642 Days of Writing Day 11: Coffee House Dreams

Day 11: The woman/man across from you at the cafe or office–what did she or he dream last night?

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It was eight am at the coffee shop around the corner from the office, of course, it was packed. The line snaked out the door with two head-bowed men in suits propping it open, absentmindedly scrolling through the day’s morning headlines. Oliver worked as quickly and efficiently as possible behind the counter, churning out latte after latte, and inwardly sighing whenever the occasional macchiato labeled cup passed his way. It was a standard Tuesday morning.

As he waited for milk to froth to the right consistency, he spotted Sara make her way steadily forward in the line, advancing within his line of site. She was a regular, arriving every morning between 8 and 8:30, but her orders were anything but. At first, having made the same non-fat vanilla latte for three days in a row, Oliver thought he had her figured out. She was standard suit, working in business, consulting, or law in the big city. That was until the day she came in, during the dead of winter, and ordered the sweetest frappe they had on the menu. Since then her order had always changed every few days or so.

The morning crew had started trying to guess her order after she had established her regular status. Some thought she chose her drinks based on the day of the week; some claimed the drink was tied to her hairstyle. Oliver had his own theory, but he would never share it. He knew that the others would tease him relentlessly about it whether or not he was right.

Oliver watched her in line when he could. Stealing glances between making drinks and taking note of where she looked, how she wore her hair, whether or not she was on her phone. Today, she wore simple leggings under a simple navy dress layered with a grey cardigan. Her hair was down, held back on one side with an inconspicuous clip. It would be tea today, likely a hot earl grey tea latte.

His theory was unique, though he felt it made a lot of sense. Sara, he thought, made her beverage choice based on how she had slept the night before. More specifically, he thought it was based on how she dreamed. Oliver was no psychoanalyst, he was a barista. A barista who, as his friends would say, took his drink making sometimes too seriously. But it all made made perfect sense to him. People needed some way of making beverage choices in the morning, whether it was preference or dietary restrictions. If you had neither, it would simply be mood. What better to shape you mood in the morning than your sleep?

So he never shared his dream theory, but he always got it right. He began to watch her in the mornings, taking mental notes. A poor nights sleep, either due to anxiety induced negative dreaming would mean she would order the blonde roast coffee, one of their stronger everyday brews. Oliver could tell because she would be more dressed up, her hair would be done, and she her visual focus would be on her phone. A particularly bizarre dream would mean some form a frappe, a good dream would translate into green tea.

Today, she looked…happy. Her eyes wandered around the coffee shop as if seeing it for the first time, her hands clasped behind her somewhat joyfully, and she had the look of a person who had begun her day recalling pleasant memories.

He wondered what she had dreamed about.

Oliver realized that what he was doing was no different from his coworkers. In the end they were all guessing and judging based on appearances. But he still felt he was different. A little voice in his head would tell him that was because he felt differently toward her. Oliver told that voice he was simply being a really good barista. Good barista that he was, he was not surprised when he picked up the next cup in line, and saw, “Earl Grey Latte” written on the side. He looked up and met her eyes. She smiled back at him, “Could you make it more on the dry side?”

He smiled back, “No problem.” She giggled as she moved along in the line to stand with the half dozen others waiting for their drinks.

He wondered if she had dreamed of vacation on the mediterranean, or if she had dreamed of perfectly moist cake at an afternoon tea party. He wondered if she dreamed of flying, and if so, if she gave herself wings in the dream or if she just sort of floated. He wondered if she dreamt of real places or crafted her own. He wondered if she dreamed of old love—

“Earl grey latte for Sara!” Oliver set her drink down at the bar. “Have a good day!”

Sara smiled at him as she left the coffee shop, waving as she went.

Most of all, he wondered if she dreamed of new love.


Skipped a couple because I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired with those prompts.

It seems pretty clear that I am not going to be doing 642 consecutive days of writing, though I have decided to keep the title of the series (or whatever this is) in order to give proper credit to the book by The San Francisco Writer’s Grotto.

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One Year Later: Let’s Commence Again

As many have become aware over the past few weeks, it is graduation season. Commencement speech after commencement speech have appeared in articles and newsfeeds and have been short linked on all sorts of social media. But I have never found much solace or inspiration from these speeches. Many sound repetitive, filled with the same sorts of hackneyed phrases and messages. Very few are even memorable, save for the ones delivered by the very celebrated. I barely even remember the one that was given at my own graduation, being far too occupied by the stifling heat and self-inflicted high-heeled discomfort.

