Blood Drive

, , , , , , | Related | June 20, 2018

(This happened several years ago. My father, brother, and I are on a car trip to visit my dad’s family. It’s a long trip, and at thirteen, I’ve just started getting my period. I don’t know how to use tampons, nor have I figured out that pads come in varying thicknesses. Unfortunately, I get it the day before we are meant to leave, and have been doing my best to keep things subtle, but over the course of the twelve-hour drive, I have been asking to stop at least every two hours. This happens around hour ten.)

Dad: “Look, you’re cut off from fluids. We stopped two hours ago, and we’ve only got two hours left; you’re fine. You don’t need us to stop again.”

Brother: “Yeah, what’s the matter with you? You’ve barely had anything to drink all day, and you’ve added like an hour onto the trip.”

Me: “Guys, I know it’s annoying, but please, please, can we stop soon? There’s a gas station in a few miles, and I really need us to stop.”

Dad: “You’ve been saying that all day! You can manage at least another hour, all right?”

Me: “No, seriously. I really, really can’t, okay? Please, please, please stop at the gas station, Dad.”

Brother: “God, you’re so [expletive] annoying; you’re being such a brat.”

Me: “Guys, please!

Dad: “I’m not stopping.”

Me: “Do you want bloodstains in your new car, Dad? ‘Cause that’s what’s going to happen if you don’t stop.”

(There’s a moment of quiet, and then…)

Brother: “Are you trying to threaten us into stopping?”

Me: “I’m on my period, dumba**!”

(Another long pause. Dad pulls into the exit lane.)

Brother: “Can’t you just… Hold it in a little longer?”

Me: “That’s not how that works! I’m not willingly trying to ruin my shorts! It just comes out!”

(Neither of them spoke another word until we reached the gas station. When I came out of the bathroom, they’d bought a pile of different types of chocolate for me, and asked me if I needed to stop every time we passed a rest station the rest of the way there and back. They do their best, in their own way.)

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