The day started just like any other. My morning hangover wouldn’t last long, as by a little after noon I’d find my way to the corner store for my first round of pre-gaming. With a meeting scheduled later in the day at S. Street Media, and a few episodes of Bud and Roach Show in the chamber, scheduled for distribution over the next couple of days, it seemed as though my journey to success was finally on track. The regret of not following through on my initial plans to visit my dad would wash away by the second round of beer, and I was locked in on my task for the day: forming a media partnership. The evening sky was a mixture of blues and pinks, and the sound of car horns and footsteps filled the streets as I made my way to the electronic store, across the street from the subway entrance. I’d pick up a pair of headphones, excited to make my way toward the studio space in Ridgewood where S. Street Media was located. The subway ride was typical, and I was lost in the soundtrack of my life that came in the form of a handful of mp3’s saved on my device. After getting out the subway, I’d make my way to the convenience store, picking up a couple of tall cans to celebrate what I anticipated to be a successful new venture. Upon entering, I’d sit inside the studio, where both Math and Sosa explained the ins and outs of their media operation. I listened intently as we combed through the presentation that I had emailed them the night before. As the alcohol flowed through my system, nature struck, and I’d bolt directly toward the exit door, making my way to the bathroom for relief. As I closed the studio door behind me, my phone began to ring. It was my mother, and with no reason to expect anything but our usual banter, I picked up the phone. “Alex… your father is dead.” I freeze in the middle of the hallway, unsure of what I just heard, and ask for confirmation. “What?” I whisper into the phone. “Your brother found him. He’s dead Alex.” I take a few steps over to the lobby, and collapse onto the couch. I thought about my brother, and immediately call him. Broken men, we cried on the phone at the horror of losing our father, and what my brother had just experienced. I’d call my wife, and inform her of the tragedy that had just occurred. Merely a 20 minute car ride away, I found myself stuck in place, unable to move from my seat to my brother’s house. My father, who I loved dearly, was gone, and in this moment of realization, the anger and resentment that I had held onto all these years suddenly melted away. I thought of my childhood, and taking walks up Knickerbocker Avenue to the gaming store. I thought about my the moments we’d stay up and watch Mr. Bean, long before my parents divorced. I thought about the long trips to Atlantic City, and how I’d cry on the Greyhound bus after every trip, weeping at the possibility of each time being the last time I would see him. I thought about the countless coffee we drank and the countless cigarettes we smoked. I thought about our time in the Hart Street basement, building on our relationship after so many years apart. I couldn’t believe it. My dad had a heart of gold, and when he was good, he was amazing. Memories of watching him nurse a butterfly back to health would become symbolic as to the type of person he truly was. He was a victim of his time, a generational curse that plagued many souls from his era. Addiction took a hold of him early in life, and he’d spend the rest of his days in regret over the things he missed out on. I thought of his laugh, and the sad reality of never hearing it again. As I sat there, holding onto the realization that I had blown the last opportunity I would ever have to see my father alive just days before, my demons came crashing down on me once again. “This is my fault…”, I’d say to myself, choking on the knot that would find a home in my throat. I couldn’t go to my brother’s house that night. I wasn’t ready to face that scene, and as I walked into the bathroom, I’d wash my face and stare in the mirror, hearing my dad’s words during one of our last phone calls together loop over and over in my mind. “Please Alex, learn from me. Don’t do what I did!”, my dad had screamed at the top of his lungs, crying as he struggled to speak through the effects of his previous stroke. I remember breaking down in tears in the middle of that busy intersection in Williamsburg, my dad’s voice piercing through the speakerphone as I held the phone up to my ear. My entire life, I’d grow increasingly resentful at watching other, less talented people have booming careers and amazing lives because of the support system they had around them. Child prodigy’s growing up to become superstars because the people around them had the connections, the will, and the foresight to see that they had gold in their hands. But on the night of my father’s passing, I had to let it all go. I had to accept the fact that people can only teach what they know, and the lessons that my father taught me with his life suddenly became crystal clear. With tears in my eyes, I walked back into the studio at S. Street Media, and after informing my peers of what had occurred, tried my best to finalize the meeting before making my way back home, where Brenna and my daughter awaited my arrival. “Why does this keep happening to me?!”. My cries could be heard down the long hallway of our apartment building, and with my wife’s arms around me, I crumbled. I wanted to be there for my brother, but in that moment, I felt completely helpless, and all I could feel was pain.

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