“They go through my closet trying to find me and maybe themselves” – Nayana Nair

.

He stepped down from his ‘cloud nine of the day’
as I stepped out from my house made of last drops of rain
and at the intersection of fleeting memories
we fell in love.
That is what I tell my friends
when they ask me about the moment
I was tempted to end the sadness of my life.

I tell them about the words I borrowed from his lips,
his borrowed tongue that helped me eat a bit more.
How I taped his adjectives on my mirror
so that I wouldn’t have to look at myself.

They sit with me on the table
I can’t bear to share with my love.
They stare at me, as I ask them what to wear,
how to hide my poison, how to hide the crack at the elbow,
the bruised collarbone, the split lip,
the ache in my heels, my frayed wings,
my broken voice
and all other reminders of what love has done to me,
and what more love can do, if i just let it in again.

They tell me it is all healed.
They tell me it is all past.
They hold their skin against mine to make me see
that the cracks are all in my mind,
how everyone looks just like me,
how everything wrong with me is now the norm.
And they laughed
when I looked at them with concern.

They dropped me at the restaurant
and vanished at the farthest bend of the road.
As I dragged my feet towards another story
that I will never get to complete,
another tragedy that suited only me,
I looked back and tried to think of all the things
that these kind friends of mine suffered
as they hoped and wished and lied to themselves.
The exceptions they now considered normal,
the wounds they cannot even see,
the pain they cannot call pain,
the love they cannot bear to leave-
I tasted these facts
in every spoon of artificial sweetness
I fed to my mouth that evening.

“Any time now” – Nayana Nair

.

“Irrespective of what has happened, I know happiness.
I do not remember the sadness as vividly
as those sentimental singers do. I don’t know the pain
that lasts eternities. I know of a happiness that cannot be lost.”
This is what I say when I meet my past.
This is what I say when I step into the world
where the past doesn’t pass by like it should.

I say this
because I cannot say
I am afraid of
because once___________________________
and till now it haunts me.

When___________________________________,
I have to strain myself, I have to forget myself.
Before someone tells me “This is life. Get used to this.”,
before they tell me about “the worst that can happen”,
I have to get out of my body,
I have to hide my remaining self in the corners I won’t fit.

I have to force myself not to throw up
as ___________________________________
_______________________________________,
as I see from far away
my body smile at all that is wrong.

I smile on my walk to the main road, I smile on my ride back home.
I hum a little joyful song as I close the door,
the same damn song I have hidden behind all this time.
On my warm bed, I lie facing myself
waiting for the tears
that should have arrived by now.
I wait for the breaking to happen,
so that I can put myself back,
so that I can suck out this poison again.

But the tears, the breaking, the moment of honesty,
the crying without knowing why
doesn’t happen.
And I realize, I fear that now ______________
has become a part of me, a natural pain.
Now
there is no way I can claim the body of the one
I cannot recognize.

I look at ceiling and hold onto the tremor of this stranger’s heart
that should have been me.
In those restless heartbeats, there is hope, there is fear,
there is anger, there is a me that has to say meaningless words
like “a happiness that cannot be lost” to soothe this world,
so that it won’t take away anything more of me.

“That poem doesn’t exist in this world” – Nayana Nair

Outside my body, outside myself
I feel
I can be the the girl
who walks to a stranger, smiles and asks his name,
who keeps her name in her mouth,
and doesn’t throw it away
along with the chewing gum in the nearest trash can.

Would she hold his hand?
I think she would.
But even then
would she be reminded of the the poem she wrote in seventh grade
the ugliness of people dripping from their hands
at nights, holding my breath,
crushing my 27 teeth under an unwanted kiss,
promising to kill me next time
“.
Probably not.
That poem doesn’t exist in this world,
let’s keep reminding ourselves that.

So yes, she holds this stranger
a bit more closer than she would have deemed wise
if she saw it how I would
and she would make promises- the kind lovers makes
before they know what love is.
He will ask about her life
and she will have no sad story to tell.
So she would talk about the recent window shopping-
the things she can’t have and things she can’t get
and she will not be talking in metaphors for once.

For once the one she wants to love
wouldn’t be obsessed with the wounds on her skin
to love, to treasure, to poke, to mock, to dig down further,
to own and to burn.
He will probably say something sweet about her smile
or maybe something boring about his work
and she would smile a bit more in either case.
Because she can smile here, in this world, in front of him,
without having to think about what his each word might hide,
what she is over-looking, what will be the tiny details
that will come back to hurt her, what will be the undoing of her heart.
She will smile cause she won’t have learned to be hate people beforehand,
she wouldn’t have learned to love a bit too late.

