I still remember seeing the freshly seared skin on her forearm.

One of her scars is almost a perfect circle.

When I was old enough to realize what they were and how they got there, I cried and made her promise not to do it again.

I sat on the floor by her vanity as I watched her get ready, hearing her speak of whatever it was that was on her mind while occupying hers in return. This way, I was able to monitor the curling iron, ensuring its heat seduced the hair from her head and not the innocence of her peachy sun-kissed flesh.

I protected herself from her — like I had unknowingly done so many times before.

Shattered after discovering another burn mark that failed to remain discreet beneath her long-sleeve shirt.

But she promised!

The sting of my first betrayal pulsated my pre-teen heart.

Sometimes, I curse unconditional love.