Chapter 64: “In With the New”
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“…In with the new.”
The phrase had never had a more prescient meaning. My time in this small valley town was nearing an end and it wasn’t the cancer that was going to take me from it; it was my own two feet.
I remember the first time I felt okay with the decision. It was an awfully cold night in April when I attended a midnight screening for college students at the Century Theater. Luckily, these shows were at a reduced rate of $1.50 (down from $3.50, yeah, I know). This experience was my first of its kind. The fact that I was surrounded by other youths looking to expand their education was not lost on me. We were the future and the film we were illuminated by was V For Vendetta. The Guy Fawkes mask-wearing V came at a time wherein I needed to revolt against my own fascist government: the security of home.
I was rejuvenated with the desire of grabbing my life by the horns and steering it where I need to go. I stayed up well past the screening of V to note this desire on my Myspace blog:
If something is wrong in your life, then you need to correct it. Don’t put it off; act now. Only when you know where you’re going in life is when you can be truly happy. It’s the day-by-day process of working towards that goal– while living in the now. That’s the key. Don’t live in the past, or the future, live in the present. You’re never guaranteed tomorrow.
I was likely the only one in the theater who had felt such a powerful locomotion to act. I went home feeling like I could change the world but first– I needed to pack for the move to Bangor.
Subway was going swimmingly. I absolutely adored the job, especially the part where I was able to craft sandwiches. I took the Sandwich Artist title seriously and made sure to make each sandwich to the best of my ability. I immediately saw what Tony loved about the job. Speaking of which, I had hoped that this Subway thing would work out; I didn’t have a lot of money to go around.
Shawn had decided to move down with me as well and luckily for him, he could easily transfer to the Paradis Shop N Save in Brewer. I had never thought he was ever going to leave Fort Kent, but he sure did surprise me. I think he fell into the same trap in which I had found myself once, the female persuasion– the gravitational pull of which is profound and mystifying. His girlfriend had recently graduated and she was coming to Bangor to attend the New England School of Communications. Nevertheless, Shawn was set to make the big jump to Penobscot County and there was no turning back– well, at least until the lease was up.
Our other friend, Keith too had decided to make the move. He had a lot of ambition and wanted a change of scenery. That, to me, was a bold move of its own. He was already set to switch to Paradis in Brewer.
Our friends Dan and Nikki with whom we attended the University of Maine at Fort Kent, helped us secure an apartment near them at 217 State St. Dan had recorded a video of the apartment and it looked great. He vouched for the landlord, who admittedly was a touch weird, but Dan was working for him in construction and he seemed like a good guy from which to rent.
But as we prepared to move three hours south, we couldn’t leave without a proper send-off. We scouted the “cuss you sohns” we had used for those videos (and to get away) and found the perfect spot hidden by a tree line of spruce as far as the eye could see. We made a rather quaint fire in the nearby field and invited literally everyone we knew at the time. Since it was for Shawn, Keith, and I, we had myriad friends – from all walks – out in the woods behind my Mom’s house.
It was one of the best parties we’d ever had. We took over the “cuss you sohns” without permission and had a raging send-off with everyone that we knew.
One particular memory of the night was one of the most devastating for me personally. I pulled a Chris Farley-esque maneuver while driving Shawn’s truck. Instead of backing up, I drove straight into our friend Ashley’s car, crushing the back bumper like a piece of aluminum foil.
Everyone there (including Ashley) saw it, and immediately my mind raced with the worry of how to pay for the repairs, especially since I needed the little money I had to move. So, I did the only thing that came to mind and backed up. Miraculously, the dent not only rescinded, but there was ne’er a scratch on the vehicle at all. Too bad I had already shit my pants in utter fear.
The next day we finished packing my car and Gary’s truck full of my junk. They were going to follow me down. However, this caravan was going to separate and soon, it wasn’t going to be the family and me but just my friends and me.
Once we got down, Gary’s truck broke down and we had to drive them back home. The only problem with that was my car’s AC was out and so we had to drive back north in the scorching heat. What made it worse was that my radiator wasn’t doing so well either, thus, we had to blast the hot air just to keep the temperature at a safe level.
We stayed over for a night in Fort Kent literally the day after we left. This scared the life out of me. I knew we had to bring Mom and Gary back, but it immediately felt as though we were giving up and heading back home with our tails between our legs. That was the LAST thing that I had wanted to happen.
On our trip back down to Bangor, Shawn and Keith bought some beers as I drove (yeah, not a good idea) and we had a hell of a time in my sweltering shitbox.
We reached our apartment and Dan and Nikki greeted us with a demonstration of their new Tiki bar. We played cards and caroused the night away.
Then Dan and Parker wanted to show us around the town and I – of course – drove. It was apparent I was going to be the permanent designated driver for I didn’t ever want to drink.
As we drove around town, I offered alternate routes because “I know Bangor really well now.” I suppose it made sense that I would have thought that for I had been in Bangor every month for over fifteen months, but in reality, I wound up getting us lost. From that moment forth, Dan, Parker, and Shawn dubbed me “Mr. Bangor.”
I suppose I would now need to secure a job in the town for which I was named. Welcome home to Bangor… “Mr. Bangor.”
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.
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Bonus Video! Shawn getting “supplies.”