She would tell him that he is lovely,
and the blush in his cheeks will make her heart skip
and she would love him for loving him
and not because she is looking for an easy fix to her faltering mind.

“Things I probably shouldn’t say” – Nayana Nair

I realized that I was too young to fall in love. That my heart was too broken to know how to run away from an embrace. And your embrace was hurtful and genuine – almost beautiful. I didn’t know then that one could be gentle and genuine. Or that there were words other than authenticity and truth and love that are worth living for.

I attributed my doubts, my sad feelings, my loneliness to my paranoia, to my wounds hidden under my beautiful lakes, to all the dark days before you. Even when I saw your lips suffocating mine, I could breathe in just fine if I kissed you back.

If I took your hands and kissed them, it would all be my choice, it would all be a sacrifice for my dearest love. Rather than humiliation, rather than helplessness, rather than the feelings of being locked in with you in this life.

Even as I write, I feel the sting of these words, I feel my fakeness, I feel how it must have wronged you – my gentle, my virtuous, my forgiving image. All the things I wanted to be for you and for me. All the things I never really was.

I foolishly believed that for being worthy of love I would have to first give up myself. I never wondered how you could love the me that left my body when I came to you. I never wondered who you were actually seeing in me, who you held in your arms. I wonder if you had seen my real feelings, my fear of you, the efforts I put to like you – the ugly feelings that I can only see now.

I dreamt of you few days back. I saw you casually slipping back into my life by giving me a paper mache keychain and me being happy, me holding your hand in the glitter of unknown lights. The lights were yellow, you were a bit taller than I last saw you, I was a bit more happier than I last knew myself to be. I woke up hating myself a bit more.

And after my words of confusion, blame, and hurt, here are my kind words. They are few, they are frail, they are nothing in comparison to the wrong that we are but they are there in me just like the occasional dream I hate to be in:

You were sometimes beautiful. You were sometimes kind. On some days you almost meant your love. On those days you meant the most to me in this world. On those days I felt I was good enough to be loved. On those days I told myself that sometimes love is more than comfort, warmth, and understanding. On those days I found it worth it to swim to you through anything. On those days I planned and prepared myself for all the things I should leave for a life with you. I thought I could do it. I knew I could do it for you. There are days I don’t want to separate myself from. Even if I separate from you.

Also, leaving me was the most selfish and loveliest thing you have ever done.

And I hate you even when I say that. Even when I say that, I know that what you did is something people in love never do. Something you can never be forgiven for.

Now, I can only give your words of gratitude or blame. It won’t be words of love ever again.

“in the light that smiles nonetheless” – Nayana Nair

that’s where my anger lives

on the mud stains of a size 7 shoes
swimming on the white floor of my small apartment.

in the plants uprooted, in the marigolds strewn
and trampled on, in the light that smiles nonetheless.

on the streets where lives my fear – that finds me
and almost kills me, every time i hear footsteps behind me.

on the patronizing attitudes that i dutifully respond with gratefulness.
on the potential dangers, the possibilities of violence that every intimacy invites.
on the things i say yes to with a breaking heart.

in the mirror that only prizes my delicate frame and my weak wrist,
that tells me i would at least beautiful in the missing posters,
in the files housed in grim police stations,
in the videos and photos i would never get to know of (if i am lucky)

in the speeches that tell me i am safe
in the compartments and corners made for me.
soundproof corners where either
i would finally end up believing the facade, the lie of a safe world
or where i would learn how to stay silent to be spared the worst.

that’s where my anger lives

“News of my new love and loveless life” – Nayana Nair

DRAWING THE STARS WRONG
all my hopes, now in your hands,
feel like signs of trouble.
i liked it on paper, the broken star in red ink,
but not on my sky.
can i undo my steps to you?
will my heart break even if you leave my skin?

STRIPPING YOU OF FLESH
before i turn away from you
there are things that must be done.
(only painful things are remaining
no matter what i choose)
everyday for a hour i must imagine
being alone in this world.
everyday i must imagine
the relief you would feel
at my absence.
everyday i must imagine you with someone
and being capable of caring.
i must imagine in detail and color.
i must put you on a window in clothes
i don’t recognize.
i must strip you of my love
and hope you feel the warmth,
even when my heart tells that you won’t.
i must stand outside the shop i plan to leave you at
and practice standing there without tears in my eyes.
i must take your feelings out of picture
to take even one step away from you.
before i turn away from you
i have to turn into the person
who won’t be able to walk towards any happiness
after leaving you broken.

MESSED UP SEARCH HISTORY
in my room, on my phone,
with another love, in the crowd
that will never be mine,
i feel my heart drunk on you again.
and everywhere you are with me
i need someone else
to keep me from making another mess
in your name, for my sake.
in return, i love them the only way i can,
the way only i can,
by removing you from the search history of my mind
every second i live.
i love them
by holding them back from running to the one,
who like you, can only love in dark dripping red
and swelling universe of purple.

