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My novel, "Beautifully Broken"Page 1 of 1    
Beautifully Broken

Chapter One:

The name’s Arizona Lexus Smith, but they call me Ari, and so Ari I am. My story is not terribly tragic, but there are a lot of tears behind it. It sure ain’t no fairy tale. When I was five, my father left me and my mother with no money and no love, not even an ounce that he had left to offer. At the age of seven, he showed up at our doorstep beaten and bleeding, and begged us to take him back in. Two days later, he was storming out of the door, cursing at us and telling us that we were dead to him. I can just remember the sharp slam of my cedar-crafted door now, as it forever lingers in my ears. Eventually, my mother married a man with money and a week-willed daughter. He bought us a nice, big house in the suburbs and saved our poor little selves. But he was a busy businessman, and my mother soon became very acquainted with her work too, so my uncle would have me come over to his house downtown and watched over me. One day, we were walking around the street, and before I knew it, I had to stand and watch a bloody thug stop his life with a bullet, launched from his serpentine trigger as his victim immediately fell backwards on the ground, leaving me bawling and fleeing, trying to save my own damn life. I can still feel the rough gravel rub against my leather-crafted kicks as I sped off back into the hell of a life I’ve been given to live. Ever since then, I’ve loved no soul truly and shoved my rough, broken memories into the back of my mind.

I found something brilliant at the age of thirteen. I was at the pool, showing myself off in my brand new, amatory bikini, hanging out with my girlfriends Brandi and Tanna, when a boy with a well-carved Mohawk and sharp, yellow eyes came up to us and offered us some pot. We had never done any of that stuff before, so out of curiosity, we accepted. Soon, I was dazing off into this brand new wonderland, where all the cruel cards and the malice of the real world could not dare touch me. Since then, I’ve done everything I could to get high and stay high.

His name was AJ, and he was actually a decent boy. He was sixteen and had a license and a slamming car. He would drive me around all day and took my virginity from me willingly in the back seat of his car. My cold heart refused to feel affection for him, but I was a young girl back then, lost and lonely and looking to score, and so I stayed with him. Through him, I was introduced to everyone who was anyone, and soon, I was the girl who everyone wanted to be around, to steal the twinkle in her cold, sad eyes. Yet as time passed, I grew bored of him quickly. I had all these different connections, and I no longer needed him. So my next victim was a boy named Hank Matthews. He was a creative soul, and a mop-headed stoner who bore the most gorgeous pair of crystal blue eyes that I had ever laid eyes on. I gotta be honest: with him, I actually felt something. But something within me just wanted to use him up and then push him away. I dated several guys and even some men after then. None of them pleased me the way I needed pleasing. Let’s be honest: Arizona Lexus Smith doesn’t need a man. She never did and never will. I actually had a girl once, too. Her name was Stephanie, but she broke my heart twice. She was the first person I loved since my dear deceased uncle, but she left me once for that mother****er Hank and twice for a Twelve Step Program that she was introduced to by fate, when she got off the drugs that I had introduced her to, that had ruined her life and sent her to depths further than even mine did. I still see her sometimes, baking brightly in the sun by the lake where I eye her from the corner of my stoned-shut eye. Nowadays, she only remains as a distant memory from my past. But it’s alright, because I still find myself to be dead sexy. My waves of auburn brown hair, they bounce around in every move and glisten under any given light. The emeralds that I bear for eyes wins over any boy, and I had the sleekest, most slender, picture-perfect body anyone I knew can ever have. They call me a dirty slut, but to me, I’m a noble prize winner, a sick puppy waiting to be released into the trenches of a Darwinian ball game.

I attained a new lover eventually. Her name was cocaine. I snorted her till my nose bled out, and shot her up till my veins surrendered, sweetly surrendered. Nowadays, drugs are the only thing that I can truly rely on. Sure, I have to push through all the shakes, twitches, and sleepless nights, but I’m a strong person. I survive. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried the clean life. Twelve Step meetings are simply a hoax. They’re all entitled and narcissistic. They watch out for each other, but only if they are drug addicts. Mention a thing about cutting or sex to them, and all the eyes in the room shifts away from you. Yeah, I’ve picked up cutting over time. I was introduced to it through Hank’s best friend, Jimmy. We would sit on the coach after shooting up dope, and then we’d drag the razor blades against our flesh and not even feel a thing. And sadistically, we’d make love and wake up groggy and sore all over. But I’d rather practice this ritual than feel anything for anyone. Truth is, I miss my poor daddy, and I miss my dead uncle. People call those excuses, but I call them the reasons why I live as if I’m dying. So what’s a girl like me doing in such a miserable world? Drowning herself in such unwanted despair? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the dope that rushes through my veins and grabs ahold of my ever-prevailing, never giving-in reigns keeps me alive. I am a slave, and proud as I snort another line and ease down with a nice, tasteful bowl of strawberry kush.

The day I turned sixteen, I went out, got trashed, and passed out in the middle of the dance floor. I woke up to a bunch of ***holes crawling all over me like a hoard of ants over a sugar cube. They were naked and just as drunk as I was. They played around with my body and my ****, and I sure as hell let them. I was a gift to all the sexual nymphs and satyiars of this God-given earth. I didn’t care about who touched me or who chose to even care. My mother’s tears no longer wounded me, and I had nothing to hold me back anymore. The name’s Arizona Lexus Smith, and this is my story.

