I never cared much for an education. My eager eyes were always set higher. Blinded by affection, I slowly disregarded the placement of my heart until I had forgotten about it completely. I knew, if anything, that it was not buried within my chest. I had grown cold and weary of love for I had never felt it yet had repeated the words as though I had meant them, as though I had thought of them on my own. And so I continued, lover after lover, repeating the sacred and silent oath that had no purpose or reflection invested within it. Perhaps I was too afraid to admit that I could not love or perhaps I was too unfeeling and had lost all capability of living a life complete of love. I always considered myself an actress. I have always had a way with words. I could play with them, strangle them with their own makings. Marionettes they were, nothing but wood and strings.

I knew better than to let them steal me away and to place my heart in their pockets. My heart was not in his hands. It was only until a fortnight that I had realized My heart was always in the deserted air that he had left me with when he said goodbye silently, without words or embraces, and walked out the door forever. Each time, I transitioned effortlessly, finding someone new to fixate on until slowly, one by one, my fixations dwindled down to none. Always attached yet so distant, I lived my romances whole-heartedly until they died. Within each passing fixation, I recall being so sure of them. Like a former flame that never felt the heat, I sat silently, smoldering with my passion for the impossible.

But suddenly, my skin is warm to the touch and the smell of charcoal is rising, choking me, suffocating me within its fervent fury. His grasp over me is rough and forceful. I am losing my autonomy. What a fool I had been to think that I was at liberty to make my own choices and to live with no consequences? I have no choices. I have no freedom. I have been tied with my own strings. And the smile I had been wearing has been nothing but a painted replica. So much time has passed that I cannot look into a mirror and recognize my own face. Bits of me are missing. I am chipped and worthless.

Oh, he is the one I cannot resist. He is the demon I cannot face down. And if I was still breathing, if I was still breathing from so long ago I would have bitten my tongue.