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The Broken Words


By Shelby Grody

I can do so many things. I’ll sit my heart by a lake, and I can scratch out the shred of light in murky water’s dark gaze. Stand by a typewriter and I make it breath words that even a God would have to gaze twice at. I can even fly in a plane and draw out the most amazing images all inside of one’s imagination.

Of course when I’m standing on a bloody bridge I think of these annoying thoughts. When I turned eight I realized I wanted to be a writer. Of course, when you turn eight you feel as if the whole world is splayed out for you. As if being in a kitchen that is all your own. When I turned eight my Dad taught me the difference between the sun and the rain; taught me about how a book is worth a thousand glances, but a painting of a sun or something you could never describe was worth a million looks even by the most stubborn eyes.

“Don’t ever be a writer son,” he told me on one of our nature talks. These talks we would have when he took me to the poorest neighborhood in town and made us sit by a large oak tree just to watch the world go by. It felt like we were ghosts or some mystical spirit gazing down at the aliens of life in amazement.

“Why not?” I asked, leaning back on that rough oak tree which felt like the backbone to that spring morning.

“Because a writer doesn’t have a soul. A writer just scrapes out words from already carved out bark. He doesn’t respect and breath onto ideas like a painter or a photographer does. Don’t break words and ideas that shouldn’t be messed with,” he told me. I looked up at him that day and I thought how amazing it would have been to prove him wrong. My Dad had been a musician. “The music is something better than pesky words. Music is something you have to train to feel. Not just read and see inside,” he told me another morning. The morning when my Dad was run over by a Land Rover, and the only thing I could really remember of that eerie day seemed to be how cold it felt the minute that engine groaned through him. Ever since I devoted myself to be a writer. To show myself that I could do anything despite how broken my love for humanity seemed.

When I turned eighteen it felt as if my world seemed different. I bought a lighthouse up in Oregon and settled near a small town called Bandon. I wrote a story up there about a lighthouse keeper who stared down at the world, hence longing for somebody to swoop up and end his cluttered and dysfunctional life. Somebody who was just too frightened, and afraid to go down to that world and eat at the café. It was a sad story, but it understood me like I didn’t understand myself. The ideas of how I had come here. Those types understanding was what I thought defined me. It never became published despite trying so hard. I lost faith in writing in some time after reading painful rejection letters from agent after agent, and all I had was that painful understanding to comfort me.

I somehow found myself now here, on the railing of a green bridge. It’s raining and I’m tired. Nobody is walking by and I can feel that throbbing of my heart that just wants to live in this moment, but instead it knows it has to jump. My hands still feel the texture of the typewriter I’ve been writing on, but I just can’t keep myself to writing anymore. Looking around, maybe somebody will just talk me out of it, but no, nobody’s here watching me stand on this railing on a green nameless bridge. It’s funny how even in our darkest hour we can still feel those playful thoughts such as being tired. I hope that would have been my last thought.

“Excuse me,” suddenly a voice called, the railing however seemed to be getting slippery. “Get down from there,” I looked over, and it’s two sullen looking individuals.

“Don’t jump,” a man called from a few steps back, a woman on his far right. “Why shouldn’t I?” I shouted, “I’m a writer. And I’ve written all my life for my dead father. Why do we need writers? There is no point! Nobody, not a man nor a woman can tell me what a life worth living is this. I sit alone all my life in a house to far for even a man to see. What is the point of me being here? All I want is something, my story, to be out there. What is the point for me to be here in this world?” I cried, chipping my words into reality.

“But a writer must mean something.,” the man replied after seeing the words I had spoken and looking up at me with this buttery gaze. The rain picked up, but the man on the left kept talking. “A writer is the reason some of us live.”

“Sure,” I said, nodding my head and chuckling lightly.

“A writer, well,” the man sighed, the rain pouring down harder. I looked back but still felt like jumping and landing on the teal waters, “A writer can embrace us. Think about it. If all the writers committed to suicide, then nothing could be published. The human spirit, the ideas being shared, and the point of views by the thousands would be lost. Even if things aren’t published! The writer or any artist takes his love out and his hatred out of his mind and onto paper, the sanest and the most magical of ways to do so. That is what a writer can do. Nobody should commit suicide for anything like that,” the man answered with a profound grin on his face as if he had just finished writing the essay that would guarantee him a voice in this cruel world.

I looked down at myself and down at the water and the bridge that suddenly felt more welcoming, but the man and the silent woman appeared suddenly like beckoning beacons on a river with to many rapids or a path with two many stones. Their gazes met mine, and I took the life I had. My father was run over, I took the courage he had in all of his life and slouched down from the bridge’s icy railing. When I had first begun to write when I was a mere teenager after my Dad had died. I remember people laughing at how I looked, and at my feelings towards the world. With the simple couple’s help, I moved back to my lighthouse in Bandon and began to write a happier story. A story of friends and connection with words that seemed outstretch with mystic arms.

Once I moved back I decided to submit my writing to the Bandon paper. Week by week people began to send me letters. Unlike when I had began to write and even more different than the bittersweet lifestyle I had lived just a few months before, people actually began to look at me with longing eyes. Together with the couple people knew where I settled my trusting typewriter. When I opened up to them about my story a year later, with ashes of guilt beginning to fade from the façade I had been living, people didn’t seem to gawk at me. People looked at me, the words in their newspaper not broken or saddened like before, the people who stared for the longest time made their eyes turn a butterscotch yellow and say, “We are glad to have you here.”

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