I first met Paisson Taylor as I lie, bundled up in layers of cotton on the old, dusty coach in Jimmy’s living room. Paison was Jimmy’s fiance, and he had invited her over for me to meet her. Or for her to meet me. Whichever you prefer. Jimmy had become a honcho drug dealer. He slung losts of dope and always shared his supply with me, as long as he made sure that I kept sleeping with him. He made me swear to never tell Paisson, and I didn’t because what I had going on was good, even though heroin was not my drug of choice. So anyways, Paisson did come in at exactly one o’clock, immediately filling the room with a cloud of her perfume. As far as looks went, she was pretty fly. She had smooth, straight bleech-blond hair that hung loosely to her shoulders, and a pair of pretty doe-brown eyes. Her make-up was drawn on with artistry, and her teeth were pearly white. Not gonna lie, I was pretty turned on. She took one look at me, and then came my way and brushed her freshly red-manicured fingers down my hair. “You’re perfect.” She whispered, her seductive voice crawling down my skin.
“Would you like to make some money?”
How could I say no, so before you knew it, we were both naked, fooling around as the camera rolled on and on, its entrancing light illuminating our sensual performance. Afterwards, we fixed some heroin, and to my joy, was rewarded with a whole two grams of coke. I snorted them with such delight, as the euphoria swept over me, swept me off my feet. Who needs a man when you can speed life away?

By Monday, it was all over the school, that I was a big fat hoe, and that my video was all over the internet. Of course, I was arrested and assigned a court date. Paisson was sentenced to years of jail, for illegal porn and pedophilia, and Jimmy was sure as hell pissed at the both of us. I spent the entire day crying in the bathroom stall in the girl’s locker-room, until I bought some more coke, and suddenly I was all better. There was nothing like the white girl to lift my spirits up. By the end of the school, I made my way home, and packed up a bag. My mother was going to hate me, so why bother to stay home for that? I hit up a friend, and he headed on downtown, where my uncle and I used to wander about. The sunlight lit my shallow presence, as we sat on the pavement and told each other our life stories. I hid my woe and hid the fact that I was scared. I may act tough, and I may act mad, but deep inside, I was just a shattered little girl who didn’t have enough loving in her childhood to live life sober, to live life through the eyes of the beautiful young lady that I was. So, resting in the crevice of my own dreams, I eventually dozed off in the side of the road, my body lying on top of my girl Sydney, and we just lay there, a few miles away from home to start a brand new life on our own.

The next few weeks were a trip to hell. We ran out of money, so we had to sell ourselves. We got really into the “hippie” scene, and tripped on acid and came up with pseudo-spiritual revelations. A she-devil named Lydia took us in, so we lived in her basement, soon becoming her prisoners. We had to jump in bed with anyone who paid for it, and we were forced to go around dealing all sorts of goodies, only to receive a mere quarter of our profits. Life ceased to give us any pleasure, and walking down the street, breathing out the chilling vapor out of my mouth with my clattering teeth, all I would think about was my dear uncle, and at night, I would just myself to sleep, as cold and broken as ever. What have I done?! Who knew? Who the **** even cared? One Sunday morning, I fled to a church. I felt like shit for leaving Sydney behind, but what could I say—I had to take care of myself before I took care of anyone else. If she had been dear Steph, I would have pulled her out of her ass to save her, but she wasn’t, and so it was bye-bye Sydney. I attended service, and I cried my eyes out to the pastor. He took the liberty of driving me home and my mother, as disappointed as ever, slapped me in the face and told me the same exact thing that my father had said to us when I was seven. That I was dead to her. And this time, I was the one who had the door in my hand, and I slammed it as hard as I could, hoping for the ear-splitting blow to forever linger in her ears. I sobbed my way down Phillips drive, with nowhere to run to this time. I hated myself. Hated my lies, hated my eyes, hated my brutal disguise. I made my way to Jimmy’s. He took me in, shot me up, and then asked me to be his new girlfriend. I agreed to it, and shot up some more. It was the dope that I wanted to be with, not him. Like I said, Arizona Lexus Smith doesn’t need a man, and she never will.

Chapter two:

For a while, I resided in the demon’s lair. I was so sick, so sick. I picked up a book from the Twelve Step meetings, and all it did was send chills down my spine, so I picked up the Bible instead, only to be turned off by the Man telling me what to do and who to be. I learned how to drive, only to wreck the car, and had to sling on all the dope in the world to pay for it. I let men touch me, and women eat my ****, and I stayed just as trashy as I was trashed out. Then, one day, I ran into her. We walked around and talked, my heart racing the whole time. I watched the swirls of green encircle her strikingly adorable hazel eyes, and we then sat down on the bench at the park and nibbled on some PB & J’s. She told me of her new life in recovery, and I was envious. “How and why did you do it?” I implored.
“I was tired, sick and tired of being sick an tired,” she replied. “A lot of shit has happened to me, Ari. And I couldn’t take it anymore. It hurts, seeing you still stuck in the same boat. I wish that you will find a way to become sober, but I know that you don’t want to. I want my bestie back, not if you keep slowly killing yourself like this.”
“Why does it matter?” I retaliated defensively.
“Because believe it or not, I still care about you. I still keep hoping that you’ll come around.”
“It’s my life. I can wreck it if I want to.”
“But do you really?”
I grew silent. How do I even answer that question? So I didn’t. I just at there, watching a little boy skip his rocks down by the nearby lake. And I left her then, unable to stand her blazing fire. I went out and got trashed, and woke up in a bed that smelled of detergent in a room with the TV turned on to some stupid talk show. I was in a psychiatric hospital! From there I was transported, to a stupid rehab called Riverside Treatment Center. They put me in a lock-down cube with nine other girls, until I transitioned out, and I was soon living in a cabin with no running water, having to walk around campus all day. I was in some stupid group called the Wolf clan, with a bunch of stupid ****es who didn’t give a shit about anyone but themselves. It was ridiculous, and apparently, they could keep me here up to nine months. Great. Just great…

