“The eyes of my mother” – Nayana Nair

I planted the idea of a happy family,
a happy tomorrow,
into the eyes of my mother
with breaking tips of my pencils
against her granite eye lashes.

I told her the story about the boy
who is ever so sad
because his parents didn’t care enough,
who weeps on his empty birthdays,
who weeps into my heart.
I tell her I am not so fine myself.
Maybe she didn’t hear me clearly,
cause she didn’t stop
her daily charade of writing her “the last letter”.

I cleared her bed, her table, her words, her being
from the perfectly modeled replica of world in my mind.
I showed her, “Look, this is how I will look
with you gone. Look, look at what you must not do to me.”

She pulled me close, and held my hand for a bit too long,
a bit too tenderly
as if letting me know, telling me
“Look, this is how I look when I am alive.
Look, look at me pouring out of myself, dragging my feet
even till the end. Look, look at what I can no longer live as.”

And I stood there for a long time,
slowly understanding things I possibly couldn’t.
I stood there for a long time,
till my mom’s face was replaced by that of the ever so sad boy
as he held me, letting me cry into him
for the hundredth time.

“Enough for me” – Nayana Nair

She climbed the stairs
never pausing for a second.
I knew what a second of thought could do.
How it could pull back her steps
and let out her screams.
I knew this is something she didn’t need.

She climbed the stairs
and walked towards me.
Beside me, not exactly near,
steps away perhaps she stood.
And that was enough for me.

Enough for me to not know of loneliness.
Enough for me to not feel fear
what all I could never be.
She stood where I could grow if I chose to,
where I could happily fall apart
and she would never leave.

But I also knew that meaning of this distance
which she hoped I didn’t see.
Being her mirror, as I looked at her from this distance,
I realized this carefully measured out space-
how beautiful and perfect
and safe it was.
She always stood far enough
so her heart wouldn’t rely on me to beat.

“Eventual Fall” – Nayana Nair

She just laughed and said
“you are not really intelligent,
you know that right?”
as she packed her bag,
making space for her only notebook, with difficulty.
I wonder if she really needs all those the things.
She is not a careful person,
I know that because her list of priorities is horizontal-
everything is important, everything is equally dispensable.
I hear a song breaking at the bottom of her lungs,
when she talks of the new thing that she will love forever
when I know she won’t.

She lets me know for my own good “geniuses are not made by effort,
love doesn’t happen by hard work,
quit swimming and struggling when you are on land.”
She takes me by hand, teaching me how to walk,
teaching me her pace.
Her pace unsettles me. She gives cruel names
to my innocent actions as she smiles.
She smiles at me while I wait for my forever to end.
And only because I hate myself
for not wanting to love her sometimes
I smile back.

I wonder how far my determination can take us.
As she finally boards the train home, after missing out on a few,
she says “stop struggling, when i am with you,
i know your heart, even when you don’t.
it hurts to see you like this,
things will eventually fall in their place.”
I wonder if she is pushing herself, within the limits of who she is,
to save something of us, to save something of me.
I wonder how she can love me, if she knows how petty my heart is.
And because I do not know the answers to her,
I wait for us to fall into the places.
I think of her and find it easier, this wait.

“Is this what this distance, this decision means?” – Nayana Nair

With my back to the my cold family name
the metallic alphabets printing hard on my clothes,
I stand
with my feet half out of my pretty shoes –
with my painted nails still hidden in the skin of another animal,
my hands revolving the beautiful replica of Saturn
around the plastic heart on my elaborate key chain- a stage of its own.
I stand and wait for you to open your door on the floor above.
I hear a faint click, a phone ring, footsteps running away from the world
(why do I feel such sadness when I hear that?),
a door left open (to everyone but me)
I sit in the middle of my living room floor
staring up, at the underside- the creeping mold
of the stage where I played your lover, your nemesis.
It is cruel and incomprehensible that we can still live,
take calls, make jokes, eat, and still have the want to live.
After hurting ourselves and the world for the sake of love,
after all that, is this is it?
When you find your room, your world without me
which direction does your heart turn towards?
Do forget from time to time that we are supposed to forget each other?
When I find my loneliness becoming greater than me,
when it starts spilling out of me on dinner table,
when it makes me lose my mind, am I allowed to let go of you?
Is this what this distance, this decision means?
I hear your window open, I hear your excited voice
(why do I feel color of anger filling me again?).
I wonder if you have really found your new life
or is this an act you have put for my benefit?
Your kindness could only be in my head, as was your love.
TV drowns your voice again
and I thank all the accidents, all the things out of my control,
everything that moves us away from each other.
Otherwise, I never could.

