Nothing Ever Breaks Except The Heart by Kay Boyle, 1941
The magic trick:
A perfect title
In all honesty, you really don’t need to read this story. It’s all there in the title. What a beautiful turn of phrase. I love it. Nothing ever breaks except the heart. People can withstand a lot. They can take on stress and responsibility and keep on fighting through the strain. But it’s the emotional side of life, the heartbreak, that will stop you in your tracks. Conversely, life and all that stress and heartache sometimes doesn’t seem to ever break in a positive direction. The stress never breaks; it is the hopes and dreams and loves of people that are forced to compromise.
All of that conveyed in a six-word title! And that’s quite a trick on Boyle’s part.
Mr. Concachina was native, and his head was bald, and his mind was going. “I’m just now speaking four different languages at the same time to five different parties, Mr. McCloskey,” he said, and there was sweat on his forehead. “I tell you, I can’t do it much longer. I’m at the breaking point.”
“You’ve been saying that for a year and a half,” said Mr. McCloskey. He was looking among the other papers for the typewritten list of names. “But nothing ever breaks,” and he held the list in one hand while he said “Hello there” into one of the three telephones.