Chapter Seven

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By now, the winter had arrived and the town was covered in a thick blanket of white snow. I received a discount on a bunch of equipment from the shop, so on my days off I would head to the hills and go snowboarding. Sometimes I went with my roommates, sometimes with a co-worker, but mostly I just went by myself.  

At night, I was no longer going out to the bars. I actually had more fun hanging out with McKay and listening to his stories. McKay had a lot of life experience; he had graduated from university and had lived in many parts of the world including Africa, China, and now Banff. It seemed like an odd place for a guy with so much promise to end up, but I didn't really question it at the time. He could speak in depth about a wide variety of topics, including religion, politics, science, and philosophy. I hung onto every word. 

From listening to him, it was obvious I hadn't really lived yet. I was eighteen, but I didn't know as much about the world as I thought I did. Nothing was more evident of this than when it was my turn to tell a story and I had nothing to say. I don't think he minded, he seemed content with imparting his wisdom onto an empty canvas.  

These nights were some of my fondest memories of living in Banff. But when McKay moved away, I was once again by myself. I started going back to the bar with Rob and Dave, but it was no longer as fun. McKay had given me a glimpse of what else was out there in the world, and I was eager to discover it. 

McKay once told me that when we meet people, we take the characteristics we like in them and leave behind the ones we don't like. Even though I was still going to the bar, I quit drinking. I really admired that quality in him and this was one of the many characteristics I took from him. I also wanted to have my own crazy stories to tell someday. So far my craziest story was being chased by some drunk guy one night. 

*** 

By the time spring was in full bloom, the snowboard shop had fully converted all of its snowboard stock into mountain bike equipment, which was something I had no interest in selling. I felt like I had overstayed my welcome in Banff and there was little point for me continuing to live there. Banff seemed like a great place at first, but I felt isolated from the rest of the world. I had been there for a total of ten months and had managed to save nearly eight thousand dollars. For the first time in my life, I was on my own, and excelling. I had established my independence and was confident I could make it in the real world without any help from my parents. But Banff was a small pond; I wondered how I would do living in a large metropolis. 

*** 

On one of my days off I decided to make some phone calls to some old friends. I contacted Will, but he was not home. I then called my friend, Darrell.  

"Yo, Darrell, how's it going, man?" I asked. 

"I'm still workin' on the oil rigs." 

"Oh yeah, how's that going?" 

"It's a rough life; I think I need a change." 

"Yeah, I hear ya, man. I think I'm at the end of my rope with the whole Banff thing." 

"Why don't we move to Vancouver? We can get a place together," he suggested. 

"What's in Vancouver?" I asked. 

"My dad lives there, we can stay with him for a while until we get on our feet." 

I had briefly met his dad once before, but I doubted if he remembered me. I contemplated Darrell's proposal, I was reminded of how I ended up in Banff in the first place. A chance phone call presented an opportunity and I took advantage of it. Now a new opportunity had presented itself. If I said 'no' to this opportunity, I would also be saying 'no' to the infinite string of possibilities that would follow from it.  

"Okay, let's do it," I said. 

He gave me his dad's phone number and told me to call him when I arrived in Vancouver.  

I immediately informed my work that I was leaving town. I packed up all my things and said my goodbyes. My plan was to take the Greyhound down to Vancouver, but as luck would have it, my roommate Dave was coincidentally going to Vancouver at the same time and offered me a ride.  

When the day finally came to leave, I put the few possessions I had into Dave's two-thousand dollar car and we made our exit.

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