I could still feel the lingering sting of failure from the disastrous “Wake and Bake” live stream, and as the days turned into weeks, I found myself spiraling deeper into a self-destructive meltdown. I had all but given up on my dreams, and my days were now spent in a pathetic, drunken stupor on the sofa, watching movies with my daughter Alenna. She had become enamored with the film Trolls: World Tour, and by my rough estimation, we had watched it at least 50 times together. On this particular day, as I sat there, my body heavy with the weight of alcohol and regret, I noticed something that would shake me to my core. The end credits were scrolling by, and I caught a glimpse of a familiar name – Anthony Ramos. My heart began to race, and a shock of adrenaline coursed through my veins. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I quickly rewound the movie, needing to see the name on the screen again to confirm what I had just witnessed. As I pressed play, there it was, in bold white letters against the backdrop of the colorful credits: Anthony Ramos. I leapt off the sofa, my heart pounding in my chest, my mind racing with a torrent of thoughts and emotions. I thought back to years before when Alonzo showed me Anthony’s mural at the 83rd Precinct. Anthony, known as Franchise in the neighborhood, had become a shining example of success, dominating the very industry that had left me battered and broken. My mind raced to memories of his older brother Mario, the countless hours he’d spent in the backyard we shared, hitting baseballs against a gate with my neighbor Ruben. I could still hear the rhythmic clang of the ball against the metal, the embodiment of the determination and focus it took to master a craft. It was evident that the same relentless drive ran through the veins of the Martinez brothers, who had grown up less than 50 feet from my bedroom window. As these memories flooded my mind, a sickening feeling of envy and regret churned in the pit of my stomach. I had always envisioned myself as the one who would make my hometown neighborhood proud, but my dreams had been washed away in a sea of drunken mistakes and squandered potential. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks – Anthony had become everything I thought I would be. As I stood there, trembling with the weight of this epiphany, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of shame. I had allowed my own demons to hold me back, leaving me wallowing in self-pity, while Anthony had risen above it all to achieve greatness. This would be the beginning of one of the longest meltdowns I had ever experienced.

Similar Posts