Chapter 85: “The Winter of Our Discontent”
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Ah snowstorms, you never know how early they would strike during “fall.” Maine’s fall lasted around one to one and a half months and our winters sustained for sometimes, half a year. If you wanted to live in Maine during the winter, then endurance was the key to survival.
There’s something pristine about the bitterness of our winters. After this phase of death, comes a rebirth, a renewal of the beauty of nature. But winter itself is as immaculate as it is destructive. A thick silvery blanket shrouds everything in sight as if it’s coddling the world, preparing it for the coming months.
In this epoch of rebirth came time for Travis and me to go it alone. We wanted to break off and find a place that we could share without sharing a single room. Deirdre and I were spending more time together, and Travis and his girlfriend were still going strong, so it was important to let our surroundings foster those relationships (and ours with each other).
Shawn and Kyle weren’t too happy with the decision, and we truly did love that apartment and living with them, but I wanted somewhere to continue my growth into this newfangled adulthood. So Travis and I set out on another apartment hunt.
Fortuitously, our neighbor and friend, Derek, had a friend, Trevor, who had just purchased a duplex and was looking to rent the bottom floor. Travis and I met with Trevor, and soon after, we signed a lease.
However, life proved to make things difficult as my car began to give me trouble. Either my battery wasn’t holding a charge, or my alternator had decided to throw in the towel. No matter the issue, I needed a jump every day or so. A bunch of us were hanging out between the apartments, some smoking, others just shooting the shit. Mike, Chris, Bob, Derek, Travis, and I were there, and Shawn, Kyle, and Megan were inside. I asked Travis to jump my car so I could get some groceries, and he obliged, hopping into it while I went into his car. As Travis turned the keys in my car, the air was filled with a loud–
The engine block had blown up. Pieces of the plastic casing had shot outward, hitting Bob and zipping by others. The engine caught aflame, and we rightfully panicked.
The guys in front of the vehicle began to throw snow on the fire. I yelled at Travis to grab a pitcher of water as everyone else outside rushed to extinguish the blaze. We all knew that if the flame reached the gas line, we’d all be goners. Shawn and the rest had heard the noise and came running down in only boots. They too chipped into the firefighting. Finally, after about two minutes of constant, harried hurling, we put the flame out.
Thank God for snow. The resulting panic was one of the scariest and (now) funniest things I had ever witnessed. We all cackled at our near demise.
The next day, I found the nearest metal junker and had them pick up the now useless car for scrap metal. In a way, I’m actually GLAD that I didn’t resume college otherwise this would have happened, and I would have been forced to find a new way to school every day.
I now relied on Travis for the entirety of the move. Good thing it was only a few blocks down the other side of State Street. I could walk to work still, and anywhere else I needed. The only thing I would need to rely on others for would be the weekly grocery shopping. Luckily, I had Travis, and my dear friend Vickie would also help when possible.
We moved in November 2009. Deirdre and I were off and on and hadn’t yet made it official when Travis and I moved into Trevor’s place. One night during our housewarming party, after everyone else left, I received a call from a friend, Kathy. She had wanted to come over, and since we partied like old fogeys and ended the party at midnight (to be fair very few people attended), I told her that there wasn’t much going on. She still wanted to come over anyway, and so I said, “why not?”
When she arrived, she was beyond intoxicated, and it became clear to me that she wanted to hook up with me. Even if Deirdre and I were hanging out, I wanted to take this opportunity. I had been fond of Kathy for the few years that I had known her (and who knew how long I could be able to live like this?) but ultimately, I turned her down because I liked Deirdre and couldn’t do that to her.
This period of my life was truly rejuvenating. I was becoming more of an adult in all aspects of life. But with growth, comes a few setbacks.
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.