I told you I would write you something someday about how the black crows study the world from my home province of Nova Scotia. How genuinely convinced I was that you would have some intellectual interest in this kind of thing — knowing you the way I thought I knew you, then, that is. But I was wrong. You were appropriate in your response to me. I suppose I can find my way to see this now. You ignored what I said all together.
I can only assume then, that in the face of all this, you really do believe it is your job to do something more extraordinary for me than to use your mind to find your way into the mind of the female subject that is me. Well, then. Very well, then.
Yes, you are my professor and my graduate advisor and that’s the role you signed-up for. That’s the role you intend to keep and memorize ’til death tears us apart. And yes, I suppose, I too will come in time to accept this as just another banal, un-negotiable detail in my everyday academic existence.
Still, I thought you should know that your stony silence brought a measure of sadness and suffering. For three days, I worked to make meaning of your unapologetic response. I worked at understanding only this much of it, that perhaps it was meant to emphasize something that needed emphasizing. In this regard then, I am glad we were able to come to some kind of mutual understanding about the role each of us is to play inside this academic arena.
Already, I understand this much Dr. Livingstone. You are a serious academic with a job to do, and I am an individual in training. It is not your job to know me. And it is not my job to know anything of the person that is inside you. Well, then, so it is. In time, I too, perhaps, shall write of the material world in long drawn out, endlessly exhausting phrases that make little to no sense to most of the world’s women (never mind the poorest of the poor). And you shall be among those who stand to applaud me when I no longer make sense to them or myself.
But enough of them. What of me, Dr. Livingstone?” In the meantime, what of me? In what small, dark corner are they bound to find me before I fossilize, flesh and bones shrivelled up from this petty, bourgeois treatment you deem my necessary education?
Will it be you to assign me a grade, any grade at all? For having the scruples to take my thesis proposal to the floor before I forget there are others who can’t even spell the word “thesis”? Or would you prefer that I perform such illicit acts in the privacy of my own home? Look at me, Dr. Livingstone. I am a fugitive on fire confined to the walls of this concrete tomb, hoping, in time, to fill my plate with my share of red meat in the name of education. Well, do you concede or do you not? Eat or be eaten. Is this not the nature of the beast of education today? Eat or be eaten?
If you knew anything about my female kind, you would know at least this: they will gossip of my drop-dead dramatics for the next ten years the minute that I succeed in making my escape from the confines of their boring, academic notions of what constitutes women’s motivations. Even as I lay shrivelled to the size of a small pathetic lizard in the corners of their academic rooms, they will hate that I was able to find my way out and through.
There’ll be a few tears of empathy. Even less heartfelt compassion expressed. They’ll come to my dead flesh with the eyes of their judgment. Only now, it will be hidden under the guise of their scientific inquiry! See them scorch my skin with the fire of their fierce scrutiny. “Why did she die in this manner? What kind of radical statement was she trying to make? Was she in need of therapeutic intervention? A self-proclaimed introvert? Let us get to the root of her now! Why in God’s name would she wear those pants and running shoes that colour to die in?”
Do you hear what they’ll be saying behind my back? Yet, they will be so wrong about me, Dr. Livingstone. I know that you have great patience for polite people who eat wholesome grains and savour the texture of milk pudding. I, on the other hand, don’t. I only have patience for those whose minds are on fire with the flame of an idea so wild and strong that even the winds of March must bow to the force of it. This is what I have patience for. Please don’t let the fugitive in me die, Dr. Livingstone. I beg this of you.