The Straw That Breaks



Scene Title The Straw That Breaks
Synopsis Emily Epstein reaches her limit.
Date February 12, 2020

Laudani-Epstein Townhome, Sheepshead Bay


Kettle is sitting at Emily's feet, waiting patiently for his turn while she opens the overhead cabinet. For him, it's just another morning.

For Emily, it's the moment she finally falls apart.

Opening the cabinet is as far as she gets in her usual routine before the invisible straw of just one more act of normalcy shatters what little was left of her ability to continue go on pretending everything is fine. She stands there staring at the bowls and plates, sagging under a weight that's suddenly become too much to bear.

Mrow, Kettle cries again, making sure she's not forgotten what she's doing.

She both has and hasn't, her arm made of lead, hand shaking while it holds the cabinet open. A rush of breath occurs all too late as Emily realizes the moment isn't passing, trying to engage some kind of damage control on it. Deep breaths, she tells herself, but they too release the knot of perpetual tension that's been the only thing holding her together. In this moment, she doesn't have her phone, she doesn't have anyone else— there's nothing to distract her from it.

It. That hollow heaviness, the dull knife lodged between her ribs, pulsing with each beat of her heart. Every thought, every reality she's tried to bear through, tried to float atop like oil on water rather than sink into it. The weight of it is crushing, working its way toward becoming all-encompassing the longer she stands there.


Emily catches the first sob as it tries to come from her, her fingers closing into a fist that falls to the counter as she fights to keep it down, keep it all in. Tears fill her eyes, and as she blinks, she catches sight of the tattoo on the inside of her left arm. The ache in her swells.

In her cami and pajama pants, she sinks to the tile of the kitchen floor, clutching her arm to herself while she leans back into the counter. Her head bows to her chest while tears streak down her face, lungs straining to remember to take in air while she expends what little of it she respires into wracking, quiet sobs. She loses track of what time it is, where she needs to be, what she needs to be doing. She can't even remember immediately if she'd been getting ready for class or work, that detail only barely previously known to her in the fog that had been shrouding her for weeks.

Her tears are like streaks on that fogged surface of self, cutting clarity into her being where there had only been a haze of shock and denial and false hope.

She's gone. She's gone.

"No," Emily sobs, at once pleading and grieving. "Please, no."

Don't fall apart. Don't be gone. Don't…


Her legs curl to her chest and her forehead finds a resting place on her knees. Kettle lifts a paw to pad at her thigh gently.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License