“What I Remember (24)” – Nayana Nair

It is time to go out into the world.

It is time that I try hard to get my heart broken
and pretend that it is happening for the first time,

to claim that I trusted blindly
knowing it is not something I am capable of,

to fit my body awkwardly
in the kind of life that people call ‘life’

to find words, to practice the new lingo
that can make something about me relatable,
so that my skin soaked in a tiring tale of sadness
doesn’t make me an alien,

to fill me up again with pictures
of parks, cafes, malls, and roads filled with people
who supposedly like each other,
if not a lot,
then at least enough to not let their ailing self
ruin the perfect moment, the perfect teamwork, the perfect promise.
(Perfection that relies on someone else
doesn’t sit well with me.)

It is time I find something new
that I cannot be or cannot have
before I lock myself up again
for next hundred heart years.

So while I am out to find something to write about and hurt about
miss me my cell,
pray for me.
I am afraid that once I am surrounded by all
that I have learned not to want,
I might start to hope again.
I might slip again.
I might forget to see the distance that I carry in me
and get disappointed by the doors that I can’t reach.

“A Big Word” – Nayana Nair

I am happy. Almost.
I leave my bed to sit beside the window
that looks over the road.
I stare at everything that lives and dies beside me.
I will my brain to think of a rhyme
that I can gift this world.
I feel that my love for this ocean
of people far exceeds my loathing.
I am almost happy to be alive.
Though almost is a big word, a painful word.
It is is still smaller than the distance I have covered so far,
it is negligible to everything that has ever stood in my way.
‘Almost’ is something I can overlook,
as long as I have something to look forward to.
I cannot give up on this world even when I should.

“Redraw” – Nayana Nair

Every time I held your hand, I felt it.
Your blood, your voice, your mind
taking a step back,
a silent declaration,
“I can only love you this much”.

~

I stood on the lines I am not meant to cross.
I shifted uncomfortably from one leg to another,
afraid what my next step could do to your heart.
Wondering how much of this distance
is due to my insignificance?
How much of its reason roots in your fears?

~

I hope I knew how to fix things
that are not broken.
I wish I knew how to erase and redraw
our painfully distant orbits.

“The Empty Half of Everything” – Nayana Nair

I am trying to live
as if you didn’t happen.
But your are the lone dream
that I have grown for years.
I cannot help but look
for your shade.

“you know where you have hidden your light” – Nayana Nair

have you come to find the life, the hand
that lit every eye that you have come across?

you can sit here and look at me for your whole life
but you won’t forget the one whom you cannot face.

she had a sweeter heart than mine, i can guess.
every lover in their best moment were as lovely as this mother earth.

i won’t compete, i won’t love you better.
tell me the parts of you that she lit, i will let them burn you away.

i won’t talk like her, i won’t tell you i understand.
so hold my hand and miss her as much as you can.

in my lacking, see her face.
take the name you have been dreading to approach.

confess your love to the one you have lost.
make peace with the part of you that won’t let her memory rest.

divinity only takes away things that you treasure.
so, remembering is the only easy way to forget.

“The Saving Business” – Nayana Nair

Ages ago, I did a course of 48 hours on saving people
(as if saving was that easy).
There were lots of questions, none that I could answer truthfully.
I sat through confessions, lot of confessions.
I sat there distancing myself from everything I had the potential to be-
the one who clutched her handkerchief too tight,
the one whose gaze seems like a hammer, itching to crush and break.
And like the pathetic person I am,
I only thought “Where should I run to now?”

I would return to a sad room to sleep (thank god it was never to be my home),
I would wake up and find myself staring
at slideshows that I tried hard not to see
or find myself cooking up stories of life
that won’t put me on that stage, won’t sound like a cry.

“Is this how this saving business would continue to be?”, I wondered
as I left those 48 hours behind.
“Is this all I can do?”, I asked myself as I finally wept for hours.