After I lost Rosa, I felt broken. There's no other word for it. Broken. Irreparably.
It took me a while to write but every time I thought about writing, I thought about how I wanted to write about broken people, because I know. I know what it's like to be broken and I know there are a lot of us out there.
I never did write it. Granted, everything from then to now featured plenty of broken people, from my books to my plays, but they were always window dressing, always in the back. I never took my broken pieces, my broken qualities, laid them out on the ground and wrote a book about them, about being broken. You would think that death is the worst thing but being broken takes all the pain of death without the payoff - you have to keep going. Being broken drove me to some awful limits. Being broken drove me to the Grand Canyon. You think you heal but you never really do. Once you're broken, that's it. You're broken. You can try to mend the pieces but they remain broken, you remain broken.
I'm not talking about a broken heart, either. A broken heart is nothing. You know this if you've been broken. When you've been broken, it feels like someone's taken a bat to you, run you over with a truck, ripped out your guts, and laughed the whole time. A broken heart is passing but being broken just fucks you up.
Some readers at this point will already be thinking, maybe saying, "Yeah, but you have to keep going. You have to go on with your life." You're right. That's true. And that's what's so insidious about being broken: it doesn't matter. If someone broke your legs, you'd at least get a day off work. But when you're broken, nobody cares, nobody gives a shit.
It's taken me eight years. I gave up on writing about it a while ago.
Then, on Tuesday, I decided to just write whatever my fingers wanted to say, just to let my body say what it wanted to say. I had no agenda. I had no plot. I had no idea what was going to come out. And the story that was told was about a sad, beaten figure of a man who comes out of the Arizona desert, enters the train station in Kingman, and doesn't move. Across the terminal, a woman with a broken spirit and a body bought for her watches. She's sick of being a commodity. She's ready to take herself out of the world. And when the man falls to the ground, she's enraged that anyone can be more pathetic than she and she gets up to beat him but her foot's asleep - so she falls, too. Two ludicrous figures beneath the world's attention...