"Oh! Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh." This is the sound I hear after the punch lands, and I notice, somehow, as if from a great distance, that the voice sounds exactly like my own. Somehow I've moved quickly away, my feet on autopilot, as if backpedaling on a unicycle. There's a warm, numbing, yet tingling sensation in my nose and upper lip; it's spreading out through my sinuses, radiating through the center of my face. Wet liquid dripping, now pouring, onto my face. Snot? Or blood? I have a mild cold, so it's possible that this is nothing more than a runny nose; that punch might have dislodged something in my sinuses.
I slowly stagger toward my corner to see that Gilbert (my absent trainer's assistant) is climbing into the ring. I raise a glove to my throbbing nose and feel the leather slide against my dace, which is weirdly slick. I pull it away and stare at my glove, shocked.
Even against the dull black, it looks too bright and too red; it looks so terribly wrong, my blood. My eyes look down the front of my white T-shirt, which is splattered in blood. And blood is still falling out of my face in heavy, pregnant drops like summer rain. One splashes against the canvas, another on my bare thigh, leaving a red trail as it rolls toward my knee; now I'm moving forward, craning my neck forward, trying to bleed on the canvas, rather than on myself. Gilbert has arrived and is pulling my headgear off. As he does this, I have nothing to do but stare at these big droplets falling down and hitting the floor, and I'm starting to lose it. There's a big clog of crying working against my chest wall, fighting to bust out in a series of panicked, wracking sobs, I'm upset and scared, but I'm more afraid of everyone else knowing how scared I am, afraid of the sight of my own blood!