The grizzly jumped me on October 12. I decided to deal with the brown bag of bloody clothes from the hospital last night. I wasn't "afraid" of dealing with it. I just wasn't sure "how" I wanted to deal with it. Throw it away? The ancient blue hoodie with the caked blood in the base of the head and neck area? The pale green tank top that was underneath, stained in front and back on the right? The pale green bra under that, one of my favorites, stained on the front right cup?
Keeping them as bloody souvenirs seemed a bit much, even for me.
I started with the bra. I washed it in the sink. The blood came mostly out, good enough anyway for the real value of the bra which is that it is the perfect color for showing straps under a couple of summer shirts I own. I soaked the hoodie, ancient but I love it. I'll run it through the washing machine next to see how far gone the stain can go. If it doesn't come all the way out, that's okay. I can still wear it for what I've worn it for. Hanging out. Nothing fancy. It's a dark blue. The stains won't matter.
The four puncture-like rips on the left shoulder remind me what happened was real.
The tank top won't come clean. It will have to go.
The score from the brown bag was the three burrs I found along the sleeve and cuff of the hoodie. I'll put them with the feather I had picked up within fifteen minutes before the attack. It was probably eight days later, camped on my friends' sofa, that I remembered picking the feather up and that it was still in the back pocket of the baggy, hand-me-down chinos I had been wearing that day that were lying on the floor of my bedroom back at home.
I've been asked if I've had flashbacks. It's hard to call something I think about for awhile everyday a flashback. But then again, thoughts aren't flashbacks. It's hearing the crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, the river rocks beneath my feet, the tempo that indicates the speed of the trek from the brush to the car holding on to my bleeding head, my face on fire, and not knowing if the Bear would come again, and the strange under-the-skin shiver that accompanies it - that's the flashback.
It isn't a bad thing. I want to remember.