I don't want to be here anymore... I don't want to be here anymore...
I don't want to be here anymore...

I've never been much for spontaneity. In fact, I think I've done maybe three truly spontaneous things in my entire life, although fuck if I can remember what the other two are.

But this had been no ordinary week. Spending four days and nights in Las Vegas is enough to divorce anybody from their sense of propriety.

Besides, I had just spent the week before visiting my hometown of Washington, DC. Back home, my friend Mike wasn't doing so well. Mike was a teacher – an extraordinary teacher.

I'd known him since I was 15. Primarily, Mike taught martial arts. But like all great teachers, Mike taught you about yourself. He was one of the people that made me realize I wanted to be a teacher, too.

The previous winter, at the age of 34, Mike had been diagnosed with lymphoma. The cancer had not been caught until its latter stages. His doctors did not expect Mike to live out the year. When I visited him in his hospital room that week, we both knew that this would probably be the last time we ever saw each other. And we both knew that I was there to say good-bye.