When I was fresh out of High School, my sister Angie had used her connections to set me up with an internship at a high-profile realty she did business with. Before I could make it through the entirety of the interview, I was offered a paid position which would become my first job. She’d get me many jobs throughout the chaos of my journey, and I was always grateful for her helping hand. She had always brought life into every situation she was in, and everyone wanted to be her friend, and to make her happy. When I first started my performance journey as a singer-songwriter in New York City, she would always find a way to make it out to the venue, and shout her requests over the buzzing patrons enjoying their fix at each bar or café whose stages I had graced. “Play Everlong!”, she’d declare proudly in a room full of strangers, knowing that her little brother would gladly oblige her requests. Growing up on the outskirts of my Jehovah’s Witness upbringing, she’d take lead position in gathering family members for holidays and get-togethers, bringing us closer together throughout the years. She had an understanding of family and community that had been lost to me at that point in my life. Angie, the beautiful soul she was, lived her life however she saw fit, and would spend her days earning the living that brought her luxury, and playing the lotto in hopes of continuing her winning hot streak. She would often dream of numbers, wake up and write them down, only to win large sums of money over and over. It was almost a gift; a calling. The oldest of 4, she was the glue that kept us bonded, and always kept us in check; a constant reminder of family values and knowing your roots. My sister was an emotional person. She’d cry to reruns of “Little House on the Prairie”, and would always warn spectators of oncoming tears every time a certain toilet paper commercial played on the television. She loved “Days of our Lives” and “New Kids On The Block”, and was a living and breathing testament to the fandom of yesterday’s entertainment. She was the most loving and accepting person anyone could ever meet, and to enjoy a dinner at Dallas BBQ’s with Angie was to enter a night of laughter and debauchery that you would never forget. As I awoke the morning of her death, replaying every moment we had ever spent together in my mind, I break down once again. I try my best to gather myself, trying to be strong for my family, my marriage, and my career, but the weight of this new reality was too much to handle, and I immediately start planning my next drink. I’d arrive at FirstLive that morning, where Alonzo and Danny Garcia would be waiting to broadcast another episode of “Good Morning Bushwick”. We had yet to break our streak, and I wanted to push through. Upon arriving, I’d head directly to the bathroom where I’d sob privately before showtime. I had to keep going, and in my attempt to keep a game face on, I’d blur my way through the two hour broadcast, before heading to the nearest bar to restart my descent into madness.

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