I remember you saying it, but I didn’t listen to you. I was caught up in your beauty, and your fragrance, and the sweet smell of your blood, that I never realised how I was killing myself, for you.
You said it so many times, “lions are meant for cages, to look at, exclaim, fantasize and walk away. You dare not let them walk around you, or move them into your house, I mean, they bite”
I paced around my cage in my private moments, thinking about what I could do to make this beautiful woman love me. Not the sort of love you told me you had, from the other side of my cage, but a love such as I had been scared to accept from anyone before. I refused to accept that I was just for your entertainment, for your squeals of delight, to show off to your friends and listen to their collective oohs and aahs.
My friends tried to warn me too, but who were they? What did they know about situations like this? A love so strong between a woman and a lion? “Its never ended well” they said. “She’s never going to truly love you. Love isn’t what lions do. Lions are mysterious, they’re different from everyone and that makes them entertaining. But they’re dangerous too, and she knows that. You don’t love them, because they’ll hurt you. She knows that. Everybody knows that.”
If that’s what it means, I don’t want to be a lion anymore.” I thought to myself. “I’m not good enough for her, this goddess. Ill work on myself. I can’t be a lion anymore. I don’t want to hurt the love of my life. I’d kill myself a hundred times before I let my primal insticts cause her pain”
So I got to work. I scrape-scrape-scraped at my mane. Rolled myself in the mud, made it wet, and scrape-scrape-scraped again. This mane, this symbol of my heritage, it sickened me. I couldn’t bear to look at it in the water anymore. I scrape-scrape-scraped it all off. What a sight I must have been to my friends. Trying so hard to change myself. I struck my paws against the stones until I bled, one by one I broke off all my claws. Howling from the pain, but with joy in my heart, for once my lover saw me, shed know I would never hurt her again..
I stopped eating meat, for all flesh reminded me of the potential harm I could accidentally cause you, if I didn’t get myself in check. I trained myself. Ate grass, fish, wood, if other animals can do it, why can’t I?
When I heard you were here again, my heart leapt. Finally! Finally my lover would see me and believe me. All the times we spent together, all the things you told me, all the good times, secrets we shared, finally you would see me and allow yourself to Love me the way I hoped you would. I’d made all these changes and I just wanted you to see how much I was willing to change for you, how much I loved you, somehow I felt that would be enough..
Its been months now, since your final rejection. and I’m healing, I guess I should thank you, for if I didn’t get my heart shattered into a million pieces, suffer from the pain of Love unrequited, I wouldn’t have learnt to appreciate myself for who and what I am. My shortcomings, My oddities, My Strength. I would never have understood the futility in trying to deny who I am, for now I know that true love can only work between two people who appreciate who they and their partners are.