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

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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.

“Staying awake, staying alert” – Nayana Nair

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The glass window creaks
under the weight of my head.
I wonder if I should sleep.
Not that it is in my hands. I wish it was .
But then I am afraid
of wishing for anything
that I might not be able to bear-

like her face alive in my dreams,

like seeing myself with a smile
that I can never wear again,

like wanting to smile again
even when I do not want to want such things.

Even when I stay awake, stay alert
to the turning and tossing of my heart
even when I stay glued to the place I had in her heart,
I feel that time is dragging me away
from everything that is painfully comfortable and familiar and lost.

I feel the world trying to rush back into me.
I feel I might lose her too soon, too easily.
I fear there is only so much that my heart can take.
I fear that I will find the peace that I do not want to feel
at the other end of this suffering.

“Something like love, someone like you” – Nayana Nair

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I held onto my heart
that wouldn’t stop running
towards the possibility of love,
towards you
who smiled at me
and yet never looked back.
I held onto my heart,
clawed at it, in fact.
All because this role of wanting
is an ocean of false memories and false hopes.
This feeling of losing myself to
something like love,
someone like you,
to everything out of my reach
was wearing me down
to a version of me I didn’t like.
Wanting you
has made me cautious, has made me aware
of why I can’t be the one for you,
why I can never be the one being loved.
Wanting you
makes me feel like
I can never be happy again.

“Audience” – Nayana Nair

the most beautiful
bitter bits
of this world
belong to me now.

a car rushes by far away
and i wonder about
the girl crying her eyes out
on the table not far from mine,
or the middle-aged man looking lost
in front of his home in my window,
or the woman who left her phone and purse
on her table on purpose
and turned back at the door to look at something
i couldn’t see.

i wonder if they feel the same as me,
if i would ever feel anything brand new,
if i would ever have a feeling
not felt by anyone in this world.
even when i know how ordinary
my extra-ordinary pain is, why does it feel so deep,
why do i struggle to walk on these crowded roads
why can’t i wear my sadness, my tears on my eyes
and let this world be the audience for once.

“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.

“When they get to know” – Nayana Nair

There was this one girl
who was too bright.
I liked her a lot.
She was a little more loud, little more caring,
laughed a little more longer.
As if that ‘little more’ was her essence,
was a rule she couldn’t break.
I liked how I could see
what she was without that ‘little more’,
that all of them would never know her like me.
I wonder at what point they will get to know,
that she is drifting away.
Would they would find her too plain,
once she stopped trying?
Would they also feel betrayed?
By then, would they have learnt
all the cruel words
that can break her,
words that she already knows.
I hope not.
I hope they are too young
to recognize the masks they see
or the masks they wear.

“Don’t tell me” – Nayana Nair

Unlike your descriptions,
the green doesn’t wait for the sun.
It doesn’t know what waiting is,
what the word ‘sun’ is, it doesn’t even know
that you are the its spokesperson.

I am not coming at your throat dear,
it’s just that
I feel, as time passes
that you see me more as that green
than your woman.

You cut my sentences
and give me used bottles of perfumes, of love
that I must wear.
The only thing you tell me about your day
is how women dote on you
and place you first in the list of men to seduce.

I remember I once said,
“please don’t tell me, i don’t want to know”
and you glared back,
lectured me on openness and honesty and strength of love.

“i don’t want to know”
I said it only once,
because my I was afraid to say it ever again.
And in my unreasonable fear, I understood
that in this life of pretend, I had also begun
to see you as another sun,
even when you are not.

So, I am not coming at your throat dear.
I am try to free myself from your hold,
from your twisted idea of love,
that is messing with my mind now.
I am someone without you as well,
and I don’t want to be convinced that I am not.

“my dying love for lemonades and other similar things” – Nayana Nair

In my wardrobe
I have hidden skeletons of you and me
from last year, from the year before,
even the year that never was (as per your memory).

When my head aches from the mention of all the light
I am supposed to see in life

(according to the countless articles on positive thinking),

when I have had enough, but can’t mention it
on the face of well-meaning people

(the handbook of gratitude tells me I should forgive
everything that is done by well meaning folks-
I mean EVERYTHING, have you heard anything more preposterous)

when all the scenarios I used to complain about
become my best case scenario

(it feels like every inch in my home
is occupied with people that I am told not to hate
phew! - you know how forgiveness is not exactly my thing)

when I fail at acting fine, as you taught me to-

I sit among those skeletons
have no care about being with the clothes
that they will never get to wear,
who don’t have a heart to be ruined by.

I try to find comfort
in the thought, in the fact
that an year from now
I will be here,
that I will be the part
that dies by the next spring.

I won’t have to live on to become the part of me
that would hate lemonades, love and laughs.

“A Dying Storm” – Nayana Nair

i close all the doors
as if a storm in coming,
as if closed doors can protect me from something so huge,
as if hiding is a better option than fleeing.
‘i wish i had created more places to hide in my life’
i thought this as tried to burn all my best clothes
as if i will freeze to death otherwise
and nothing i wear, no new face i paint on myself
will deflect or reduce the hate in the eyes that look at me.
soon i had nothing to burn,
nothing to destroy.
only resentment against myself,
only a feeling of failure
continued to live in this body
growing each second, trying to push me out.

“Erased” – Nayana Nair

I dreamt of a cold day,
of a gray sky,
of your warmth dissolving in air,
of your smile being erased.

I lay on your bed
surrounded by, covered in
all the clothes
you won’t ever wear.
I saw myself crying,
refusing to eat or sleep
waiting for a new world to be created
or to leave the world that I am in.

But eventually
I woke up,
I cleaned up my room,
I threw out everything
that mattered to me.
I went to shop
for a stomach that knows hunger
a heart that can forget,
a dream, a life without you.
I thought I loved you more than this.