Though the entire blame cannot be placed on the speaker or the occasion itself. How many graduating seniors look back and think about the knowledge and wisdom imparted to them on graduation day? More likely, alumni-to-be are more focused on texting their parents about where to stand to get a good picture of their walk, already jaded by the numerous ceremonies the week of graduation puts them through. Some might be excited by visions of what their adult life is going to look like, how much of a difference they’re going to make. Others are still in a state of disbelief that it’s over, or fear that they still don’t have things figured out.

The whole occasion is no conducive to receiving advice, no matter how well phrased or well intentioned. In some senses we are simply too young and too inexperienced to appreciate the gravity of the wisdom that is being passed down. In others, the accomplished speakers are too removed from the very specific experience of newfound adulthood in today’s society to give concrete enough advice to make a difference.

Perhaps these words coming from me hold no authority. I was not someone who ‘made the most’ of their college years whether making the most of it meant partying a lot, or stacking up professional experiences on your resume, or majoring in something that would actually get a job. I majored in Comparative Literature, one of three students to in my year. I halted any extra curricular activities my junior year of college. I spent my summers waiting tables and binging Netflix. I graduated from a good university wondering what I had done for four years and asking myself whether or not I had done college right.

Those are no longer the questions that plague me one year out. I have long put them past me as things I cannot change and would do better not to regret. Instead, one year of being in the big, scary, ‘real’ world have given me a whole new set of concerns and questions.

How do I deal with a future rife with uncertainty, uncertainty that instills in me such fear as to make me second guess every decision I make from choosing a career to what I have for lunch?

It is not such an unusual question for a young person to ask themselves, thought it demands a very personal answer. And though I might not have made money, or held a job in the past year, or did anything outwardly productive to society to give me any sort of authority to give advice, I did come a little bit closer to my answer.

My answer lies in the fact that I don’t think I failed enough as a child. I think childhood was too easy for me.

It’s not that I was spoiled, and got whatever I want (though I was a bit of a daddy’s girl), or that I didn’t challenge myself, but more that I never wanted something enough for the failure of obtaining it to matter. In fact, I can only remember two times in my short 23-year old life where I failed enough, hard enough for it to matter.

The first time was in sixth grade at dance tryouts. As the youngest of three sisters, all who danced, I thought I was a shoe-in for getting in to what was perceived as the ‘cool hip-hop’ dance, despite the fact that I was in sixth grade and at the very bottom of the dance totem pole. I picked up the choreography well, I even knew the choreographer somewhat. I had it. I was so sure. Sure enough and eager enough that on the day that audition results were posted, I arrived at 7:30 in the morning, 45 minutes before classes started to see and celebrate my success. But my name was not on there. Of the list of 15 or so names, “Emily Lin” was not one of them.

I remember standing in that hallway, between the locker rooms and the dance studios, staring blankly at the bulletin board first in disbelief, then in disappointment, then in shame. I remember reading and re-reading the list before the reality dawned on me and brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know what I did for 45 minutes after that before school actually started. I don’t remember if I had told anybody about it, but I remember that that was the day I discovered I was not a great dancer.

That experience in sixth grade would go on to inform what I did with dance all through middle school, high school, and even college. I was forever the decent dancer. One of the only two seniors in the junior varsity dance team because I was good, but not good enough. And the dancer that was in the front for performances, but always on the side, not the center. That day, in sixth grad is when I learned not to want dance too hard, else risk failure and welcoming those feelings of disappointment and shame again.

The second was in college. My freshman year was probably like many other peoples’ freshman years at a prestigious university. Used to being a big fish, used to being the smartest and most capable in the room, I vastly underestimated the college scene. That was made abundantly clear when, on the same day, two papers were returned to me bearing C marks. I am Asian. I had never gotten a C in my life.

Unlike with the first instance, I remember quite clearly what happened after the fact. I cried on some steps in a back alley on campus. I cried, and I thought myself a failure, and I seriously considered transferring schools. This is not a story people are unfamiliar with.

What I did next was go to the bookstore and buy a bunch of university merchandise which, in my mind, solidified my commitment to the university because, how embarrassing would it have to be to explain why I had so many t-shirts, shorts, and a blanket from a school I didn’t graduate from.

