It was supposed to be sweet, and in a sense it was sweet. She smiled instantly at the thought, but that quickly faded into a bittersweet resentment. The conversation went something like this:
Her: “One year ’til I graduate and then three more years of graduate school… ugh.”
Him: “But then you can hang out with me as much as you want!”
Her: “Yeah provided you don’t leave me before then.”
Him: “Why would I leave you?”
Her: “School, job, women, travel, opportunity, life? Anything could happen in four years.”
Him: “Nah, I gotta keep you.”
Her: “People aren’t meant to be kept”
Him: “You are.”
She didn’t know how to respond. She knew he was only meaning to be kind—to subtly demonstrate his love, a tenderness that she had sensed growing within him for some time now—but everything just felt wrong. Something inside her wanted to scream at him, “No! No, I am not one to be kept!” Because she wasn’t like everyone else, everyone who spent life aimlessly looking for another to belong to. She didn’t want to belong to anyone, she wasn’t anyone’s missing piece, she was a whole piece of her own, complete within herself. Why could no one see this? Why did everyone look at her as if she was just another mindless, love-seeking babe; someone who’s thoughts ran ’round the clock constantly pondering when she would find the man of her dreams and marry? As if marriage is all there was to life, as if spouse was the only title worth carrying! It’s absurd! There’s so much more to life, she thought, so much more to me!
But perhaps what infuriated her more was the fact that she thought that he could have been right for her. She thought that he understood her spirit; that he would be the one to run wildly beside her, rather than try to pin her down. But it turns out he was like everyone else; just another face of society trying to tell her that she can’t be free, another authority screaming “Integrate!”She knew his kind very well; the ones who lure you back into the cage, promising to leave with you, but then lunging to lock the door while you let your guard down. Well I won’t be trapped by any of society’s norms, she decided.
And so she finally responded,”I am not one to be caught or kept, and I cannot ever be expected to stay or return on command; that isn’t me and it never will be. And I will never apologize for this fact, I hope you understand.” Then, true to word, she left and she did not intend to return.