I woke up in the morning to a noisy alarm clock, the obnoxious clan leader counting time goals for us to get our asses out of bed. “60, 59, 58, 57, 56..”—shut the **** up!”
“Come on!” a girl named Karen, a red-head with bright green eyes and pale, ivory skin stirred me up and out of bed. Another torturous day of this bullshit.
We went by the shoe locker to get our shoes, and then we got in formation to head on over to breakfast. I saw right next to a blond-haired girl who was as tall and skinny as a stick, and we talked. Her name was Emma, and she was a cokehead much like myself. Next came Crysta, an acid-tripper, and then Jona, a heroin addict. Then there was Vicki, who smoked just pot, and Cris, who was a pill popper. There was Meg, who was an alcoholic, and Terri, Alex, and Elli were all addicts with additional issues, such as cutting and bulimia. Karen too, was a bulimic and alcoholic. There were eleven girls in my clan, and they were my new insubordinate family. But there was also a girl named Piper, who belonged to the other clan. I met her while up on the Unit. She had dyed fading black-brown hair, in waves much like mine, and eyes, gleaming lively eyes that shifted from green, blue, and gray. She sat on the other side of the cafeteria with the Woodpecker clan, and she was very, very untouchable. My eye was definitely affixed to her, alright. Once, on the Unit, the alarm had went off and we all rushed to one corner of the room. I playfully asked her to sit next to me, and she grabbed ahold of me by the arm. Startled, I had jerked. We had a deep, spiritual connection. We couldn’t talk much, seeing that we were in different cleans, but we communicated in vibe-levels. To my dismay, Vicki had beat me to it. She decided to start an affair with her, and I was torn. On top of that, we stopped connecting after they put me on some new meds. They screwed up my life force almost completely. They were the chains to my soul, and though I had tried to withstand the wall that it had released within me, in the end, the chemicals took ahold of me and so my soul ceased to even prosper.

Riverside was no vacation. All the rigorous work, both physical and school-related. We never did anything fun, at least not in my eyes. We were stuck with the same people each and every day, and they all got old really fast. I pushed myself so hard just to get through each and every single day. Emma was my motivation. We helped each other out so much. Soon enough, we grew to be the best of friends and stuck by each other till the end. We never turned our backs on each other, ever. One day, we were mauling some wood. She was holding a piece for me, and I swung my axe as hard as I could, having the sharpened edge land on her thumb. Blood gushed out of the gaping open wound. I bawled the entire time, even kissing her desperately disheveled finger. She was taken to the hospital, only to come back without a thumb.

We cried for hours, and when we came back down from our little tear-fest, we laughed hard and told each other how much we cared about each other, how much we cared about each other. Our relationship was the epitome of sober hope. Even through such infliction and damage, we were still inseparable. As we waited for nursing to be ready to give us our meds. We lie in the grass, gazing up at the stairs that screamed our names.
“What are you thinking right now? I would ask her.
“That….” She gazed deeply into my eyes with such admiration in hers.
“I’m glad that I met you.”
I brightened up in joy. “Me too, girl. This place is actually somewhat tolerable with you here.”
“Oh, it’s not that bad. But you do make it pleasant…even though you chopped off my thumb,” she teased.
I shoved her playfully, giggling. The both of us, just giggling insanely, until staff told us to come back to the group, and so we did, ending our little remigade under the stars.

By March, I had finished up three entire year-long classes. I was prospering in school, nearly completing my entire sophomore year. For the first time in my life, other people truly appreciated me, and not because I was sleeping with them. I had grown acquainted with a spiritual guru by the name of Mr. Fiddle. We would pray and share our experiences together. Mr. Hawks was my homeroom teacher, a man of around his fifties who wore a blue cap that he slung around all day. He was my school motivation. And there were many more. Emma was a senior this year, and her graduation was coming up. We were both stoked for her big day. However, our relationship did grow to be very unhealthy. One night, we were in the shower house, undressing and ready to hop into our showers. Mine was right next to hers, and due to staff, leaving our eyes off our naked bodies, she pulled me into her stall and kissed me enticingly. I grabbed a hold of her, and we made out. We played with each other, and by the time that our five minutes were up, there we were, unclean in all aspects as we both rushed out of our showers, hoping that no one would notice. And luckily, they did not. But we both knew of what had happened, and that swarm of guilt did forever cling onto us. It wasn’t alluring, and it wasn’t passionate. Don’t get me wrong, we did have a deep friendship, but we then, from that experience, realized that it was nothing more than that.

Chapter Three:

Piper and I had started talking again by the end of the month. We would interact very sneakily, flashing our smiles from across the room, allowing our eyes to align each time. Apparently, Vicki and her were no longer an item; and my mind, body, and spirit, beyond free from all the chemicals that had held me back from this metaphysical connection before. It was a ritual between her and Vicki to pass notes to each other, so I decided to imitate. One day, at the school, I slipped her one, freshly written with bright blue on a light blue piece of notebook paper. It contained the following message:

“Piper; never in my life have I met anyone like you. You are truly amazing. You’re beautiful, and you inspire me. I’d love for us to be together. Please respond!” And I attached a poem that I had pulled out of my magician’s hat of a creative mind that I bore:

Dear transferent mirror,
how is it that you appear
cold and broken with your beauty forlorn?
For how long have you dwelled
within this disheveled sphere?
How do you view me,
How do you see it?
Perhaps the wind has been whispering
softly in your ear?”

Oh, I sure knew how to win her over, because as I went up to sharpen my pencil, she crept up from behind me and kissed me softly on the lip. I told Emma right away. She turned bright pink, her flawless gem-like blue eyes stirring its waves of fury, of eternal envy. She said nothing except “She’s not even in our clan. That’s totally not allowed”.
This is where our relationship began to spiral down. We would no longer sit next to each other during meals. We no longer took turns at shoveling the gravel during physical labor, and we barely spoke for over two weeks. Eventually, we did give in, but by then, Piper and I were hopelessly in love and Emma ceased to be the most important person in my life.