It was a wake up call for me. It told me that if I would have to try harder and take things more seriously than I did in high school if I was to succeed. But the thing is, I didn’t want to succeed for myself. Not that I didn’t want to do well in school, only that the thought of not doing well in school was never an option. Doing well in school merely represented the baseline of what was asked of me, not something that I wanted to do for myself.

So I did well in school. I graduated with honors and an award and a fancy diploma larger than the average size and written entirely in latin. I graduated and then the world asked me what I wanted out of life. For the past year, I have had no answer. Or perhaps, I had an answer but didn’t want to let myself want it enough.

Because wanting something is hard. Wanting something introduces the possibility that you won’t get it. And the more you want it, the more devastating it will be when/if it doesn’t happen. But wanting something, wanting something for yourself is a certainty that you can hold on to in the face of uncertain future.

Unlucky for me, I had so internalized the failure of sixth grade that I have kept the question of what I wanted at bay out of fear of failure. So I say I haven’t failed enough, not as a child, not as a young adult, and not as whatever it is you want to call me now at 23. I say I haven’t failed enough because I am scared, practically paralyzed by fear of uncertainty and of failure to actually pursue what it is that I know I want. I say I haven’t failed enough because it took me a full year of feeling like a failure to finally accept wanting something and all the possibilities it brings with it.

More lenient interpretations of my life post-grad will say that I am being too harsh on myself, that the first year out of college and in ‘adulthood’ is almost always a shit show of uncertainty and fear and learning how to “adult” for the first time. It would optimistically tell me that I still learned and grew a lot not only in this time but also throughout the journey besides those two times; it would tell me that I am now not just older but also wiser, etc etc.

I concede that, yes, the first year out of college does have a tendency of being a shit show. If anything that is one of the most important things to keep in mind as eager wide-eyed graduates step off campuses this summer. And that, yes, I have learned and grown despite not contributing anything. However, I still maintain that more failure earlier on in my life would have given me a better constitution for dealing with life and its demands. I want to think that it would have given me better self-assurance to tackle these questions without right answers.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself when I say that the thing that I would have wanted to hear, one year ago on my graduation day is not that I should be fearless, or that I should go ‘set the world on fire,’ persevere through struggle, or about how fortunate I was to have completed my studies. Rather it is this:

Want something, invite failure, and through doing so, make progress.

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Missed Team Effort Post: The Power of Institutions

I hated airports. For someone who hated them, I found myself in them almost on a monthly basis. Perhaps that is why I abhorred them so. Sitting in the coffee shop by the arrivals gate, I sipped my over-priced, poorly-made, coffee and stared unfocused at the people milling about, glaring at nothing in particular.

There were little family clusters in front of where I sat. Mixtures of friends and families anxiously waiting for loved ones, some gripping cheesy homemade signs, others craning their necks to see beyond the customs gate. And when they arrived, with smiles spreading wide on faces, arms wrapped warmly around each other, and greetings exchanged, I scowled. The happier they were the more I glared, recalling how I had been drawn into this situation.

It was always my mother who said it, and always in the same expectant tone, “Julian, remember to fetch your sister from the airport today, okay?” An innocuous statement, but filled with the weight of cultural expectations, stuffed with undertones of my rebellious childhood, and just a tinge of disappointment that I wasn’t a more filial son.

All of that at 9am and I hadn’t even had my morning coffee yet.

Annoyance, anger, and frustration, a toxic combination, began to boil up in me. Did she think I wouldn’t remember my own sister’s homecoming? Why was I given no chance to prove myself without her already assuming I would forget or not want to go? Admittedly, she was right. I didn’t want to go. The fact that she was right about me only made me angrier, though whether it was at myself or her I could not tell.

I bit back my retort, clenching my fists and reminded myself that I was a grown man no matter how my mother treated me otherwise. “Yes, Mom. I’ll go get her.”

This would be my role no matter how old I got. I was the son, and thus obligated to certain responsibilities. I had learned this a long time ago, that no amount of rebellion, of perfect GPAs, of clients served would ever change the fact that I was my mother’s son and duty bound to heed her words.

And it bothered me. It wasn’t just that it did not make sense to me why a trip to the airport was made by anyone not traveling themselves—seriously, why spend twice the amount of gas, three times the amount of time just so a single person can get from point A to point B? There are cabs for that. It wasn’t just that sometimes reason and logic did not apply—many things don’t. But it was the simple fact that she would ask, and I would do, and nothing else would make her quite as proud, nor myself quite as filial. Such was the nature of my culture. Thank you Confucius.

