Chapter 72: “Once It Hits Your Lips, It’s So Good!”
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“The better sex.” That term never had more meaning then at this point in time. I don’t hate on men but women had (and continue to have) a clear power over feeble-minded men like me.
Kyle had introduced us to his uncle and his group of friends during the summer. His uncle Ritchie was one of the kindest and most pleasurable guys with which to hang around and his friends were just as amazing. Shawn, Kyle and the rest of us would go out to “pre-game” at their apartment before they would head out to the bars. I was always one to be surrounded by drinkers but never one myself. My parents both had issues with alcohol and thus, I was still deathly afraid of heredity addiction.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them but wasn’t much of a fan of heading out to the bars after the fact. See, the majority of the places they would go were gay bars and while I have no qualms about the orientation of any person it was weird being hit on. I had never felt that sensation before, unfortunately, and this time it was by men. So, it didn’t do much for me.
One of their friends was a wild woman named Sierra. She had always proved to be the life of the party even amongst the wildest bunch of friends I had ever come across. And yet, she possessed this freedom and confidence in who she was and what she wanted that really attracted me to her.
On paper, she was the exact opposite of the person I thought I’d ever want to date: she smoked cigarettes (a trait for which I never cared), she was loud and a serial-partier (I wasn’t), and she was quite promiscuous. She often boasted her ‘number’ like an achievement (I just wanted one person; it didn’t matter how many people I’d been with [even though at the time the numbers were the same]).
No matter how different Sierra was from me, I was interested. I rightly picked up on the fact that she too was “interested.” Shortly after one of our later party nights, I stayed back as everyone else went home and we talked for a good hour longer. Then we hooked up. I made sure to use protection and in fact, she smartly recommended it and after the fact, we fell asleep in her bed.
It was fun but something felt off. I didn’t know what but I knew it wasn’t right. But I did what I had done all of my life when it came to any relationship (in any way that was inferred) and grew infatuated nonetheless. I ignored the warning signs and went for it throwing caution – and rationale – to the wind. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling this weird energy and went home.
The next night we pre-gamed at our place and then continued onto Benjamin’s, the “gay” bar of Bangor. As I said several times before, I was terrified of being an alcoholic but had refrained from the substance all of my life during some of the wildest parties and had never had the urge to try it.
On this night in particular, I felt my curiosity get the best of me. I was almost twenty-two and thought I had made it this far so what’s the harm of a taste?
Ahh, who am I kidding? That’s what I told myself after the fact. Sierra asked me a few times and it didn’t take more than a measly prodding before I gave in and had my first full beer. Yes, I said FULL beer. When I was a kid (before we were whisked away to foster homes) my Dad was chatting with my Uncle Ray outside near the shed on a quiet Saturday morning. He asked if I could go get him another beer but decided to add a caveat: “Open it first.” If this wasn’t an invitation to take a sip then I don’t know what was. I popped it open as soon as I pulled it out of the fridge and tipped the dewy Milwaukee’s Best can back and chugged a gulp off of it. I gagged as it touched my taste buds and forcefully choked it down. It was a disgusting flavor that I never wanted a part of again.
The same went for smoking. One time while my Dad, Travis, and I went hazelnut picking I sneaked a puff off of his lit cigar in the ashtray. My retching nearly made me vomit and I spent the next five minutes spitting outside of the truck hoping that neither my Dad nor brother returned to the truck anytime soon. The taste was so bad that I debated cracking one of Dad’s cold ones in the cooler in the back of the truck and swapping one disgusting taste for the other. I didn’t; I wasn’t that desperate after all.
So it was no surprise with my two types of precedence that I had no intention of trying either vice but the power of the female persuasion was ferocious and I finally gave in. Ritchie bought me my first beer– a Michelob Ultra, his favorite. The taste was atrocious; no better than the Milwaukee’s Best before it.
I forced it down and couldn’t help but feel the whole night that I was letting my parents down. They drank so much that they lost custody of their children and I knew that the addictive nature was within me. I was like a doorman afraid of doing his job: shakily turning the skeleton key as the notches clicked free and the door flew open. Who knew what this could have led to? I had precedence for this too: fear of the unknown; but then I thought, “I’m my own person. I know that this is an issue in my family’s DNA and that if I get too crazy, I can always stop.”
Call it calming my own anxieties or psychobabble but this was what went through my mind as I twisted the metal cap off of the second Michelob of the night.
But the night’s end, I had four Michelob Ultras and a Budweiser (my Dad’s other beer of choice) and was feeling okay. I wasn’t wasted but I was rather chatty; Shawn made sure to let me know of that. I returned to Sierra’s apartment that night and we did it once again.
Precedence is a funny thing. The knowledge can be used to avoid dangerous or unwanted situations but sometimes you distrust it to indulge in a fantasy of its ignorance. I once again told myself that this relationship could work and thought that we could actually get together until we talked the very next day and I knew that it was definitely over. She didn’t “like” me as much as I had thought and I felt like a notch on her belt more than anything else.
I felt dejected yet hopeful that one day I would find somebody to love once more. We hung out more after that but always within the group. The one thing that didn’t change, however, was that I kept drinking. I liked it. I never went past my limits until the night that I did and I drank hard alcohol. That was the first time that I had to pray to the “Porcelain Gods.” Luckily, my first time doing so was also caught on film thanks to Shawn. Even when I was this messed up I still had lucidity to me.
Oh well, cheers to finding someone else, mate! I can finally CHEERS somebody now that I drink, how bout that?
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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