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(15/15) “I used to smoke sweet tips, because I thought they were...

(15/15) “I used to smoke sweet tips, because I thought they were feminine. But I’ve learned I like heavier cigars. I’ve learned a lot about myself these past few years. I was put in charge of hiring for our entire company. I’ve produced my own play. My bracelet is so full of charms that Garrison had to buy me another. And that one’s half-way full too....

(14/15) “Lucas volunteered to bring up all my stuff from the...

(14/15) “Lucas volunteered to bring up all my stuff from the storage unit in Arkansas. He was supposed to arrive on a Monday, so the following Sunday I scheduled a final performance of ‘One Woman’s Journey To Love.’ I wanted it to be a night to remember: my show, my songs, in my place, with my stuff. Unfortunately Lucas was delayed, and by the time...

(13/15) “The first thing I did when I got a real paycheck was...

(13/15) “The first thing I did when I got a real paycheck was hire a real estate broker. I told him that I only had one requirement. He said: ‘Not in New York. Not at your price point.’ But I told him: ‘I’m a praying woman.’ Sure enough he called the very next day. He said: ‘You’re not going to believe this. But I found a place in Harlem.’ We went to...

(12/15) “I was still in the shelter at Christmastime, so...

(12/15) “I was still in the shelter at Christmastime, so Garrison flew in from Arkansas to be with me. We ate a Christmas meal together. We went and looked at the windows on 5th Avenue. And right before he left to go home, Garrison gave me a small box, with a bracelet inside. On it there was a single charm, with the skyline of New York City. He told...

(11/15) “I’d always head straight to the gym after my shift at...

(11/15) “I’d always head straight to the gym after my shift at Starbucks. Martin trained me for free the entire time I was in the shelter. He told me that he was going to turn me into a fighter. He was hard on me. He said I had more problems than a math book. And if I ever complained, he’d call me a drama queen. One afternoon I came in upset, because...

(10/15) “My first night in the shelter I found a folding chair...

(10/15) “My first night in the shelter I found a folding chair and sat with my back against the wall. I needed to feel something solid against my back. I didn’t know if there was going to be a bottom that I could hit, and bounce back up. Or if it was just going to be darkness and I’d never come out again. I was scared. But I was also angry. I felt like...

(9/15) “It was magic that night. I didn’t miss any lines, or any...

(9/15) “It was magic that night. I didn’t miss any lines, or any beats. I sang seventeen of my favorite love songs: ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow,’ Unforgettable,’ ‘Love Look What You’ve Done to Me.’ Toward the end of the show I sang ‘Dance With Me,’ by Orleans. I told the audience that for eight years I’d begged my husband to waltz with me, but he never...

(8/15) “I thought about what Lucas had said: ‘Let go of all the...

(8/15) “I thought about what Lucas had said: ‘Let go of all the rules.’ And the very next week I started writing a one-woman show. I called it ‘One Woman’s Journey To Love,’ and it was nothing but love songs, with little pieces of my story in between. I managed to put together a five-piece band. Two of The Three Gentlemen joined me, and Lucas agreed...

(7/15) “Every Sunday after my shift at Starbucks I’d eat at a...

(7/15) “Every Sunday after my shift at Starbucks I’d eat at a place called Hill Country BBQ. It was the closest thing to Arkansas that I’d found in New York. They had sweet tea. And moist brisket. And live music every weekend. The band that performed on Sunday was called The Three Gentlemen. It was three guys with low slung guitars, singing cover songs...

(6/15) “In Brooklyn there was a church with a 300-voice world...

(6/15) “In Brooklyn there was a church with a 300-voice world famous choir. It was mesmerizing to watch. In my old church you weren’t even allowed to raise your hands. But this choir moved, like a wind was blowing through it. I’d stand up front every Sunday and move right along with it. One week they announced that the choir would be holding auditions....

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