So, sullen and sulking, I immaturely drank my iced coffee, purposefully slouching in my seat. I had been there for 30 minutes, in addition to the hour long drive I took to get here. In my stubbornness, I had refused to bring a book, determined to make the whole experience as unproductive and awful as I felt and believed.

Really, picking up your sister from the airport should not inspire such negativity.

Mentally, I made a list of all of the more efficient and productive things I could be doing with my time. I could be reviewing some metrics for a team meeting on Thursday. I could be working on the new pitch for a big client we were going to present on Friday. I could be catching up on television, reading, relaxing, cleaning my apartment. I scoffed quietly to myself. Even cleaning my apartment was better than being here.

Glancing up at the announcement board, I see my sister’s flight has not only landed but had the baggage claim running already. I got up, ready to meet her at our designated pick up point. Exit customs and turn left.

She caught me by surprise.

“Julian!” she yelled, leaving her suitcase to trail behind her she hugged me. “Oh, it’s so good to see you!”

“Hiya, sis.” I gave a brief hug in return and even managed to crack a small smile. “Good flight?”

She laughed, immune to my negative energy and began telling me about the four different movies she saw while we walked to the car. “Thank you so much for picking me up, by the way,” she said and I looked up from where I was hauling her suitcase into the car. “I know you hate it.”

The suitcase safely installed in my trunk, I closed the lid and shrugged. “It’s what I got to do. Has to be done.” Pausing, I quirked a smile, “Besides, I’ve had enough time in the airport to brood about it.”


This was something I was supposed to post for the other blog with Jess, but was late due to physical illness and, what insurance companies would call, “major life events.” I didn’t want to leave it hanging while I started on the new Team Effort post, so here it is!

I’ll be back with Tiny Things too!

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642 Days of Writing Day 7: Kisses

Day 7: Describe your first kiss, most recent kiss, and next kiss

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In reality it was five seconds. In Mitchell’s mind, as he stood facing his future wife, about to lean down and place a kiss of promise on her lips, it felt like eternity.

He felt like he was eleven years old again, about to lean in for his first ever kiss on the lips. Those short six inches might as well have been seven thousand miles as he leaned in. Should he tilt his head to the right or left? How much should he pucker? How did anybody aim for the lips with their eyes closed? He remembered how it felt when his lips landed, awkwardly off center. Her lips were soft, and just a little slippery from the lip gloss she wore. Tentatively, he stuck his tongue out. She pulled away and he wish he hadn’t. They had stood staring at each other for the briefest of moments before looking sheepishly away. His hands were still on her waist. Experimentally, he lifted them, thinking he was letting her know she was free to go. Was he supposed to leave first or wait for her to make the first move? God, he still had to sit next to her in the classroom. How was he supposed to learn fractions when he had just kissed a girl today?

Mitchell flushed a little reliving his first kiss and briefly wondered what he was supposed to do after this particular very public kiss. If it were up to him, he would smooch Trisha to bits for agreeing to be his wife, but that would be inappropriate given everybody they knew and their mother were sitting just a few feet away. How awkward. He couldn’t kiss his wife the way he wanted, but he wasn’t going to skimp just because they had an audience. And what was he supposed to do once he was done giving his wife a passionate yet very appropriate kiss? Do they thank the priest first? Just go ahead an walk down the aisle? Mitchell decided that kissing to finalize the marriage was a dumb custom.

Trisha’s face was getting closer. That was when Mitchell realized he had forgotten to lift the veil. Trisha gave him a look from under, slightly annoyed but more amused. It was one of his favorite expressions, her mouth would frown, yet her eyes were playful and smiling. Mitchell winked at her as he lifted her veil. She smiled back at him and in that moment all nervous thoughts fled from his head.

This was the woman he was going to marry. The woman who kissed him on the cheek every morning before she left for work, The woman whom he kissed every night before bed. The woman who had pulled him aside before the wedding started, before they had to go get dressed, to kiss him in the handicapped bathroom, just cause she had always wanted to make out in a bathroom. This was the woman he loved.

And so Mitchell decided on the type of kiss he would give his wife on their wedding day. He would draw her close, one hand on her waist and the other just below her chin, just as she liked in all of her romantic comedies. He would touch his lips to hers firmly but briefly, to pull away slowly. He wanted to see the slow smile spread across her face as he pulled away. It was that particular smile he was after, the one of complete and simple contentment. He decided he could smooch her to bits another day.

