Turn of the century, I was 24, I had a real job, a boyfriend, an apartment downtown and most importantly my freedom.
Entry into Y2K, was at the Black Dog Freehouse, it was our go to bar. There was the Woof-Top patio, the UnderDog in the basement and the main floor knick-named the “Black Lung” since it was disgustingly smoky, always. I was working for an software company that monitored machines used in power plants and what not. So on New Year’s I was on call with a beeper until 11 pm, when I finally got the call from my boss saying, “Australia didn’t blow up so get drunk!”. I was never a good drinker so dropped ‘X’ instead, hit just before midnight so I could properly flop my body to “Disco 2000” by PULP. That was a good night.
I mentioned my freedom as a cherished part of my life that year. No, I didn’t break out of a lockup. Though there were moments growing up that I thought a life in jail would be safer than a life at home. The freedom I cherished was from living independently from my family.
Neither my father nor I were residing under the same roof as my brother and mother. That house was like a prison with my brother as the warden, I got out as soon as I could.
Things had been way wrong with my brother since he hit puberty, social workers chalked it up to being teenage rebellion. Sure he was a skater, visually matching to an asian triad member, but the behavior was not something “Tough Love” could fix. It was the only life I knew, but I knew it was way beyond the worse in Degrassi or 90210.
1999 was the year my brother received a genetically confirmed diagnosis on what had been plaguing him. He had Wilson’s disease, along with a liver with cirrhosis of a 60 year old alcoholic. The disease was extremely rare with very little data, his doctor’s requested the whole family undergo genetic testing. We were estranged, I was too busy partying because it was 1999, I never got tested.