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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