After all, he would be kissing this woman for a long long time.

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642 Days of Writing Day 5/6: Exile

Day 5: You accidentally hit Reply-All and everybody received an uncensored rant about your boss. Write the follow-up Reply All.

Day 6: Where would you choose to be exiled, what essential three items would you bring with you?

Too much time is spent thinking, deliberating, pondering, and not enough time spent doing. This was the mindset that catalyzed everything. The day I quit my job, the day I left the country to avoid the lawsuit that inevitably came for me, the day I went into exile—it all began with this idea to stop thinking and just do.

That day, I gave myself 20 minutes. 20 minutes to throw together a bag of things from my employed life, from my comfy 800 square foot studio life that I would take with me into my self-imposed exile. I don’t really remember those 20 minutes, only that I was so full of frustration and anxiety as I walked around the apartment with an empty duffel bag.

It was an odd feeling. One side of me, fueled by the adrenalin of reckless decision making was ecstatic. It was jumping for joy that I had finally done something. The other side was less enthused. Angry, anxious, and worried, it matched every jump for joy with the heavy mallet of reason and responsibility. To its credit, it could not be argued otherwise that my situation was not brought on by my own actions. Yes, it was my fault for sending a personal email through a work email account. Yes, it was my fault for accidentally hitting reply all. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the fact that I was secretly helping certain clients manipulate the system to the company’s disadvantage while also chewing out my superiors. And yes, I probably shouldn’t have sounded so damn proud of it. But I was.

After giving 8 years to this company, seeing how it works, seeing it fools people, especially those less fortunate, I had had enough. I’m not trying to paint myself as a Robin Hood. I was not some crusader with some higher cause. Honestly, I did it partly because it was fun to fuck over the company I was working for. It was fun to see how upper management got so flustered when clients, especially those low on the totem pole, came to them with inside knowledge and used their own systems against them. I got a real kick out of it.

So let’s get that straight, I’m not some sort of hero or something. I did what I did, like all things I do, out of personal interest.

Most of my things I left in the apartment, the landlord should be happy about that. Now he can put it on the market as fully furnished and charge twice what he was charging me. Go him. My duffel contained just enough clothes to last me a week, some toiletries, other miscellaneous electronics, passport, wallet, and of course my essential three: laptop, atlas, and notebooks. These three items would get me through any day. After some consideration, I also slipped in the picture of my first win.

Yes, it was sentimental. So sue me, I have feelings. But that was the first time I felt like I had taken on the world and won. Never mind that I was only in third grade, and never mind that it was just a spelling bee. I had won when no one had really believed I would. That was the day I stood up to the world and introduced myself. “Watch out for me!” I promised the world.

The day I left my life behind in Chicago is the day I revisited that promise. I was done being stuck in an office building, I was done with the emails and the phone calls and the deals. They were all so meaningless to me.

I arrived at ORD equipped with my life savings, and the first world atlas I had ever owned. I nervously thumbed the worn pages of the atlas as I looked up at ever changing board of flights. I told myself I was ready for adventure, eager for it even, and steeled my resolve. I was ready for the unknown and the unconventional. And though I might have been ready, nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen. Looking back now, you could say I was really, desperately asking for it.

Castor Lee
Inmate #4891
June 2025


Yes it has been over a week, that was because the prompt for day 5 was really giving me a hard time. Part of that hard time was the very notion of the prompt was horrifying to me but I didn’t want to write about a horrifying experience. I tried to think of what I could do to make it clever and funny, but I don’t really think I am either clever or funny so I sought to move on.

Day 6 helped to reposition my thinking a little bit with the result being this weird blend of both days 5 and 6. I began writing with just the idea of exile after the reply-all event and it turned into this self exile, prologue-sounding piece. I might try and experiment with Castor and his story a little bit more. I also love the name Castor. 🙂

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642 Days of Writing Day 4: Family

Day 4: Think about your weirdest family member and write one short scene that depicts why he or she is such an oddball.

Warning: the following post is not fiction. It is a cheesy personal reflection of the author’s thoughts.

The prompt asks me to write about a weird member of my family and to demonstrate how they are weird through a single scene. Couple things: a) like a scene could be enough and b) I don’t have a weird member of my family.

Now, statistically speaking, considering thing ‘b,’ it could very well be that I am in fact the weird one in my family. But it seems awfully self centered to write a scene about myself. So I thought I would use this post instead to talk about family; about a yet mentioned thing ‘c.’