THE EASY WAY TO LIVE
speaking without fear,
loving without abandon,
sitting in sunshine,
somehow loving the world,
wanting to stay alive,
getting comfortable with the concept of wanting,
knowing the feeling of being considered and seen,
(all this
with you at the back of my mind).
i told you, all this is my life now-
the easiest life i have ever had.
i hope you believe.
it would be the happiest end,
if you would accept this
as the last scene of me in your life.
i want to live so better,
just so that you can forget
the me who could do nothing but get hurt
only because i didn’t want to live without love.
i want to be better than that, even if it makes me sad.

“All the boxes are checked” – Nayana Nair

It hurts a bit more naturally
and less violently,
now that betrayal has a range,
has not one but many faces.
Now I need not figure what I did wrong.

All the boxes are checked:

family, family, friends, not friends,
thank-god-we-were-never-friends friends,
i-am-sad-i-stood-up-for-you friends,
people who marked my skin with their name
to own me
while i slept in their arms
(another golden cup added to collection of people hard to get,
people who won’t die if thrown away or left alone)
loves whom i am tied to,
the ones who demand smile and sometimes a bit more,
always a bit more.

They know the feel of my hand and love how it heals.
They hold my hand in their sleep
in their nightmares, in the storms of passion
that they need a person to aim at.
They break my wrist
in my nighmares, in my awareness of my fruitless love.
When I am at verge of crying,
they tell me to not give them a hard time
and to act like the refuge that I am supposed to be.

So I tell them “I love you”
and this lie hurts a little less everyday
as my heart becomes the stone pedestal
all my loves stand on.

“What I Remember (23)” – Nayana Nair

i try
to sleep,
to forget
the pain near my spine,
to forget
all the hours in front of me
that i have no use of.
i look at my palm
from near and from as far
as my hands can extend.
i notice how my hands have changed.
do i like it better now?
i wonder if it possible
to like anything about my body now.
i remember once deciding
not to at least hate this skin
that has use for everyone but not to me.
i remember saying “as long as it makes you happy”
at the same time thinking “i don’t think you care for my happiness”.
i stop myself from finding more things that make me confused or miserable.
i unlock my phone.
it’s 8 already-
more and more notifications,
…5GB extra.. Alert:You have spent…
…has added a new post …added a new story
airplane mode, the notifications continue to pile up in my head-
all the words that i will never get to see
that i always expected even when i knew i shouldn’t,
it has been long… …sorry, for making you feel alone…
today i saw something and was reminded of you.
even though we are not together, it is not your fault…
thank you for being there for me… …it must have been tough…
don’t hurt yourself
i feel smaller knowing that even the words i want
are only words of consolation,
just confirmation that i am not the worst.
i look at my hands again and wonder
if my hatred for myself colors my skin.
is that how everyone gets know
that i don’t have the courage
to ask for fair,
for loyalty, for answers?
is that how i look?
someone who doesn’t have the voice
to ask anything anymore.

“the shadow at the foot of my bed” – Nayana Nair

today is the birthday of one another oddity of mine.
on a day like this,
few calendars ago
i learnt how to turn my helplessness into my charm.
i learnt to fill the glasses, the throats of everyone i know
with something sweet, with a taste they can’t name.
i learnt to become something that can’t be known or hurt.
in my bedroom i sit at the foot of my bed
trying to block out the presence, the weight
of the other half of my body
clinging, clawing, crying, dissociating.
i again forget where i am.
i again forget how to stop shaking.
if i walk a bit more into the darkness
i feel i won’t have to pretend to be the one
who has a say in what happens to her.
a hand slips into mine.
sometimes it rests on my waist,
and i force myself not to feel nauseated.
love him. love her. i tell myself repeatedly.
love. love. love. love till i can make up for all my lacks.
my love is my penance, my apology
to anyone who chooses me as their destiny.

“Delicate” – Nayana Nair

On Sundays, I wear the purple summer dress
that I once promised myself I would never wear.
I paint my nails, I color my lips, and I open the windows in me.
I become someone I was taught to hate, I try to break
my hatred with my smile.
I let myself be reigned
by the greed for beautiful, sweet, shining things.
I think of all the things I have tried not to want.
I let myself be the delicate vulnerable woman
that is easy to love, easy to idolize,
easy to abuse, easy to blame, and easy to hate.
I tell myself that it is not my fault,
but the more I live the harder it becomes to believe it.
I fall asleep on the floor where first I tasted blood,
wondering why I can never give up on this dress, this dream
that has given me nothing but hurt.