Chapter 45: “Summer Soliloquy”
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June 25th was twenty-one days away, but the entire month of June had always been a celebration of another year of life for me and now; that celebration was more apropos than ever.
We started the month off strong by attending the Senior Class play at the High School. It had only been a year since I partook in our own Senior play, Club Tango. I played an Italian character named Guido (I know, I know: not racist at all).
Nevertheless, Club Tango was an interesting experience. Only the year before that play, I had uttered the casual declaration that I wanted to make movies. Had it not been for that life-altering decision, I would have not auditioned for the Drama Club’s production.
I never found the Drama Club to be “weird” like the cliché, but I certainly didn’t think it was going to add to my cool factor either. Turns out Drama kids in general, were cooler and more levelheaded than the majority of high school. They didn’t care about status in high school. Nor did I.
My initial thought process for acting in a production was that if I didn’t know the actor’s side of the equation regarding the relationship between them and the writers & directors of the world, then how could I possibly be effective in either of the latter professions?
So, I said, “screw it,” and took the biggest step from my social shell yet and performed about a dozen lines in front of hundreds of people and peers. I was incredibly nervous, but being a part of this play was integral to my passion, and so I too had a blast.
Naturally, since my life continued past my rigorous eighteenth year on this Earth and I still wanted to pursue this craft, I hotly anticipated the school’s next production. I drove my roommates and another friend to the show from our small Wallagrass-based home.
Driving had always been immensely fun in Northern Maine. The speed limit hovered around forty-five on average, but many people didn’t pay attention to it.
Yet, lurking around many corners and hidden pathways, the Police of Fort Kent, Maine and the surrounding State Troopers spent the majority of their time patrolling the streets for speeders who did in fact, ignore the posted limits.
I had been lucky. I was once pulled over for not slowing down to thirty-five near Pinette Hill. This hill was forty-five coming down, and within half a mile, it dropped to thirty-five. A cop had parked just behind that sign, and once stopped me on the way home at night.
He let me off with a warning, and since then, my radar had been finely tuned to these “cop-cozies.” That is, until this trip to the play…
We were running late for the play and didn’t want to miss the beginning, so I carelessly cruised by one of the well-known spots at which cops perched in anticipation of their prey. The speed limit was forty-five…
…and I was doing sixty-eight. Dangerously close to criminal speeding. The cop threw on his blues and stopped me faster than it took for me to notice his presence.
He gave me my very first speeding ticket, and along with it, my first license suspension.
See, in Maine, if you get caught with a moving violation within your first two years of being a licensed driver, then they take your license away for thirty days.
The worst part was that I had less than a month left before my two years were up and that law had gone into effect after I passed my tests.
I was pissed and devastated (a horrible combination). The officer informed me that I could postpone this punishment for a later date. So that meant that I would need to walk to work every day or I could stave off the punishment until school began… Hmm. I had to mull this over.
At least the cop gave me a lower fine: he only wrote me down for just under twenty past the limit, saving me about eighty bucks.
We continued our drive and ended up arriving a tad late for the play. I tried to enjoy it, but all I could think about was when I would serve my thirty days of immobility.
In the next few days, I decided that maybe I would be better off serving the thirty days in September when my college classes began. That way, I could still make it to my job in the summer, go to my doctor’s appointments, and be able to enjoy myself.
At least when at school, I could walk to work. I mean, MBNA was literally right up the street from the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
I remember Saturday, June 19th well. Once every month, everybody at MBNA would have to work a Saturday morning. Normally, I worked the 5-9 PM shift, but on this day, it was a 9am-12pm shift. This wasn’t as dreadful as it sounded because we would get free breakfast in the form of coffee, donuts, and all the fresh fruit we could eat.
After the shift – on the way home – I got a call on my Nokia brick; it was my roommate, Shawn. He asked me when I would be home. I told him in about twenty minutes. The reason for the call never entered my mind. Even when I arrived home and saw a half a dozen cars, I thought it was probably some get-together that they were having.
I thought to myself, “I hope I can take a shower and relax a bit.”
I opened the door and stepped inside.
More than two-dozen of my friends and acquaintances littered our house with an enthusiastic cheer. I was blown away.
I had always wanted a surprise party thrown for me, and there was no better year than now to celebrate another tick closer to the clock of death, for I, reset the timer.
Everyone cheered as I stood there with genuine shock. Tony brought out a birthday cake with nineteen candles on it. And then, we all proceeded to party until the wee hours of the night.
I was never happier.
This is an ongoing story of my personal battle with Cancer. My hope is that it helps others who are currently experiencing their own battles (whether it be for themselves or a loved one) or to help with early detection.
The way I’m doing it is terrifying for a writer. I’m writing a publically available first-draft outline for an eventual book, chapter by chapter in weekly form. The only reason I’m doing it this way is to get the story out as soon as possible for someone out there who needs a survivor to visit them during their own treatment. If you’re reading this and need someone to talk to, tweet at me and I’ll give you a call. No questions asked. This story is for you and I’ll help any way that I can.
Stay tuned, as I will be posting a new chapter every Monday until the story is complete.
And remember if you experience any Anemic symptoms– get checked for Leukemia as well.