One night, Piper and I both snuck out of our cabins. We had done our part in cheeking our meds at nursing, and so the two of us went into the woods, and met up. We crushed the pills, and we snorted them, and began to make out together. We began to play with each other, until two flashing lights began to beam on us, and we were caught on the spot. We were both banned from talking to each other, and the two clans were placed into harder labor the next day. I came back dreary-eyed, a bit angry, and half stoned from the medication. All the staff announced what had happened, even to those who were in the dark about it, and soon, everyone knew. Many had already suspected a relationship between Piper and I, but this was beyond the cutesy note-passing that her and Vicky in the past had managed to endure. The clan shunned me for what happened, and for an entire day and a half, I did not get much interaction from any of the girls. I grew bitter, and seeked revenge, until I realized that what I did was pretty severe, and God knows, I really should have been returned on the Unit for it. But either way, sooner or later, we all reconciled, and I felt as if I had regained trust in my family again. Sure they were addicts and alcoholics, but at least they tried, and that was all that mattered. Yet a dark cloud swarmed over Emma Diane Wilson. She rained and stormed, and sent chills down my stomach. Her eyes grew dark and lifeless. She sulked and drowned in her own tears. She stopped talking to me after we had a check-in and the whole day, the two of us remained, my most frequently used word, broken. Little did I know what was going to happen as a result.

It was after lunch. We were in line, taking a group porta-potty break, when Emma hopped in a porta. For three and a half whole minutes, she stopped responding, and the door was locked. All the staff immediately scurried over to the sound of an air horn. They did everything they could to open the door. By the time they did, they found her face down, her face completely engulfed in the disgusting blue piss water. They tried so hard to bring her back, and they sent her to the hospital, but we all knew for a fact that she was dead. I was through with all this bull! This was the last straw. Whoever was up there must have hated me, because all that happens in my life was cruel and tragic. I’ve been here for over three months, and it was all the same old shit that has happened my entire life. I was sick of it. Sick of this place, sick of the relapse and sex, sick of losing people that I loved. I said that I’ve loved no soul since my uncle, but I’m a damn liar, and everyone knows it. If I wasn’t, I would not be here. So, at the next out-house twelve step meeting that night, I snuck out, and was gone.

By the time the staff of my clan saw that I was missing, I had already escaped a few miles away from the meeting place. I was near the roadside, panting as I became my wild, new adventure all on my lonesome. Funny, I had imagined such a scene with Emma a while ago, but ever since what happened, there was no me and Emma. There was just…me. I was pretty and charming, so I had no trouble finding a ride. A man with a shady, rugged figure rescued me, and soon I was on yet another trip to hell. My first in so long. He asked me where I was from. I lied, telling him that I was a college student who just needed a ride to a party. So he dropped me off at the University of Michigan, and like a scavenger, I forced my entrance into a room full of carefree drunks, and drank my way out of my misery. For the first time in my life, no matter how much I took in, I could not relieve myself of the pain that I had channeled. So I decided to sleep with all the men in the room, just hoping, hoping that it would help. It didn’t. But it seemed as if drugs and sex was all I had going for me, so I continued on. Like I said, I was a gift to both man and womankind. I needed no man, I needed no woman. Truth is, they needed me. Arizona Lexus Smith was no softie. She was just beautifully broken. That’s all she was.

By the time the party was over, a sick, blond-haired girl was passed out on the floor. Seeing this, all I thought about was Emma’s cold, dead body submerged in the porta, and my first reaction was to rush over to save her. A hand was set on my shoulder. Bewildered, I turned around. It was AJ!
“I’ll drive you and her down to the hospital” he said calmly.
I nodded. So me, him, and the unconscious girl, and two other college boys got in AJ’s car, and we drove off. We pulled over at an old graveyard, and to my shock, the boys picked her up, ran down to a tombstone, and set her down.
“What the **** are you doing?!” I shrieked.
“Hey, we don’t wanna get busted.” One of the boys replied as if it was nothing.
Wow, what a truly ****ed up world this was. I stayed behind. I carried the girl up to the police station. At 3 am, an ambulance came by. I told them that she was my sister…my sister Emma. I sat in the back with her the whole time, holding her hand. I knew nothing of her, but I knew that I wanted to save her life. She survived, but to my dismay, she told the nurses her real name and treated me like a psychotic person, completely disregarding me. The nurses asked me to leave, and that was that.

I left the hospital, and to my dismay, saw that I was out in a whole new world where a fragile being like me should not dare lurk.. I was out in the streets of the middle of nowheresville, lost and alone, without a single clue on where I was going. A girl left out here could easily be left for dead. I meandered about, not thinking, barely breathing, simply walking, for miles it seemed, until I pulled up by a nearby park, and saw all the dirty crackheads gather around to get their fix, and the junkies lying on the grass, loaded. I wondered what it would be like to be one of them, if I would even end up like them. Even then, I still had nothing to offer them. People like them didn’t want a pretty girl. They just wanted money and drugs. It was sad, when not even the scum of society wanted you in their brigade, when you knew, for the first time in your life, what it really was like to be truly alone.

I slept on a bench in a smaller, closer-by park that night, crying. I wished that I could just undo the past few days, and wish that my dear best friend was still alive. Then, I could still be at Riverside, complete the program, and everyone would be happy. I wondered what my parents would think, what all my friends from back from would think about this. This was the biggest mistake of my life. The next morning, I went back to the hospital, and told them everything. At first, they were going to call my mother, but I suggested the most outlandish request in the world, and of course, being nurses from out of town, they followed through with it. I was at his doorstep in no time, an abandoned little puppy whining, waiting to be taken in. Oh, my father, my precious, prodigal father. He was wearing a robe with zebras sprawled all over it. His head was buzz-cutted. He stood in shock, as he studied me. “Ar-Arizona? Is that you?”
I nodded, sobbing.
“Wh-what are you doing here?”
“God hates me.”
“The hell he loves me if He send you back into my life!”
Amd so I crawled into his arms without any hint of hesitation, and indeed he did take me in.

