Custom-written for our current theme FULL OF DESIRE, Czech author Zuzana Trachtová presents a string of associative vignettes offering a glimpse into a heart-rending and organic trudge through a body and mind ravaged by heartbreak. Accompanied by illustrations by Eva Maceková. HE'S A DRUG, I'M A WITCH

He’s a drug. I’m a witch. 

The power of love, the weakness of self-love. I’m an addict, and the more toxic we get together, the more fatal it seems. Short breath, slow torture, fragmented sleep, poor impulse control. At last, the pain of heartbreak is being studied by scientists. The findings are shocking as well as poetic. Scans of a broken human brain show the same areas affected as those of someone who’s been burned. Heartbreak imprints itself dramatically on our bodies.

The most painful melodrama.

“At night, my subconscious compensated with pleasant dreams, when I started to wake up from them, it hit like a motherfucker. A clenched heart. Terrible physical pain in my chest,” Chloe tells me. Heartbreak is not simply a metaphor. It is not small, it is not ordinary. Scientists confirm that heartbreak is something clinically awful and we’re used to relegating it to melodrama. It is one of life’s most painful experiences that devastates both our mental and physical health.


“It’s like having a dog sunk its teeth into my chest, that’s how I kept imagining the pain,” says Barbara. Desire is attraction, and estrogen and testosterone are to blame. Dopamine is cocaine and my body can’t do without it. The poetics of the pain of a flaccid heart valve. Unrequited love can cause serious brain disorders, according to scientists. The body can’t use the essential hormones properly, symptoms set in, like trying to kick a real addiction.


The end of a toxic relationship in the hype of the hormone Olympics. Agony. Torture. Buried ego. Physical pain. Disorienting sadness. Humiliation. Danger. Anxiety. Blurred emotions. Desire for someone is a biochemical intoxication of the body.

I’m an addict. I want you more than I want me.

“The embodiment of impermanence and toxicity. It reflects the hatred I have for myself,” Ela tells me. I want someone I can’t have, probably shouldn’t have. I devise strategies to survive, and I feel similar pain and longing to people on drugs. I really felt the moment when my heart broke. The heart valve stops working properly. Our cells feel lonely. Our body never forgets how a person made our nervous system feel.

Sleep is liberation.

Like heroin. “A moment when he writes to me and for a moment a terrible relief. I’ve had my dose. Then the pain is all the greater. You do it over and over again, you can’t help it,” says Chloe. I want to see him, for one night. To erase months of work, suffering. For one night with him. A night like Novocaine. To confirm my weakness, my stupidity. “It’ll numb the pain for a while, it won’t cure anything. I stand still or recede,” Zoe mocks herself.


Everything tenses, my chest chokes, my legs twitch restlessly, my hands shake, my head tight. Tunnel vision. I drop down for a couple of painkillers. A faulty deal. I have to suffer a little more, a little longer. I don’t want to stop because that would mean we didn’t love each other enough.

Killer queen.

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Zuzana Trachtová graduated from anthropology and Romani studies. In previous years, she focused predominantly on Roma-related issues and social topics, and subsequently started directing her attention towards the areas of culture and arts. Currently, Zuzana pens up articles about the topics of masturbation, intimacy and sexuality also for the recently emerged, feminism-oriented Czech magazine Heroine and Czech psychology periodical Moje psychologie. At the same time, Zuzana has been developing her own project called Naked (IG: naked_cz) that is built, in essence, on opening sensitive and taboo topics surrounding sexuality and masturbation, and on motivating people to cross their boundaries and adventurously discover their bodies.


Eva Maceková (*1984, Martin, Slovakia) graduated from the Studio of Illustration and Graphic Design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. At the moment, she lives and creates in Prague, and her work is characterized by a variety of techniques: she works in painting, illustration, printmaking and handmade textiles – she often uses knitted fabrics in her spatial installations and objects. Her spontaneous signature style is distinguishable by a strongly sombre draughtsmanship and colour palette. She has exhibited her work at Karpuchina Gallery, DOX, City Surfer Office, Ville Pellé, Etc. Gallery, Trafo Gallery and Halle Saint Pierre in Paris. In 2018, she was nominated for the Czech Grand Design Awards in the Illustrator of the Year category.


Text / Zuzana Trachtová @zuzanatrachtova

Illustration / Eva Maceková @evamacekova

Translation / Františka Blažková @st.feral

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