Listen, friend. I will give you one — and only this one — opportunity to stop reading. If periods gross you out, you should be done. Right now. Click away. Abort. SAVE YOURSELF. Or carry on. I don’t care — *shrug* — I’ve done what I can. Now it’s on you.
I don’t really know what to say about this other than it’s worse than The Day I Pooped My Closet. And I do not believe Hallmark has made a sympathy or apology card that quite covers the “I’m sorrys” I owe my son-in-law so I’m a little stuck on how to make this right.
On the bright side, I suspect we’ve officially reached the all-time low point in our mother-in-law/son-in-law relationship, so it’s nice to get that out of the way. No more wondering. No more anxiously watching the passing of the years to see when the Most Awkward Moment will rear its head. No more heightened awareness to prevent the slide of a relationship from supportive to cordial to tolerant to rotting decay. Nope. None of that for us. I managed to take us off the Relationship Cliff and plummet to the bottom of the canyon where we lay in bloody ruins, unable to look each other in the eye. So it’s all looking better from here. No where to go but up!
For background purposes, know this:
1. Periods get weirder as humans who have them get older.
2. Actually, everything gets weirder as we get older.
3. And, by weirder, I specifically mean more sporadic. Messier. Gooey-er. Chunkier. Sweatier.
4. There are night sweats that ignore polite perspiration and set far wetter “body of water” type goals.
5. There are baby hot flashes that drive one to sit naked in one’s bedroom window in desperate bids to cool off.
6. And there are periods that arrive without warning, as sudden and furious as every natural disaster before them, and as unpredictable in the swath of destruction they leave behind.
Look, none of this is pretty but all of it is true, and, perhaps worst of all — and pertinent to this story — one doesn’t always know which squishy, squashy, mushy event is happening in one’s pants. It’s like being twelve years old again, except at age forty-six, which leads me to conclude I may never learn how to have a body.
Yesterday was hot outside, and yesterday I went swimming.
Also yesterday, I changed out of my swimsuit when I was done. I threw on the clothes I had in the bathroom — a bra and a dress.
All of these are things, I feel, that normal humans do. None of these are things, I feel, that should have given me a sense of foreboding, which is why I did not have any such sense.
So yesterday, I went to the kitchen where my husband and my son-in-law were making themselves lunch, pulling carne asada beef from the fridge, planning to cook it on the stove.
And yesterday, I felt squishy and squashy — par for the course these days, but information I usually keep to myself for propriety’s sake because I am nothing if not a model of decorum — and I went to feed the dogs, puttering around, pulling out the bowls, and scooping out the kibble.
“What is that?” asked the son-in-law.
“What IS that?” asked the husband.
Which is when I glanced over to see what the “what” was to which they referred.
Which is when I realized it was blood — a whole puddle of it — in the middle of the floor.
Which is when I realized it came from me. That that squishing and squashing I’d felt was productive squishery and squashery. That as I crossed the kitchen, minding my own business, my own business was not minding me. That I’d somehow failed to notice I’d leaked. In a dress. Sans panties. Onto the floor.
Which is when my eyes widened and brain seized and my words froze.
BECAUSE HOW DOES ONE SAY “THAT IS PERIOD BLOOD” IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT SAY “THAT IS PERIOD BLOOD” BECAUSE SAYING “THAT IS PERIOD BLOOD” IS GROSS?
The gentlemen leaned in to examine the pool upon the floor. And I watched them in horror.
THAT IS HOW I WATCHED THEM.
“Is that blood?” asked my husband.
“Is it?” asked my son-in-law.
And my brain unseized far enough to think YES. YES, IT IS BLOOD. And also, OH NO. NO NO NO NO NO.
But my brain did not unseize far enough to think what to do. What to say. HOW TO STOP THEM. HOW TO MAKE THEM LOOK AWAY AND FORGET WHAT THEY’D SEEN.
“Where did it come from?” asked my husband.
“Where did it come from?” asked my son-in-law, looking from the floor to the package of raw beef in his hand. The not-at-all leaking package of raw beef in his hand.
The dogs began to approach, sniffers sniffing.
And all I could think was I KNOW WHAT IT IS. And I KNOW WHERE IT CAME FROM. AndTHEY HAVE TO STOP LOOKING AT IT. And OMG STOP THE DOGS.
And normally I like to think I’m good under pressure.
Normally I’m good in a crisis.
Normally I’m the one to call in an emergency like my cousin did when he cut off his thumb with a skill saw and needed someone to drive him to the hospital. Because normally blood doesn’t freak me out, and normally I can think on my feet, and normally I can make things better instead of very much worse.
There was nothing, sadly, about this situation that was normal, however, and so my stuttering brain prioritized things in this order:
1. Make them stop looking at it.
2. Make sure they don’t have to clean it up.
“STOP,” I commanded, and they all looked at me. The men. The dogs. “Just BACK AWAY,” I said. “And look away. It is blood,” I explained, “and I’ll clean it up.”
I thought that might be enough. I thought that might work.
Unfortunately, it is normal to want an answer to the question about the origin of a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, and so they persisted.
“But where did it come from?” they asked again.
Which is when I made the Biggest Mistake of Them All, and I told them.
Listen, friends, and listen well. There is a time and a place for the truth, and there is a time and a place to lie. THIS WAS A TIME TO LIE.
But did I?
No, I did not.
Instead, I told the truth.
“That is blood,” I said again, and added, “from my vagina.”
FFS, Beth. SMDH. COULD YOU NOT HAVE LIED AND SPARED EVERYONE?
The rest, to be honest, was a blur. The son-in-law, wisely, made a run for it, raw package of beef returned to the fridge where it stayed. The husband heroically held off the pack of dogs. And I somehow managed to clean up while rewinding and reviewing the play-by-play in my head for what I should have said, how I should have lied, how I should have deflected.
“What, that? Oh, that came out of the package of beef. Weird that there are no holes in the package, but I KNOW that’s it BECAUSE I SAW IT. No worries, though — I got it.”
“What, that? Oh, that’s so weird. Looks like blood, BUT I’M SURE IT’S NOT BECAUSE WHERE WOULD IT HAVE COME FROM? No worries — I got it.”
^^^Two things that would have been better than what I actually said.^^^
And so, here we are.
The son-in-law eventually returned to our house. I apologized for telling the truth. He graciously said it wasn’t my fault and that these things happen EVEN THOUGH IT WAS MY FAULT AND THESE THINGS DO NOT HAPPEN. He even — sort of — is looking me in the eye again, which speaks to both his kindness and his bravery because THIS IS THE WORST.
I feel like there has to be another way to say I’m sorry, though. Like, a way to make this right, you know?
But I haven’t found any Hallmark cards that say “I’m sorry I have a vagina and that you know this now,” or any gift baskets online that say “I’m sorry I told you the truth; I hope in time you can learn to trust me again.”
So I guess what I’m saying is a) there are worse things than pooping the closet, after all, and b) if you have gift basket ideas, I’m all ears.