Put your iPod on random shuffle, write down the lyric of the first song that comes on, and use it as an opening line.

“Got my band and a light that won’t go out.. been burning since the day I was born, so I’ll cry just a little then I’ll dry my eyes ’cause I’m not a little girl no more.”

The note, etched on the back of a Tokyo Mandarin menu in black eyeliner, fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. There her father stood, more broken than angry, staring out from the balcony of their seventh floor apartment into the dark night sky overlooking the Hudson.

Would he ever see her again? “Maybe on a milk carton,” he thought, before shamefully adjusting his course and admitting, “probably on the cover of one of those newsstand magazines.”

After all, she was always destined to be something more than New Jersey.


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