“Running Barefoot” – Nayana Nair

.

He was somewhere upstairs
running barefoot on the dusty floors
of the broken house.
I could hear him
even when I stood waiting in the backyard
staring at all the rusty memories,
feeling the stare of people who will never leave this place,
who may never leave me again
now that I fear them for never actually dying.
I tried not to love him
as I stood alone waiting for him to get bored of all this.

I was too afraid to be with him
when he was like that.
when he read aloud poems
about death out of the blue,
and read them as if they were the only true declaration
he could make to the world,
the only true word that he could say to his life.
I would only later find out
that they were written by someone else –
someone who lived in a difficult to pronounce country.
He loved things like that –
taking up the clothes of emotions of others
and wrapping himself up in them
as he walked into all the unknown lives
that oddly had a room reserved just for him.

And always, I would be outside
waiting for the sun to set, for his heart to ease,
to be there when he decides to come back to reality for good.
I didn’t realize that footsteps had ceased long ago,
and so had his breath.
So I stood there letting my heart run barefoot
on the floor of delusion, in the world where he exists.
I waited for my love to give up on him.
I was afraid of being me
when my love stop, won’t look back at me.

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