He looked at me like I was car he wanted to steal, to take his time to break through the security systems and drive me off to an undisclosed location. He told me he loved me too soon – like a crow bar slipped between metal plates, he was deaf to the alarm that was blaring in my ears warning me of his far from noble intentions. He didn’t know that to love was not to possess another but to liberate them; and he was woefully unprepared for the cacophony of my freedom. When he told me I was everything he was looking for I know he believed it, but in truth I was that, and too much more. The more that would be sliced, chopped and squashed into the mould he’d pre-prepared for ‘his woman’. Confused by my refusal to wear the dresses and lipstick he had chosen, he grew increasingly distraught as it dawned on him that I was correct when I told him he had never met a woman like me in his life, but it wasn’t in the way he had hoped. I’m sure other women had confirmed that his current approach would get him what he wanted; to own and use and eat his fill. But today he learned new lessons.
I am glad he asked me if I would ‘get my body back’ after giving birth to our hypothetical children, because it was then I realized that he would always ask for more no matter how much I gave. This unintended confession alerted me to the knowledge that to build a life with him would equal a slow suffocation allotted to those who love generously, partners who are fluent in love of self but ill-prepared for the sacrificial love of another. Being a man of significant means, he was wrongly (and sadly) convinced that the status it afforded him warranted my trust and commitment. He did not seem to recognize that having money in the bank did not make him a good catch when the bill for his affection was a price no woman should afford and I would refuse to pay. When what he wanted was to exchange my soul’s joy and life’s purpose for his luxury homewares and designer clothes – I decided to keep hold of my laughter and buy my own. He told me once that men from his culture never cooked, I said that was strange and asked if they were known to eat. When he notified me that in fact he hired a chef to cook his meals for the week I was intrigued. He continued to explain that he was too busy to cook but when he got married his wife would handle it all. I heard the word ‘would’ as he held my gaze and the tension began to climb up my spine. By his eye contact I knew that he was giving a command that he hoped would sit like a seed in my mind, to produce the fruit he would later consume with great delight. As he stared at me, I tried to remember the last time someone had given me an instruction the way he had done, with the subtly of a glare. I knew in my own mind, that to allow myself to be tied to this man, but be to infantilise myself, giving the freedom of my maturity over in exchange for a second childhood. I never saw him again.