Chapter Four:

My father is a God-given gift. Turns out, that he was five-years sober, a recovering alcoholic. He told me that the reason why he had not contacted my mother was because he thought that we were better off without him. He told us that he really did love us, he just didn’t think that we deserved him and all the crap he put us through. Oddly enough, we created a bond much deeper than one I had with my mother. I told him of my tragedy, and he told me that I was a heroine with an infinite amount of hamartia. That I was brave, and that I had a lot going for me. I’ve been told that a lot in the form of bullshit, but I could sense the honest earnesty in his words. So here I was, living with the man who walked out on me at the age of both five and seven, sipping lemonade on the front porch on Sunday afternoons and taking long walks by the park hand in hand. My mother was informed eventually, and though it broke her heart, she still did support us.
One Sunday afternoon, when the sun was rejuvenating our wet, blotchy skin and the ice was melting firmly into the sea of yellow that floated aimlessly in the pitcher, he asked me:
“So…did she ever remarry?” he asked me so anxiously, that I could sense him shaking, just a little.
“Well…” I paused. “She did, to some rich dude. But he’s never really around.”
He nodded, and the atmosphere was silent.
“Do you…still love her?”
“No. If I did, it’ll hurt her.”
“Love never hurt anyone, Daddy.”
“Well, where has it got you?”
“I fell in love with drugs, sex, and girls. That’s my problem. Why are you so scared to feel something for someone?”
“I love you, Arizona. With all my heart.”
I smiled. “Good. I love you too.”
The sun shone down on his droopy blue eyes. They squinted in the way a pair of eyes would after an attack of cigarette smoke. “I just….I just want what’s best, I guess. For all of us.”
“I do too, I do too.”
Living with my father was a laid-back, tranquil life. Tennessee was a breezy heat wave of semi-country side. My new school was packed with beauty in all manners, the neighbors were cheery, and the house was a safe haven that kept me very sober. I attained plenty of friends in no time. They were all like me: gorgeous, glamorous, and charismatic. Among them was a boy named Tyson. He was a demigod, I could have sworn. He had the most beautiful curly black hair, and the finest taste in music a boy could have. I found love in Tyson Pailer. Soon, we were a couple. Indeed we still smoked cigarettes in the parking lot and we passed love notes in the back of our Geometry Tyson was in a band, and often wrote ballads to his girlfriends. He rode a motorcycle to school, and took a liking to me when I met him at one of his football practices one day, as the school’s new cheerleader. Tyson was one of the school’s top drug dealers. He used to smuggle coke onto airplanes and sell them across seas. He was something special, and I saw a great light within those beautiful, weathered green eyes. He was a football player and a wrestler, and never did the drugs he sold. I got them all for free, and I fell back in love with all of them. I would ride in the back of his motorcycle on my way and from my way back from school, and cut lines for him to sell in the girl’s bathroom at school. He would wrap me around his arms in the movies, and make out with me on the park bench till the sun came down, and the world was once again, ours to behold. He would write me love songs, and sing and play them loudly at his shows, and would always let me wear his leather football jacket, and hold me in his arms until I fell asleep on the rare nights that I snuck out of my house and into his. It was beautiful, the good combination of dope, music, and sports.
“I love you.” I said to him one day.
He paused, and then kissed me softly. “I love you too, baby girl. I’m so glad that I met you. You’re the most beautiful girl in the world, and I promise that we’ll stay together for a very long time.”
I hated it when guys promised such things, but with Tyson, it was different.

When my father found three grams of coke in my room, he sat me down to have a long talk with him. He was disappointed in me, and wanted me to move back in with my mother. I hadn’t been using much, I was too busy being in love with Tyson. To escape such a thing, I decided to move in with Tyson. Three months later, I was pregnant with his child.
“This can’t be,” he sighed, pacing up and down the room.
“Does this mean that we’re gonna have to get married? Or do some embarrassing shit with the kid, like change their diaper?”
“Whoa, slow down, babe!”
He continued to pace, mesmerized with such news.
“Tell me one thing.”
“That this won’t change anything, right?”
“No. I love you, and that will never change. Maybe this happened for a reason.”

I was thrilled to be having a baby—it was of more of a reason to live now, but unfortunately, the cost of bringing a new life into this world was not cheap. We both had to get a job, and we were both stressed 24/7. I had to drop out of school, and all of my friends started to distance themselves away from my pregnant ass. Tyson got really into coke and crystal meth, though I stayed clean for the baby’s sake. He began to rub it in my face. When he got high, he would run around the house and hit me if I objected. One night, I came home to him and his **stard friend snorting lines on the kitchen table. I screamed at him and told him to get out.
“Get out?! This is my house, ****! Why don’t you just leave?” he bellowed, nearing me with as much intimidation as he could muster.
“Tyson, you’re really high right now.”
“I’ve done nothing but to help you. Take you in when you needed a place to stay, pay the rent, mortgage, and help you out when you had and have a baby on the way. And what do I get? Nothing. I’m just trying to enjoy this night. I don’t see why you’d have a problem with it. Before news of the baby, you were the biggest cokehead in the world!
“Well that was then, Tyson. And this is now. I want you out.”
“No, I want you out!”
He maniacally chased me up the stairs and underestimating his might, threw his hand on me, and pushed me down. At the hospital, they told me that I had lost the precious baby. I didn’t even cry. I just rushed over to one of Tyson’s dealer’s houses, and hit up two blotters of acid, one tab of ecstasy, and two lines of fine cut coke. I was on my sweet, sweet relapse. Again, my clean time was a meager three months. Why even bother to stay sober if crap still happens whether I was using drugs or not?

