My brother and I became a team, and as such, had to collectively leave home and find somewhere to live. He saw what I was doing and how determined I was, which he gravitated to, beginning his own journey to mold dreams into reality. We had the opportunity to move into a dusty basement in Queens, the bottom floor of our friend’s home at the time. Walking downstairs for the first time, the floor was littered with thousands of cigarette butts, which we began sweeping and shoveling into trash bags. Equipped with a futon and twin-size bed, we turned that basement into our headquarters, where we lived, slept, and planned our future. I found a job with an Orthodox Jewish family in Borough Park, working in a camera store that paid just enough to not starve. But taxes were being paid, and I knew if I stuck it out long enough, my return would be enough to make a major move. We had limited access to other areas of the house, and when we couldn’t use an upstairs bathroom, we had to piss in the same 50-gallon sink that we brushed our teeth in. We made due with what we had, and with my exit from “home”, the church was looking for a way to officially ban me from the religion. My job, my brother, and my dreams were all I had, and yet I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

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