I don’t know much about my family.

Presumably, what the prompt was asking for was for me to think about that “crazy uncle” or “wacko grandparent” or “hippie cousin,” and not a member of my immediate family. The problem for me is that I don’t know enough about my distant family to be able to categorize them as ‘weird.’ They are virtual strangers to me.

My mother once told me on a long train ride south in Taiwan that I had 18 cousins. ’18,’ I thought, ‘wow, that’s a lot.’ Of those 18 cousins, I know the names of four—three and a half—oh wait, maybe four and a half. You get the picture. Because my family lived overseas, we did not have big family reunions. I did not grow up with my cousins, and my aunts never came over with gifts. What’s more, my family lived in an English speaking country, my sisters and I went to an American school. The few times we did meet up with other family members, I was unable to communicate with them, language and culture barriers looming high between us.

It makes me sad and a little envious of those who have had their distant family close. It makes me nostalgic for the big families, or as they say in Chinese “三代同堂,” three generations under one roof of my parents’ past.

But it also makes me realize what different shapes and forms family can come in.

As an expat kid growing up in Singapore, my family consisted of the handful Taiwanese families who got together for every holiday to eat far too much food. It was the Jang’s, and the Ngo’s, and the Tsao’s, and the Tsai’s, and the other Lins. The list could go on.

Because we were not blood related, most would describe us as a community, not a family. So I want leave you with something to think about: Is one of the requirements to being family not being able to choose it? And thus why there are weird family member tropes?

Let your brain munch on that.


P.S. So I realize I might have been a little ambitious trying to post something everyday. We’ll call this a Tuesday/Thursday thing I think…

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642 Days of Writing: Day 3-Broken Things

When Sylvia, at age 12, dubbed herself a great breaker of things, it was after she had broken her third glass in one week. This went beyond mere clumsiness, she thought, this was truly a gift, a skill. So she called herself a rebel, a counter-culture anti-establishment revolutionary and adopted it into her personality.

At age 16, she broke her first bone. It was coincidentally at the same time she broke her first school rule. In accordance to her counter-culture creed, Sylvia decided it was ‘cool,’ and her friends decided it was ‘cool’ to skip the school pep rally. En route to escaping an hour and a half of half hearted cheering and mediocre band playing, while they were skipping some of the wide steps on campus, Sylvia had landed poorly, fell, and broke her leg. Sylvia told her self it was broken in the name of skipping a school sponsored event, so still fell into the realm of rebellion.

Her college boyfriend, Brayden, broke her heart at age 21, and Sylvia learned for the first time that other people could also be great breakers of things. She had spent the next few months broken herself, and spent some time trying to put herself back together. Her roommate would sometimes find her sleeping on the floor, claiming that she was undeserving of her bed, of the luxuries of her life, that she was worthless. It was not an easy process, piecing herself back together again, and for a short while Sylvia told herself she would never break anything again.

But man she was good at it. By the time Sylvia was 27 she had broken no less than 13 state laws of Pennsylvania. Some were minor and ridiculous, and Sylvia broke them to prove that point. She refused the purchase a business privilege license for her blog, sang loudly in her bathtub, and even emptied her fridge to sleep on it outdoors. When she was 24 she tried to find 16 women to live together in a house. She was unsuccessful not only because she could not find 15 other women willing to break the law, but also because she couldn’t find 15 other women who wanted to live with women. Happily she broke these laws, and considered her infringements small works of social justice, fun ways to bring attention to the flaws in the system. Others, drug use, violence, and petty theft were less innocuous.

When Sylvia was 34, she had long since left her breaking days behind, or so she thought. She had met and married a stable, nice guy who had persuaded her to pursue per painting and craft through institutional (read: money making) means. However conventional he was, she forgave him because he so inspired her and her work. He fixed her, completing something in her that was perhaps broken for a long time. Together they had a daughter, a bouncing, bright-eyed six year old girl named Emily.

At the moment, Emily was neither bouncing nor bright-eyed. She looked sadly up at her mother, “Mommy, you promised.” Sylvia’s heart filled with stone. In her daughter’s small blue orbs, she saw reflected a lifetime of disappointment and brokenness in those three little words.

Sylvia was, after all, a great breaker of things.


The prompt was to write about a time when I had broken a bone, law, promise, or/and heart. But since I have never broken a bone, I decided to try and find a way to put the four together.

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