After I lost my baby, I decided to pay my father his goodbyes, and actually move back in with my mom. She took me back willingly, and things were going good for a while, until I hooked back up with my old friends, and saw the life of grams and syringes to be the depiction of paradise again. I spiraled down once more. I was ****ed up all the time. I re-entered the drug scene, and partied like a badass. I grew to be a nympho. Guys, girls, it didn’t matter. When I didn’t have them, I would constantly talk to them from afar until I met up with them, or exchanged pictures with then via phone. Anything to keep my libido busy. However, I committed to never get knocked up again. I tried to play it safe for a while by just sticking to girls, but eventually, I got tired, cracked, and hit up the****again. I was a very sick girl. I came home tripping, seeing the world in cartoon vision. I fell down the stairs again, this time on my own, and all I could do was crack up laughing. My mother and my step-father eventually threatened rehab to me again, so I ran away for two nights. I came back extremely hung-over, stayed home for two weeks, and then left home again. I kept running every time something went wrong. I didn’t know any other way. The shakes and the puking became my best friends.

I started to see a man wander about close to my mom’s house, and took curiosity in him. He was tall, rigid, dark-haired, and handsome, and I couldn’t imagine why he would wander about aimlessly like that. Men like him had jobs, had lives, had wives, and had kids. He was nearly twice my age, but I began to, from spotting him around, take a liking to him. One afternoon, I decided to say hi to him. He smiled at me, his pearly white shark-like teeth glaring back at me, and he took me by the hand and kissed it. I saw him a few times afterwards, and soon, I was his new love affair. He had a wife, and he sure had children, but he had been laid off of work, and he would spend many afternoons simply pondering the mysteries of this crazy Universe we lived in by walking around the block. I fancied his style—I often wondered why I existed too, and began to plot philosophic philanthropies with him while being ****ed up on pot and tripping on acid. It didn’t take long before he fell in love with me, and he was bathing me with flowers, chocolate, and all the money in the world for drugs. I became a complete fiend, needing anything I could find to fill up the hole that not even he could fill. Unfortunately, a little while afterwards, he and his wife had made amends to each other again, and he left me bitterly, barely even acknowledging the fact that I had been anything to him. I became very sick from the withdrawal, and began to shake and throw up again.

People suspected that I was bulimic, until they saw that I threw up neon colors. I was suddenly the poster-girl for addiction, and the horrors behind it. Many people partied, and partied hard, some did, but never had they been, in their perspective, as worse off as me. Some thought it was funny, how I needed help, but I saw it as just another tragedy, as my life had depicted itself to be. Ah, life…was it even worth living anymore? My father had left me as a child. I watched my own uncle die. I became a drug addict, got sent to rehab, only to watch my best friend die in a porta-potty, had saved a girl’s life only to have her deny my existence and was kicked out of a hospital, and got knocked up by an ***hole drug dealer who killed my baby. Once again, the self-pity took over me. I began to cut again. This time, even without the numbing effects of heroin. I tried to drown myself, but something within me was just scared of death as I was with staying alive. One day after school, a pleasant surprise awaited me; there he was, Hank Christian Matthews, right outside my school, leaning against his white mustang.
“Hey, stranger.” He greeted,
I rushed over to him with exhilteration.
We hugged, and we went for a ride. We stopped by a Sonic, and grabbed some grub.
“So…Lady Gaga is coming to town up in the venue close to the river. Wanna go?”
I loved Lady Gaga! She was bisexual, and creative and beautifully broken, the way I was. She was unique and not afraid to be herself. So of course, I said yes. He drove me up there, and we entered the amphitheater with flashing neon lights and a raging crowd. We jammed, crowd surfed, and dance all night. Bad Romance replayed on and on in my head afterwards.
“Hank, I’m glad that we’re friends” I said, kissing him on the cheek
“You don’t need a man, Arizona. You just need a friend like me.”
And we smiled at each other and did the Lady Gaga dance. I slept at his house, in separate beds, and all was right in the world once more. The best part is, I stayed sober that night!

Chapter Five:

Instead of sending me to a residential treatment center, my mother placed me in Intensive Outpatient care, and attended meetings everyday. Yet the using never stopped. By the end of my IOP, I spoke on behalf of the program just to get messed up right afterwards. No one found out, so I kept doing it. I started selling to all different kinds of people. Even twelve-thirteen year olds. The hell I even had the conscience to give a damn. Yet Hank stayed in my life as my best friend. I still grieved over Emma everyday, but I washed it all down with a bottle of jack. I began writing a lot. I wrote my life story in novel form. I met a woman one day, an elephantine black woman who was also a very popular publisher at the library, where I was proofreading the last of my book. She took a liking to it, and asked me if I could read it. I gave her my novel to proofread, and she told me to come back in the next day for some suggestions. I did, and she asked me to be my publisher. She told me that I was talented, and that my novel could really touch a lot of hearts. I agreed to it, and soon, it was all over the news and bookstores. It was called “Beautifully Broken” by Arizona Lexus Smith. I started going to book signings and grew to be famous. Yet fame corrupted me the way it corrupts the entire world. It was a deceitful serpent, crawling within me, nibbling on my quintessence.
“I don’t know what eats at you all the time.” Hank said to me one day as we leaned against the brick building that made up the school.”
“I don’t either. If I knew, if only I knew.”
“I mean, you’re gorgeous. People love you, now even on a fame level. You’re smart, a good writer, and anyone would be lucky to have you as a friend. Including me.”
“Please don’t…”
“See? Self-pity. Anyone would kill to be in your position.”
“Then take it!” I grumbled. “I’m sick of it all!” and I wept. I sobbed, biting my lip.
He wrapped his arms around me, and soon sang me to peace. Where would I be without this boy?
A random topic popped into my mind.
“Tell me about her. Anything.”
He knew very well on who I was talking about. “Welll…she was really cute. We had a lot in common. I dunno…”
“I miss her from time to time. But I know that it’s stupid.”
“It’s not. I’d take her back any day.”
“What’s so great about her anyway?”
“Some people are just emotionally attractive. Emotionally scarring.”
“Yeah, tell me something I don’t know.”
“Okay…well, I got into college.”
“Where?” I asked, hopping up and down like a little fan-girl.
“U-Mich. Like everyone else.”
“That’s so amazing!” and I gave him a nice, big bear hug.”
“You know…it’s funny. A year from now, we were dating each others’ girlfriends’, calling each other names’, and absolutely hating each other. And now, look at us!”
“It’s funny, how much could happen in a year. How much could change in such a short amount of time.”
“I’m spending the night at my brother’s dorm tomorrow night. Wanna come?”
And I eagerly accepted the invitation. Yet indeed, another woeful adventure did lie ahead for Arizona Lexus Smith.

