In some ways, the fourteen chapter of Sand and Ash is a wonderful example of writing about something I don't know. I rarely drink alcohol. As in less than half liter a year for almost every year except this one. This year, I've had two bottles of hard cider, which is an all-time record for over a decade.
The idea of retreating in a bottle, or smoking, or drugs is completely alien to me. When things got their lowest, I flee for a keyboard not head straight for some drug to drown myself. I don't like being drunk. I don't like losing control of my thoughts.
But, Rutejìmo is a character who would flee to a bottle. Every foundation in his life had been ripped out: he can't head home without risking death, he couldn't find solace with Chimípu, and he couldn't even know where he was sleeping. So, in that moment after Mikáryo abandoned him, he had nowhere. So, he ran. Ran without know where to go until his muscles wore out and he found himself desperate to drown out the misery.
This is one of the moments that I loved about this novel. That beat of silence after everything goes to hell. The “I'm fucked” moment.
I've had a few moments like that of my own. I remember them well, which one reason why I wanted to write about them. I wanted that moment of darkness to hang over his head, because it lets the one bright point of hope shine the most: Mapábyo.