held me, fragile as the strongest wind in your
arms. If you were Napolean, clinging to his teddy bear during the long nights at
military school, you couldn't have held me tighter. Then again, Napolean never
toured the inside of Versaille Hospital.

You took a drag of your cigarette and put it out as you exhaled. I moved closer despite
the smell of forthcoming disease hanging in the air surrounding you. And I felt the
headache pulsing along my sinus cavities, more alive than I, and something gave,
then. The pressure was released, and for an instant, I deceived myself into thinking
I was back to my old self.

You startled at the sight of my blood on your arms. I must have lain still after my
headache escaped, too deathly still for you, because there were your fingers feeling
for my pulse.

I turned my head and kissed your fingers, but you pulled away. My blood had been on my
lips, and I suppose they had gotten all over your fingers. It was already beginning
to oxidise, and orange-red hued stains were spread everywhere.

You revolted my right to exist within your embrace and stood abruptly. Where are you
going where are you going? my mind cried, but my lips would not move. My hand
hovered inches from the drying blood below my nose, and I wondered why I had not

Where are you going where are you going where are you going?

You and I both knew where you were going. Away, and that's all that mattered. You and I
both knew what this meant, and it hung between us in the seconds it took for you to
leave -- in the mere moment that it took for you to distance yourself before the
bleeding ever stopped.

I wanted to scream to you that it was only a little nosebleed. That it would be gone
soon and you could hold me again. But you would have seen through that. You would
have seen it as a sea of red rushing my days past me. And because of that, what
could I have said then?