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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

In My Life — (January 2002) "There are places I'll remember…"

Starbucks Café at Chapters Bookstore is definitely one of those. It was there I would retreat to during my lunch time while working at DPM Financial Planning Group Inc. I took a late lunch in order to avoid the crowds and spent my time working on Comicopia while enjoying a relaxing coffee. It was also there where, months later, I would meet up with Chantale and just unwind. She talked about her workload at school, I talked about my workload at work. Just being in each other's company in such a comforting and comfortable atmosphere would help us both relax tremendously…

Shakespeare Park is another of those places. During the summer of the year Chantale was also working at DPM, we went there once to just relax in the sun and get away from the daily grind of work. Truthfully, I often went there on my own to lie back and read a book in the sun (I only started going to Chapters once the weather started getting a little colder). It was my quiet spot away from the noise of people and computers at work. How much more calming can it be than to be away from computers and out in the green grass of nature? :). Chantale was the first person who knew about the Park and the first person I brought there. Her presence was always calming. We spent many afternoons lying the grass on the hill just talking and making out shapes in the clouds. Co-incidentally enough, being fans of William Shakespeare made this park more special to us. In fact, it was where we shared our first kiss. :)

It was also at this Park that I gave Chantale a copy of the Songbook I used to sing with my friends and introduced her to "In My Life" by the Beatles. In fact, I sang it to her there :)

"…all my life, though some have changed…some for ever not for better, some have gone and some remain…"

How true that is. Chapters was bought out by Indigo Books and Starbucks Café, although it still exists, it has shrunk. DPM was bought out by Assante Capital Management and changed radically until 3 years later it disappeared. The only thing which has remained has been the Park…

"…All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends.... I still can recall, some are dead and some are living.... In my life, I've loved them all…"

Having spent 5 years with DPM, of course I have memories. Many memories. Some really nice ones, some rather bad ones. New friends, old friends, good friends and some that are gone forever…

"…But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you and these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new…"

December 4th, 1998. Chantale gave me a Friendship bracelet that I absolutely adored. It came wrapped with a piece of paper containing some lyrics from a song I knew oh-so-well… "In My Life" :). I knew that day that come what may, we would be friends forever and regardless of what changed around us, that friendship would endure. Out of all the friends and memories I'd made during my time at DPM, nothing compared with her.

"…Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before, I know I'll often stop and think about them… In my life, I love you more…"

Although many friends I made at DPM have slowly filtered out of my life, there are still enough of them left that we sometimes think back to our days there and all the trials and tribulations we had to endure. And although many bad times were had, there were so many good ones as well. Those of us who went through it all forged deep friendships. None so deeper than the friendship I forged with Chantale…

(Instrumental interlude)

Time passed and more memories were made. Chantale was always there as first my Best Friend, then eventually as my Girlfriend, and now as my Fiancee. We enjoyed many Shakespeare moments and movies such as Shakespeare in Love, Romeo & Juliet, and A Midsummer's Night Dream which she took me to on my birthday. When I was working for the Navy through NETE and in Victoria for training, I brought her back the movie tie-in and scripts to both Shakespeare in Love and A Midsummer's Night Dream. A pleasant surprise for her which was also a locking moment to times we shared.

"…Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before, I know I'll often stop and think about them… In my life, I love you more…"

As I've mentioned before, we still have friends from our DPM days with whom we keep in touch and sometimes do things together. Each day Chantale and I spend together, I grow to love her more than the previous day. My desire to be with her (and, luckily enough, her for me!) is never-ending. These days, we look to the future more than we look to the past. But, it's true, we do sometimes go back and re-live and laugh about those "glory days" of DPM :)

"…In my life, I love you more…"

December 4th, 2001. I met up with Chantale and after a late lunch at Cora's Breakfast, we hung around and drove around for a bit, eventually ending up at Café Depot. Café Depot was the place that replaced Starbucks when we began to get together during the evenings. Chapters/ Starbucks always felt like the type of place to go relax in the afternoons. But when we just wanted to go someplace for Coffee, Café Depot was the place to go. A bonus was that it was even closer to Shakespeare Park than Starbucks! :) In fact, during the beginning of our courtship, it was outside of Café Depot where she first answered in the affirmative if she would marry me. I would ask/tease about it and always get "nah… not now… not today… maybe… etc". But one afternoon, she shocked me by saying "Yes". We laughed quite a bit at my reaction :)

It was a very beautiful and sunny day (almost like every year on that date!) and we spent the time going over what we mean to each other, how far we've come in our relationship, and all the events we've lived through together. It was a beautiful time of reminiscing and affirmation of our lives together with a nod back as we looked forward.

Since we had plans to go watch Monsters Inc that night (and a truly enjoyable movie it was, too!), we headed over to the Park because we hadn't been there in a very long time. We parked in our usual spot and went to the top of the hill to look out over the park. We chatted and eventually the subject came up of the Friendship bracelet. She slipped a box into my hand and I opened it up to see the bracelet, once again wrapped up in that familiar song. That bracelet had never come off my wrist until it eventually broke through wear and tear. But, of course, a bracelet that important could not be thrown out by me! Nope, I kept it! And Chantale had gone ahead and dug it up to give it to me again as a reminder of the first time 3 years prior. Up until that point, I had no idea that it had been 3 years to the day of the first gift! As we laughed over the fact that we each still had our broken bracelets, she said, "I want to give you a more permanent one".

I admit, I was confused and didn't understand what she meant. But, when she was able to pry her fingers out of my iron grip, she reached into her purse and pulled out another box. Tears in our eyes, I opened it up to see a very handsome, striking, and beautifully elegant Kenneth Cole wristwatch. Not only was it the most precious gift I've ever received, it was the most emotional one, too! This was her engagement gift to me.

Before putting it on, she told me to read the back. I turned it over, wiping tears, and broke down even harder as I read "In My Life…"

Nothing else needed to be said. Those three simple words said it all. They summed up our lives together, the growth and strengthening of our love, and the promise of a wonderful future together.

"…I Love You more…"

And I will. Come What May. Until the end of time… :)

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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