Here’s a cliché for you - going to a mall on a Saturday night in Jersey. Just one more way, in addition to my regular Dunkin Doughnuts coffee and uncharacteristically bold driving moves, I’m feeling more at home in this town 15 miles west of Manhattan. In the passenger seat beside me, helping me conquer the congested, cut-throat mall parking lot in search of a vacant spot, is my old Army friend, Ro. Together, we maneuver through swarms of pedestrians, slippery roads, and some very questionable drivers on our quest to see a movie this evening.
People wonder sometimes why on earth I moved out here to northern New Jersey, without friends, family, or a job. The short answer is, I’m here to pursue a music career in New York City. But the truth is, I never thought about New York City until 2 years ago when Ro planted the idea into my head. I’ll never forget the shock I felt when she said she believed I had enough talent to find work out here. If not for her suggestion and encouragement, I would very likely be in Nashville, Austin, or Atlanta. To me, New York was the ultimate music city, and something I could never shoot for. And after I finally got the gall to make the move, and after searching tirelessly through all five boroughs for an affordable apartment, I ended up less than 2 miles from Ro’s hometown.
When she’s back in town, we swap Army stories, eat, and catch up on life. And each time, I’m reminded of what friendship is. Support. Loyalty. Encouragement. Advice. Honesty. In the difficult Army days, she was a friend and a leader, and helped me navigate through the confusion and frustration that threatened my sanity. In my musical ambition, I would be hard pressed to find a more dedicated believer. I can see clearly what a key role true friendship has played in my life and will play in my future. And tonight, after the New Jersey traffic has beat me up, and I again feel defeat and weariness, I hear Ro shout with urgency and triumph, “Right there!!! There’s an empty one!!!” I swerve into the parking space thinking, “Phew. Thank God for Ro.”
|Ro promoted me to Captain in October 2008|