We got there an hour late, the smell of burnt nicotine and beer fogging the air. Dance music blared, and all the crazy college kids were jamming around. Cocaine was being snorted on the poker table, and there was a line for those who wanted to hit up the beer bong. A roach was being passed around the coach, as couples lie kissing close by the smoking circle. Scurrying past the sea of shit-faced faces, a tall, well-toned male with long, hippie-esque hair that hung all the way down his neck accosted us in. “Hey man, brother!” he hugged him firmly, and he took my hand and shook it. His hands were rough and chap. “How are you two?”
And he led us to smoke a few blunts with him. He was completely wasted. He pulled out a guitar, and began jamming. Hank took it from him, and let loose his tunes. I crept out of the room, bumping into some shady character whose hair hid completely behind a black beanie. He held a beer in his band, and he burped straight in my face.
“Gross!” I yelped.”
“Sorry!” his eyes were blood-shot red, his veins nearly popping out. “Let’s go somewhere. Me and you.” And he grabbed my hand. I jerked back out of instinct, but he tightened his grip, and pulled me away. My screams could not be heard over the music, but somehow, as if they were a dog whistle, Hank and his brother rushed over to save my ass. “Get off of her...NOW!” Hank cried.
“Get out of my face, buddy”
Hank’s brother stepped in. “Make me!”
Bam! A blow was shot across his face. Bam! Hank’s brother retaliated. Before you knew it, the shady boy was being wrestled on the ground…when a gunshot interrupted the fiasco. The two lay outstretched on the floor, a hole gaping open on Hank’s brother’s forehead. The other was bleeding lethally in his gut. The crowd rushed out, screaming, shouting, in panic. Hank and I glanced and each other and he fell to his knees, whelping…wailing. I could only set my hand on his shoulder and watch as the two dead corpses collage themselves, representing the omens of my past, present, and future.

Chapter Six:

After the funeral, there was no sign of Hank. Not around Phillips avenue, not near the corner where the school was at, not even at the square where everyone frolicked. This took a huge toll on my well-being. I began to cut, party, and snort coke again. The blood vessels in my nose were almost completely demolished, so I decided to switch to smoking crack. My friends and I recreated the flower children. We wore daisies in our hair, wore tie-dye, and tripped on lots of acid. My mother frowned upon this, but didn’t even dare stop me. My son-of-a-**** stepfather was around more again, and she would rather suck his****than pay mind to me. I was more broken and lost than ever. I decided to start seeing Jimmy again, and things were going so well with him that he decided to put a ring on my finger. We got married, and we began to live the fast life. He got me hooked on heroin, and soon, my life became nothing but a blur.
“I love you, Jimmy” I would murmur as he shot me up ten times harder in the sanctuary of his bathtub, and wrapped me around his arms. He would tell me that he loved me back. He sure meant it, and I sure couldn’t change the fact that I felt wonders for this man. He had changed a lot in the years. He had landed himself a good construction job, had gotten himself a much more expensive apartment down in the suburbs, and had long broken up with Paisson. He had even gotten clean at one point, or so he claimed, but couldn’t keep it that way. You see, Jimmy too, had a huge problem, and he couldn’t stop it all on his own. I tried to help him, but how could I, when I had a needle stuck up my arm myself?
I moved in with the guy, in my happy-go-lucky, naïve standing, and slept next to him every night, dreaming of this new life with him. It was wonderful at first, as he took me out to the clubs, bought me drinks, and danced with me. He introduced me to all of his friends, and took quite a liking to me and his new life with me as well as my new life with him. However, one of his friends, Pedro, had his eye on me the way a hawk did on his prey. When he wasn’t home one day, he crept into our apartment, and he tried to pull a move on me. Disgusted, I called Jimmy right away, and told him. He punched the living daylights out of him, and proved his love for me once more. It was great, what we had, and the limits he set to his friends, especially the creepy ones who wanted to treat me like their little sex icon. I struggled with this every time his friends came along, but eventually, Jimmy set them all straight, even without violence. He was a fist-bearing man, but for some reason, I found that bad-boy persona that he bore to be very attractive.

