Largely, my sisters and I dismissed the authority of the
babysitter. She was a playmate. She brought us treats. We styled her hair and
demanded that she style ours as well. Finally,
at the appointed hour, she gave us piggyback rides to bed and tucked us in and
brought us water and let us go to the bathroom one final time. Wearily, she clicked off the lights and left
A few moments later, we sneaked out of bed and tiptoed back
into the family room where we found her eating popsicles and watching TV.
Teasing each other was my sisters’ and my favorite
occupation. Three girls—not Irish twins,
but rather Irish triplets—whirled
into the family room and then down the stairs into the basement, chasing each other
around the ping pong table, zipping past the wine rack and then back up the stairs
and into the kitchen. I paused to grab a
wooden spoon from one of the drawers.
“Please, guys, just go to bed.”
We ran into the dining room and down the hallway towards the
bedrooms. We ran into my sister’s room, dashed
around the bed, past the little blue table with matching chairs, then back out
and down the hall. We ran into the
living room—a room carpeted in dark green, largely unused unless company was
staying on the pullout couch.
I had my sister in my sights. I drew back the wooden spoon. I smashed it against her backside.
The wooden spoon cracked in two.
All action ceased.
Our eyes widened as we stared at each other.
The merriment ended.
This was dangerous.
This was serious.
This was bad.
I hid the wooden spoon in the coat closet of the living
room; a closet carpeted in dark green and containing the leaves from the dining
room table, my mother’s raincoat, and a leather bag holding my father’s
We headed off to bed.
The party was over.
Apparently, the bedraggled babysitter pronounced our
And as far as I know, my parents never discovered the broken
wooden spoon hidden in the closet; my mother never noticed its absence.
A few years later, we moved to our new home.
And perhaps the broken wooden spoon is still there—thirty-five
years later, hidden away at the back of the coat closet, sitting on a carpet of
* * *
This post was written in response to this week's Write on Edge prompt: One person’s Humpty Dumpty is another person’s omelet. In 400 words or less,
write about a time when something was irrecoverably broken and the ensuing
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Write on Edge