Original publication date Feb 23, 2015
(This is still one of my favorites)
I once had a pet monkey. I loved him but he did not stay long.
He was just a baby when I found him. He was hurt and frightened. He’d been orphaned or perhaps abandoned. People believe that every mother has a biological drive to protect her child, but I can tell you this isn’t always so. So I took him as my own child. I nurtured him and taught him as best I could.
After some time, he began to run away. The first time, he was gone for a whole day. I looked for him everywhere! I called his name through the trees until my throat was sore. I was mad with grief and panic! I was sure I would never see him again. But then, the next morning, there he was in his favorite spot on the porch. He greeted me as always. I was so happy to see him, I forgave him for putting me through all that.
As he got older, he began to run away more often. Each time, he stayed away longer and longer. Each time, I was sure I’d seen the end of him but he always came back. For a long time, each time he ran away, I would cry and worry but after a while, however, he was gone more than he was with me. When he went away, I simply shrugged my shoulders and went about my days, without giving him much thought. I stopped looking for him.
He would return when he returned.
When he did, I let him inside, but I did not hold him close. I stopped feeding him. He didn’t need that from me anymore. I did nothing to keep him bound to me. I did not allow my emotions to be stirred. I knew he would be gone again soon.
Until a year passed and I realized he was gone for good.
Eventually I moved away from that place. If he ever returned, he did not find me. He could no more stay with me than I could have lived in the trees in the jungle.
I soon forgot the pain of loving that monkey but I remembered the lesson: no matter how much somebody loves you, if it suits them better to be elsewhere, they will leave. Sooner or later, everyone seeks to exist in the place where they are most comfortable; to live in their natural habitat.