Though Tyson Pailer lived in Tennessee, for some reason, word spread to him that I had married Jimmy. Horrified by such news, he came to pay me a visit. He showered me with roses, begging me to take him back. He was as drunk as a donkey, and was jerking every-which-way as he attempted to serenade me back into his world of cutting lines and irresponsibly, yet accidentally killing babies, or so I supposed sourly.
“I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done. I’ve lied awake at night regretting it all. I need you back, baby. I truly do. I love you! If you don’t believe me, ask anyone else and they’d tell you that you were the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me. Losing you was like—”
“Me losing the baby, huh?” I interrupted, bitterly. I didn’t have much time or patience for this. Tyson was a figment of my past that I really did not want to relive.
“What happened was not right. It was wrong—I was wrong. And you know that it was an accident. I wanted to raise a child with you. Marry you, love you, quit using drugs for you. Everything. I wanted a life with you.”
“And you blew it, Tyson. You blew it.”
Jimmy entered the scene with a bag of groceries in his arms. “What’s going on?” he demanded.
“Lover boy here thinks we can just make up and I’ll leave you for him.” I muttered, resentment boiling within me.
“Well, that won’t do, will it?” Jimmy asked rhetorically.
He took one look at Tyson, and spit smack dab onto his rosy red lips. “Swallow that for pride, mother****er. Stay away from my wife.”
Furious, Tyson raised his fist, while Jimmy disarmed it with his rage. “Yeah, nice try, punk. You’re as drunk as a duck. You don’t want her. The booze in your system does. In the morning, you’ll be sober and hung over, and you’ll regret this all. Have you ever been clean when you were with her? Or was your relationship with her just another junkie love fest?”
“I’d like to ask you the same question” he retorted, gingerly. “You’re the junkie, ***hole. I’ve quit coke and meth. I just drink now. And I’ve never really done any of it since after she started having the kid. Get your facts right, or shut the **** up.”
He slammed him down against the cement, and Tyson wailed. “You think you’re hot shit, little high school kid, thinking you got all the answers, thinking you got all the swag, the money, the car, the girls? Thinking she’ll take you back if you just spit out a few nice words? Well she’s mine now, got it? Mine! And there ain’t a thing you can do to change it.”
Squealing in pain, he managed to get up, and look up at me, half wincing, his mouth gaping with blood. “What do you think, Ari? What do you want?” he managed to whisper hoarsely.”
“I think that you should leave before my man permanently damages an organ or a bone in your body, kid.” I replied, and then he was off, Tyson Pailer, forevermore, and my knight in shining armor was here to stay, but not forever, as fate unrolled its reel of misfortune all over again, and soon, everything, like everything else in my life that had ever gone well was to come to an end.

As my dependence on heroin grew, so did Jimmy’s need of going out to cop. He didn’t deal anymore, ever since he took some responsibility in life, he decided to throw away the dope-dealer persona he once had. Though he worked nearly thirty hours a week, it was still hard to feed both mine and his habit. Eventually, we began to run into a conflict. One night, I was fiening, and needing of some heroin. Jimmy opened the last cap to put it in the syringe, and shot me up with it. I felt the sense of exhilaration rush through me, as if a million stars had hit me, struck me in its fleeting pace. Jimmy, seeing that there was none left for him, got his coat, and told me that he was going out to get more. “I’ll go with you.” I told him, and grabbed my coat as well as I walked along in the haze-like euphoria that the dog offered me.
When we approached the dope dealers, we realized that we were five dollars short, and the dealers were not pleased at this. “We already packed everything for you in the bag. We need fifty five.” One of the guys told us.
“Look, can’t you guys just let us go with fifty for now? You can even take a little bit out. How about it?”
The dealers began to talk amongst each other. When they were about to come to an agreement, one of the guys, a tough, drunken Arab who did not tolerate such a shortcoming decided to grab his gun and suddenly fire it on Jimmy’s head.
“Run, run, run!” were the last words that came out of his mouth, and I scurried away, half stumbling, tears swarming out of my eye sockets. We buried him next to his uncle, who died in the last war, and I could not help but to kiss his grave and throw a white rose down to celebrate the fact that for once in my life, that man had done me nothing wrong but to do what everyone had done for my in my life: supply my drug habit, and get me hooked on more than what I was on before.

Meanwhile, my book was still flourishing, but I didn’t give a damn until one day, I affixed my eyes on my original copy, and read over it. Tears poured out of my eye sockets. Was this really my life? What had gone wrong? I wanted to blame that boy with the yellow eyes and that very first blunt, but I knew very well that it was a wreck before drugs came in the picture. They sure did spread salt on the wound, though. I’ve tired everything. Different people, places, and things. Different states of mind—sobriety and intoxication. Marriage, and then the mourning of a new significant person in my life. I must have been doing something wrong. I felt cursed. I must have a lot of negative karma. I must have been a guile charlatan in a past life, I knew for sure. One night, I linked my hands together and prayed. Just prayed. I surrendered, and apologized my heart out. The next day, I felt less alone, less abandoned, less high, and less dreary. It’s pretty cliché and Seventh Heaven-esque, to have God be the answer, but it is what worked for me. Hank went off to Paris for the summer with his uncle, and my friends began to hang around me less as my partying days ceased. I was still smoking pot, but that was it. I got a sponsor in a Twelve Step program, but she told me how much of a justification that was. I told her to **** off, and didn’t attend meetings for a week. One day, I walked into a random church on the way back to school. The atmosphere was welcoming, and the kids were loyal and open to my presence. Eventually, as I kept attending, I found out that the boys worshiped me. An older boy named Greg asked me out on a date, and so I accepted. We had a steady, appropriate, non-sexual relationship. He was sober, had never even had a drink in his life, skinny, and very intellectual. He wanted to grow up to be a writer and a preacher. I really did enjoy that church. I was the jokester, making everyone laugh. A set of the most down-to-earth people became my closest friends, and suddenly, I had a whole new support network. I eventually quit using everything. It was my biggest sacrifice, but I knew it will do me no good. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how you end your affair with drugs, as long as you do so. In my story, my salvation was my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

So my name is Arizona Lexus Smith. I am still beautiful, and still very broken, but things have finally come to place. I have love and grace in my life, and I could not have asked for anything better.
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