I told myself no more would I afford

the privilege of giving away my 


I spent endless hours, dragging

HEAVING these colossal

wrought-iron chains around it.

Thrice around and wrapped in

a pretty, padlocked bow, 

reminiscent of a 

pre-pubescent diary, complete 

with its KEEP OUT 

warning sign.

I presented myself as an oxymoron.

I presented myself as a deterrent. 

I presented myself as semi-available.

On certain days,

I presented myself as desperate for 

a hand to come reaching through the chains, 

already blessed with the key, and

snap his capable fingers and the

weight would suddenly be lifted. 

I really did want that.

And I so completely did not want to want that.

One day, I cracked open my own lock and

left my pages to flit in the breeze.

The next, regretting the decision, I 

crafted an archer’s shield, took it

everywhere I went


that THAT would not happen again,

no way.

Every stolen glance, every vigorous kiss,

every text message, meeting palm and 

fleeting laugh, 

regardless of my perfunctory attempt to 

evade that frisson that appears in the 

pit of my stomach with every

lilted gaze, 

chiselled away at my pathetic shield, and I

became a defenceless pawn in 

the centre of love’s battlefield.

And I could’ve screamed.

I broke my own broken promise

and how curious that it has

since made me feel nothing short

of whole.

Art by Jennifer van der Merwe

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