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10 Things To Do Before I Die (Part 1)

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I’d always known there was a possibility I’d get skin cancer. The disease was 95% hereditary. My grandma had it with a 2% chance of living, and she survived. My cousin had it with a 10% chance of living and she survived. So when I found out that I had a stage two melanoma on my scalp, I wasn’t too worried.

I started chemo immediately. It seemed to be effective, so I was let out of the hospital for a few weeks before I came back in for round two. In the car back from the hospital, I scribbled out a Bucket list on a napkin. I knew there was a possibility I would die and I wanted to do everything on the list as fast as I could in case I did.

1.
Travel the world
2.
Pretend I’m someone else
3.
Drive a motorcycle
4.
Buy designer clothes
5.
Trash a hotel room
6.
Have sex
7.
Go naked in public
8.
Go clubbing
9.
Get high/drunk
10.
Not worry about anything

My mom said she’d go to Europe with me, but I pleaded with her and my dad to let me go alone. I was only a senior in high school, but before I died—if I died—I needed to have a little life experience of living on my own. They were worried, but they understood and let me choose two places to go for two months before my next round of chemo. On March twenty-eighth, I left for Italy, alone.


April : Florence, Italy

I swung my leg over the seat of the Vespa. I almost lost my balance, but he clutched my waist so I wouldn’t fall. I was trembling as I looked around the busy street. I would most likely crash into that fruit vendor’s cart to my right or run over the tourists taking pictures to my left. Suddenly, I felt his hands slip over mine on the handles and his leg caress mine from behind.

“Now,” he whispered in my ear, “I’m going to kick up the stand, okay?”

I nodded. I felt the weight of the motorcycle crash onto my thigh and I slammed my foot into the ground, the hot metal pressing on my bare leg. He whispered directions in my ear. I listened through the voice in my head screaming “You’re gonna kill yourself!”

“Essere tranquillo, mia bella…shhh…” he breathed on my neck. I tore my focus from the sheer sexiness of his voice and breathed. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate. He spoke again, but more sternly this time.

“Uno…due…tre…GO!”

My eyes flew open and suddenly, we were moving. He did most of the work hand-over-hand with me, but it was the biggest rush I’d felt in a long, long time. My hair flew behind me and I struggled to keep my eyes open. We drove around the square and were heading for an alley when I saw a taxi cab driving straight towards us. I screamed and instinctively closed my eyes. He pushed on the handles and we swerved. He slammed on the brakes and I jolted, opened my eyes and discovered I was face to face with a wall.
I began to laugh. I was so relieved, it was uncontrollable. I must’ve laughed for about five minutes before I could stop. When I did, he kicked the stand down. In a daze, I tried to swing my leg back over, but my foot caught on the seat and I fell face down into the pavement. He gasped and pulled me up by my waist.

“Mia cara! Are you okay?”

I got all the way up and looked into his eyes. He brushed my hair behind my ear and smiled.

“You’re okay.” He concluded, smiling.

A gorgeous Italian man was inches away from my lips, touching my face, so I took advantage of the situation and kissed him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let the kiss go on for a while before I pulled away.

He stared at me, dumbstruck. I grinned and released my grip around his neck.

“I don’t think we ever exchanged names…Giovanni Nacarelli. And you, prinicipessa?”

I hesitated. I could tell him my real name, go to a dinner with him, sleep with him, and fall in love or I could give him a fake name and leave with only good memories of him. I sucked in air, brought my lips to his ear and whispered, “Francesca Polizzi.”

He looked at me, confused because I had given him an extremely Italian name and I obviously only spoke English. But before he could question, I fluttered my eyelashes, flickered my fingers and walked away. He shouted something after me in Italian that I didn’t understand, but I simply shouted back “Ciao!” and kept walking.

May: Paris, France

I sat at an outside table at a charming café near my hotel. I wore a black Louis Vuitton dress with Gucci shoes and Chanel sunglasses. It was evening and I was alone, surrounded by my many purchases from designer stores. I’d had my hair blown out at some fancy salon near the Prada store. I looked fabulous, I felt fabulous, and the air around the café smelled fabulous.
I was flipping through the menu when an incredibly cute Frenchmen sat at the table next to mine. He was alone and didn’t appear to be waiting for anyone as he scanned the menu and glanced over at me between page turns. I caught him staring once and smiled at him. He smiled back and nodded and went back to the menu.
We sat that way for about four minutes, awkwardly trying not to stare at each other, catching each other’s glances through peripheral vision when he finally leaned over and spoke.
“Excusez-moi mademoiselle, mais je ne pouvais pas m’empêcher de remarquer la façon dont vous êtes magnifique,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
“Um…” I stammered, “je ne parle pas trés bien le français…”
He chuckled and I blushed, embarrassed that I was unable to speak French and I cursed myself for taking Spanish in school. Luckily he knew English perfectly.
His name was Jacques. He was handsome, funny, smart, and the perfect person to lose my virginity to (which is exactly what happened after we finished off two bottles of wine together.)
There really is nothing better than waking up in a guy’s arms, especially when you’re both nude and he has a six-pack. I kissed him on the forehead and hopped out of bed. I stepped over a broken lamp and a turned over nightstand from the night before. I vaguely remembered in our drunken joy we had trashed my hotel room completely before savagely ripping each other out of our clothes.
The clock said it was about eleven in the morning. I heard cars and people passing in the streets below my hotel room. The city was awake.
Neglecting my silk Prada robe, I stepped out onto my balcony, naked. Men whistled and tourists ran once they noticed the naked girl on the fifth floor. A mother shouted something at me in French as she covered her child’s eyes. I shouted back at her “C’est la vie!” It was one of the few phrases I knew in French.
“Cecelia…” I heard a voice from inside shout. It was the perfectly chiseled, naked man in my bed who I had told my name was Cecelia last night at dinner. I stepped back inside and found him putting his suit back on. I ran to him and kissed him.
“Do you want me to call you a cab?” I asked him.
“No, no. I live just a few blocks away. Will we see each other again this week?”
“Maybe. I’ll have to check my schedule.”
I walked across the room and plucked an Oscar de la Renta dress from a shopping bag. I put it on and led Jacques to the door. He kissed me one last time and whispered, “Je vous adore, Cecelia.”
I giggled back, “Merci!” and watched him walk down the hallway.
Once he had gone, I got busy on getting my new wardrobe to fit into my new Louis Vuitton suitcase. My plane left at four o'clock that day for the US. It was time to go back to the hospital



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