Break the Routine or Break Yourself

Andria Kennedy
5 min readDec 8, 2021
Broken Lego Body
Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

My phone buzzed for the sixth time, and I felt my palms start sweating. I glanced down at the accusing green light of the message indicator, the gradually-fading icon knotting my stomach. My fingers shook on my keyboard, and I deleted a mistyped word.

The phone buzzed twice in rapid succession, and my jaw clenched.

You’re not supposed to do that, remember? You have TMJ.

I hated that sweet voice of reason; she popped up when I least wanted to hear from her. I eased the pressure on my back teeth, visualizing the trauma of my root canal (and the attached bill). Forcing my attention to the screen in front of me, I reread the half-formed sentence and tried to regain my train of thought. The stack of charts with notes that still needed typing rivaled my monitor in height, and my official clock-out time was an hour in the rearview mirror.

The phone buzzed again.

I pushed my head into my hands. Just turn the phone off.

I COULD turn off the phone, pretend the buzzing didn’t exist, but it would only delay the inevitable. That many messages meant one thing: tonight, someone wanted a shift covered. So regardless of when I deigned to acknowledge the phone’s presence, a response would be required.



Andria Kennedy

Freelance science writer, meanderer of thoughts, and complete animal nut. A tiny demon governs my life (she may be a flerken — we’re still running tests).