A Heart Broken Once

Warning – this may be difficult for some to read.


I didn’t hear the phone land when it fell from my hand.  I didn’t hear my screams or the ones from the woman across the street from me.  I didn’t hear the thud.  I didn’t hear the squeal of the tires as the car tried to stop in time.  I didn’t hear the sound of the horn begging us to look up.  I didn’t hear him ask if he could run ahead.

I didn’t see the phone smash into a million pieces when it hit the ground.  I didn’t see the look of terror wash over my face or the same look on the woman across the street.  I didn’t see him get hit.  I didn’t see the car try to stop.  I didn’t see it approaching.  I didn’t see him run ahead.

I didn’t feel the phone slip from my fingers or the concrete slab of the sidewalk hit my knees as I fell.  I didn’t feel the rush of adrenaline that forced the wail from my lungs.  I didn’t feel his hands slip from mine as he began to run.

I felt my heart break into a million pieces that day. I heard the sound of it tearing and ripping and smashing like glass when I saw my boy’s lifeless body, bloodied by impact, listless and vacant.

I felt it break again when they told me he wouldn’t make it.

And again when he didn’t.

My heart broke that day and it continues to break every day when I pass his room or find a tiny sock or hear his favourite song on the radio.  It will never stop breaking because the scars left as the pieces begin to mend are fragile and delicate and vulnerable.  A heart broken once is a heart that will never fully heal.


After a brief interlude, I am once again participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. Each week I’ll be tackling a challenge issued by another writer participating in the exercise. This week, Cabocalla gave me this:

How many times can a heart break?

This was fiction.  When I write about difficult things involving children, I nearly always make them boys to distance myself from the stories as much as possible (I only have daughters).  I apologize if it was an emotional trigger for anyone.


36 thoughts on “A Heart Broken Once

  1. I think if I would have known it was fiction before I read it, I would have read it differently, if that makes sense. My heart did break, and then swelled with relief at the reveal of the prompt. Regardless, you had me on a rollarcoaster with your words–very well done.

    • It may have been cruel of me not to indicate that it was fiction at the beginning. But then, it’s only fiction to me. To many, many others it’s reality, so maybe the warning would have been unnecessary.

  2. What a very unique and beautiful way to tell a story. I am SO GLAD this is fiction. I was very relieved to read that. A testament to how well you conveyed your heart break of a story!

  3. Oh my goodness, I don’t know you or read you (until today) and wow, I could have sworn this was autobiographical…as the mom of twin boys who are now 3 and hate to hold hands and look as we cross, my heart broke too…and leapt into my mouth imagining how awful this would be.

    Your writing was amazing. WOW.

  4. Um, I’m not giving you any more writing prompts like that! :^) Well done, even though it pushed all kinds of soul crushing buttons. Ouch.



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