An Honest Refusal
If there ever was a moment where I thought I loved you, it always passed in the following seconds. A fleeting feeling that never truly lived up to the hype. No, I never really loved you, I guess. Perhaps, I just loved the idea of loving you, but the act of it was more than I could handle. The overwhelming fluster of emotions was just too much to bear. So I always made sure to squash the feeling as soon as I felt it swelling up inside of me.
I have seen what love could do to the strong minded, turning them into feeble weak beings talking nonsense with a strange glow in their eyes. To me those people were to be made fun of, not to be followed as if they were a good example of how life should be lived.
So when I saw you standing there for the first time, in your black pants and olive green sports jacket, and my heart fluttered inside of me I knew that you would be the one able to turn me into a blubbering fool. And I just could not have that on my hands. Even if your smile made my heart feel as if it were about to melt or if my knees began to tremble or a warm sensation would spread across my face, darkening my cheeks, no, I would not let you into my life. Not completely anyway.
I wanted you near enough to observe and on the occasion to pay attention to the needs of my vanity. Though I enjoyed all of our conversations and those enjoyable walks we shared on those cool spring afternoons, I always reminded myself that you were not the man I could end up with. To make things clear, it has nothing to do with a difference in social standings for as far as I know we are the same. You are as much the gentleman as my grandfather is. It is a little more complicated than that. I knew I could not be with you because of the effect you had on my complexion. I cannot always be blushing around you. It is the greatest annoyance of my life.
Strange, is it? That I should want so much to be on my own, free to do and go as I please? I cannot have a man and my freedom, especially if that man was so much able to catch my fancy as you are. My opinion and feelings on this matter are indeed different.
There is always a price to be paid for being a woman. Everyone believes you to be a hopeless romantic, fawning over handsome men who are kind enough to smile their way or say sweet things to them as they pass by. Where women learned to giggle and sheepishly turn their heads in a pleasing embarrassment, I laughed and walked away. No man was ever able to fool me with his charmingly thought of words and phrases. It was not in my nature to just believe a man by his words. It is a man’s actions that count more than anything. Anyone can say pretty words about how they might feel, but not everyone can make the effort to show you how they do feel.
“A single flower?” I said one day to the Duke's son as he held out a daisy for me.
“Honestly, George,” I continued, “it is as if you do not even care to try.”
I am not a materialistic person, by all means, it was a lovely gesture, but the effort that he took to only pick one flower meant that he was only willing to give the minimum. Had it been a real bouquet of flowers of different colors and types I would have been impressed. I would have taken the bouquet in one hand and George’s hand in the other for a walk. But one flower is a weak attempt at breaking down the stonewall I have built around my heart. Poor George. He has yet to recover.
George is just one example where I have failed to fawn over a man that other women would have just been beside themselves if he looked their way. George is very sweet in many ways and very handsome, but he is lacking. His laziness as a lover is just not to be put up with.
That all being said, you might have a better understanding of where and how I stand. It is not that I am incapable of loving you. It is just that I have chosen not to.
Do not blame yourself for my decision. If there is anyone that should be blamed it would be my mother. After my father left us she was so vulnerable. Many a times I have seen her fall for a man whose silver tongue has whispered beautiful words in her longing ears and many a times I have seen her left dejected and alone. Several times a man would come around smiling and offering presents and every time my mother would fall into his arms like a needy child. That was always heartbreak enough for me.
Love was never my mother’s friend so I decided before I ever really knew what love was that I was never going to make it mine. No, I would not end up brokenhearted left to snivel by myself in the corner. I made a promise that I would be the one full of joy and laughter. Not the over-exuberant joy that some people have making them look like porcelain dolls, their expression of happiness plastered to their face. I would be filled with the joy that was just enough to make me seem pleasant, smiling only when necessary. The only broken hearts in my life would be the ones that I break.
Oh! You cannot curse me for keeping a promise. Promises are meant to be kept. It is life’s basic rule of humanity to keep promises. Especially the ones that you make to yourself. Those are, perhaps, the most important kinds of promises.
Yes, of course, one day I will get married but not because I am in love or even because I want to. I am not so stubborn or silly to know that a woman of my stature and social standings cannot afford not to marry. By all means, I am not poor and when my grandfather passes away I will certainly be far better off, but the family needs an heir. And with my mother being too old to provide, I am the only one left to do so. Ah, what a terrible amount of pressure to live with. A terrible burden that only us women share. The world of men could never fathom that feeling.
So, I do very heartily apologize for turning down your proposal. And I hope you can understand. I do think of you in the fondest of lights and I daresay you will make some other woman very happy one day. There is just too much danger of my being disappointed by you and as I have said before, that is just not something I care to deal with.