• • •

St. Jude's All-Girls Boarding School had been my home for three years. You'd think that after enduring in an institute that's raison d'être was to meticulously fabricate insentient yet breathing girls, I would have succumbed to their teachings.

I was always a bit reckless though, breaking rules just for the heck of it. People always spoke of how I was addicted to the galvanizing thrill of the liquid electricity fizzing in my veins. That I sought it more than the compulsive chemicals that brought me ethereal peace and profound woe.

But what they never spoke about was the relentless dependency I felt towards you. If they'd known, perhaps they would have stopped me. Perhaps they would have saved me. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

The possibilities of what could have been are infinite, and I think about them way too much.

But overthinking has always been a problem for me. A form of torment, I unwillingly choose to inflict upon myself.

During our time together, I constantly wondered if I was different from the girls you'd known before. If I was better. I wanted to mean something to you without making you mean something to me.

Oh, how foolish I had been to overestimate my capability to not fall in love.

From the corruptible age of fourteen, I had been reared to become a sovereign article. To be admired, but not touched. To smile with as much acidity as I could muster and leave a trail of broken hearts in my wake. I was created to be a beautiful, fallacious thing who could not become another's possession, nor possess a choice of her own.

I was nothing. The longer I spent time with you, the more I became aware of my lack of identity. I was living a lie, a notion of what someone else wanted me to be.

And even then I wasn't good enough. I could never be as callous or as indifferent as the other girls; that was my biggest weakness, and I'm still paying the price for it.

I knew. I fucking knew about the boy's school just across from ours. I knew about the golden rule, the five golden boys. I knew about you. But in the end that didn't matter, did it? I still followed my racing pulse and fanciful longing to an inevitable, yet unforeseeable destiny.

Avery always used to tell me about you a lot. You five boys who reigned over the Royal Imperial Boys Boarding School, and had the potential to enchant the entire world with your crooked crowns of hushed lies and your curled lips, carrying vindictive smiles.

But I doubted you guys could do it. Not because you were incompetent, but because you were broken. Well, four of you were anyway.

Whenever Avery and I watched you five sitting on the wall behind your school, cigarettes dangling from parted lips, each time, she delivered the same statement: Aren't they the most perfect things you've ever seen?

And I'd tell her: They're attractive. Not perfect.

But she had an invariable response for that as well: Oh, but they're the golden boys, darling. They can't go wrong.

Oh, how wrong she had been. I can't possibly blame all of you for what happened but that doesn't mean I can forgive your cowardice either.

It was probably my fault from the beginning, though. I got myself in too deep, and I'm the only person I can hold accountable for that. I always felt too much whenever I looked into your eyes. I always read too much into every little gesture. I was trapped, ensnared in a fantasy of perfect girls and perfect boys, living in an imperfect world with their imperfect minds.

Maybe that's why life became too much for me.

But if it hadn't, your façade may have never cracked and you might not have let go of your golden rule, and freed your friends in the process, who were so precariously hanging onto life, on the very verge of the abyss from which there was no return.

I don't know who to blame for everything that has happened to date you. Maybe my parents, maybe myself, maybe you.

But despite all that, here's what I do know: that I will piece myself back together, bit by bit, and this time, I might just do it alone.

The one and only, Alaska Finton.