When I was in high school, there was a church youth group which I attended regularly. There was a nice, outgoing young lady who had moved into our community and we were all encouraged to "make her feel welcome."
Immediately, I sized up the competition. There was hunky, blue collar Pete, the assistant cook at our Boy Scout Camp. This guy owned a Jeep and during the wintertime, would "go Jeepin", which was driving through the snow drifts and pulling people out of jams with a tow chain and a little high gear traction. This was a hard act to follow, considering I didn't drive yet, and his act of charity and goodness really turned her head. Linda frequently would "go Jeepin'" with him.
There were a few other guys who attempted to date her, and I thought I might also, but nothing terribly serious.
She also mentioned that she liked to "ride bike" as we put it . Since I had taken several 5 mile boy scout hikes out Hickory Road and was familiar with the flat farm terrain, I invited her to a biking date. We were going to bring sandwiches and something to drink and just peddle in the extremely warm, dry early summer morning before it got too hot.
We met at the church and immediately set out peddling north out Hickory Road...There wasn't a lot of shade, but we continued in the warm morning sun, as our noses dried out and the smells of the farmland swept over us. We got as far as the end of the paved road, where it turned into a country lane that disappeared into the brush. By reputation, this was a lovers lane, though iI wasn't sure if Linda knew it or not.
I asked what she wanted to do, and she said she didn't care, so I took this as a good sign and we plunged on into the green, lush, overgrown one lane path. As the temperature hadn't dropped much, I was a bit surprised when my nose started to drip.
I wiped with the back of my hand and was shocked to see it was blood. Linda must have noticed it at the same moment, cause we both came to a stop, and embarrassed, I apologized for my nose's untimely gush. I got off the bike, and she handed me a tissue, which I used to wipe away the flow, but it wouldn't stop. At a lost for what to do, I suggested we turn around and head back and she suggested that we stop to rest instead.
We parked our bikes and walked over to the large tree, sitting at it's base and looking around. The field was filled with cow patties and dried turds. Not the best romantic location, but one that I was forced into. The tissue was soaked by now, and the blood wasn't stopping. I asked her for suggestions, and she said to lean back with my head in her lap. I could feel the blood pool in my throat, and with my tongue, blocked it off. I must have sounded like a duck, attempting to talk with a plugged nose. "Shhhhhhh," she soothed, "just lay quiet. Don't get excited, just relax."
"I'm not excited," I protested, "I'm puzzled and concerned, but not alarmed nor worried." My pulse was slow, I was resting, but my mind was racing instead. She stroked my brow and made small talk, carrying the conversation so I wouldn't speak. After a few minutes, I moved to say something, and felt the large mass of snot shift and try to drain down my throat. I rolled over and motioned her away as I spit out a LARGE clot of blood.
Now,I was beginning to panic at this point. I suggested that we sprint for home. All thoughts of wooing this girl or any semblance of courtesy and romance was gone. I just wanted to get home and get medical help. We mounted our bikes and she followed.
I set off at a good clip, taking the lead and almost leaving her in my dust. When we got to the edge of the town, where we should turn toward the church, I turned to her and apologized, asking if she could find her way home. It was close to noon now, and the sun was high. The heat was coming on strong in early summer. She said she'd be fine, and we separated.
A few more blocks and I was home. I dashed into my folk's house and yelled for my mom...telling her I had a bloody nose. She was shocked, as I explained that I had been biking with Linda. "What did you do to her?" she exclaimed, thinking that Linda had smacked me in the face for a rude advance or something. I assured her I was a perfect gentlemen, but that the nose just started gushing for no reason.
Well, I lay on the couch with a wet washcloth over my forehead and neck, and within a few minutes, the damn thing had stopped running. The bleeding was stopped within ten minutes... unlike the marathon bleed of the morning. I was stumped. So was my mom. We made a doctor's appointment that afternoon, and went for a check up.
There was no explanation, as i assured him that I ha d never had as heavy a bleed before, and nothing had happened. We were just casually peddling north into the farmland, and that there was NO precipitating incident.
The doc reported it was a bleeding septum, or flap of skin between the nostrils that must have just dried out between the heat and the exercise. For some reason, the return into our house with the altered temp and humidity was enough that it had had a chance to stop.
That was the end of my hot date with Linda. I never recovered from it. We were friends, but never anything more.
But my mind goes back to that day whenever it gets so hot in the summer. I remember the heat, the exertion, the taste of the blood. And I never forget to rehydrate...drink water! I learned the hard way.