• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 12
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Third Heart

I am told I have three hearts.

The first one is tacky; cheap and new. I show it to strangers who see themselves in the untarnished surface. They wish for the perfection that stings their eyes.

The second is a little more worn, wrinkled at the edges like leather too many times buckled or a sole run smooth by gravel. The gold is giving way to bronze where lemon juice has rubbed the plating away. I show it to my soulmates. Only they can read the love letters scrolled over the curves with invisible ink.

The third heart I am told I keep to myself in a box with a keyhole but no hinges. It is battered and so rusted, the rust particles cut my hands. Crimson drops crystallize and scour away another layer of courage.

I am told only I can love this heart, only I can know it. Only I can unlock this heart, only I can restore it. I am told only I can polish this heart with audacious tears, but I gave up on crying when the last swan arched her neck and clothed herself in water.