From the January 2005 magazine.

A 142-day Wonder

First, he discovered he had cancer. Then, he discovered he had hope.

At the age of sixteen, I was a bartender in Manhattan, and I stayed a bartender for the next twenty years, going from place to place, mostly getting fired for drinking on the job. I was like a kid in a candy store. After the last job, I bought a boat. One night, I remember sailing right into the sunset, drink in hand, staring at the horizon, and thinking it doesn't get any better than this. I was right.

After a few years, the money ran out and I was working in a flower shop. I'd sold my boat and a relationship had ended badly. One day, I came home to the apartment I'd lived in my...

-- Frank B.

New York, New York