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"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.

“Another Birdless Cage” – Nayana Nair

please don’t ask me how my friend is doing.
we broke up.
we broke up the most decent way friends can break up.
without deceit, without betrayal,
without cruel words or bloody knife on our backs,
without stories to hurt each other with,
without attempts to patch up things,
without deleting each other’s number that we never bothered to memorize.
i do not remember her till someone says her name
and when the sound of her name finds me through a stranger’s lips,
i do not feel bitterness. i not miss her.
a part of my heart is glad that life didn’t turn her my enemy
but a part of me wonders how she turned out to be nothing in my life.
when i see facebook notifications with her name,
when i get a reminder of her birthday,
when she calls me up once in a blue moon
to ask a favor for “her friend”
without bothering to ask how i have been,
what is it that am i supposed to feel?
i think it should hurt in some way.
i am waiting for it to hurt.
i am waiting to realize the meaning of this loss.
i am waiting for the day I miss her.
i want to miss her so much.

“Notifications” – Nayana Nair

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It seems I have another friendship to celebrate today
even though
you-who is supposed to be my friend
is nowhere to be seen in the recent calls or messages,
nowhere in the list of people who wish me luck
and bless me on my birthday they don’t remember.
But isn’t friendship more than just
remembering certain dates.
I know that, so it doesn’t matter to me,
so I can let go of such minor details
and not be offended by what you don’t do.
Frankly I also have forgotten so much about you
that even when I am reminded of you
I do not feel much for what we are and how we have ended up.
And I think just like me
you also became aware of my existence
only because of this automated message.
But this is a world where we don’t have to cut ties
to keep distance,
a world where such distance doesn’t necessarily imply
negative feelings or history.
And this grayness of everything that doesn’t go away
even if I am ready look over it.
This grayness that we are prompted to maintain and celebrate
is what is ridiculous to me
and is what makes me sad.

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