Two weeks ago I rode my bike from Manhattan to Staten Island to go get my hair cut and in doing so I passed by the apartment building I lived in for exactly one year. I very rarely ever end up on this side of the island anymore and for some reason I felt compelled to snap a quick photo in front of it.
I lived on the second floor with my friend/roommate Todd. Like I mentioned – it was only one year that I lived there but as I was looking at this picture later on I began thinking about my life during that year.
While you can never go home again you can still visit from time to time.
In January 1995 I turned 24 years old. I had been at my company for a year and a half at that point and was still living at home. I needed to change my life as I had nothing to show for anything so I started thinking about getting a place of my own. I was hanging out a lot with my friend Todd and he was also looking for a place so we decided to look for a place together. We found this place after a few other places, signed the lease and moved in on February 1, 1995.
This was the first place of my own. From my bedroom window I could literally see the window at my desk at work in Manhattan. It still took me an hour to get there everyday which has been the shortest commute of my adult life.
Three months later I wanted to kill Todd. Apparently having a roommate wasn’t something that worked well for me. Perhaps that’s not accurate – maybe Todd and I just weren’t meant to live together. We were very close friends and hung out a lot and thought it would just carry over into a living situation. I didn’t and we clashed. It did teach me a lot about living with someone which I’ve done continuously since that time so there was a bit of a silver lining.
My wife and I had been dating just shy of three years when got in engaged at the end of May 1995. The engagement ring sat in that apartment for around four months as I waited and planned the perfect time to propose. I got a grey patch of hair during that time. I blame her and say it was the stress.
In early September 1995 I was experiencing a dull aching pain whenever I walked for a prolong period of time which I did for my commute. After a self-examination I felt an abnormality on my right testicle. After a few visits with the doctor, a surgery to remove the testicle and a biopsy it was confirmed that I had cancer. I had detected it so early that they were no indications in the blood work on whether or not it had spread. They gave me two options: Do nothing now and if it spread come back and do chemotherapy treatments or have a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. I decided on the latter.
Before my scheduled operation I was offered a new position at work. They were willing to wait for me to come back from medical leave.
The morning of my surgery I remember standing in my bedroom and listening to “John, I Love You” by Sinead O’Connor off the Universal Mother album. That album never resonated with me previously but for some reason on that day that particular song did. Whenever I hear it I’m transported back to that bedroom.
In early October 1995 I had my surgery. I wasn’t prepared as much as I thought I was. The recovery was a lot harder than I envisioned. I now have an eleven inch scar down my abdomen and a few less lymph nodes in my body. Everything was successful and I’m still cancer free today.
In November 1995 I went back to work and started a new career as a desktop support technician in the IT Department.
On February 1, 1996 I moved in with my wife Sarah.
There was a lot of life in the 12 month span. I haven’t seen Todd in many years at this point but the last time we did we were quite friendly again. Absence make the heart grow fonder I guess. I’m still at the same company but moved on from IT work and now work as a Creative Director. Sarah and I are still together and though I needed to seriously consider whether or not we wanted to have children back then we never have. We have dogs – we like them better.