Nicola Cayless.
Looking for light in words.

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How to Disappear Completely.

  1. Begin to breathe slower. Time the expansions of your fragile lungs with the rhythms of the universe. Breathe quietly, too. Listen for the rustling of the leaves from the oak outside your bedroom window, and make sure you are softer than they. 
  2. Drink only soup in mugs, and eat only wheat crackers. Languish on soft leather couches while the rest of the world dines. Cover yourself with a blanket, and burrow beneath the dark, imagining the warmth of a hot chocolate running through your system. You are not hungry. You are simply empty.
  3. Skirt along the edges of walls. Make sure you wear beige scarfs and grey cardigans. Watch your skin slowly become translucent, drifting slowly from milky white to an undernourished glass. Fade into the wallpaper, and smile softly to yourself when people ask where you are.
  4. Smile less. Let the muscles of your cheeks seize up in disuse. Feel the heaviness of your skin, your blemished, imperfect skin. Obliterate the memories of laughter and grinning and summertimes. Your cheeks will crease uncomfortably while you fight the urge to laugh, but that’s okay. Let them sag, let them hollow, until there is nothing more than a ghost of contentment around your lips.
  5. Forget your own name. Let identity fall from you, like waterdrops that drip away after a shower, down your naked, angular frame. Forget the name of your mother and father, learn them only by scent. Try not to remember what a pronoun is, and when people ask for your name, shake your head silently. If you have a name, disappearing will be all the more difficult. Renounce yourself.
  6. Keep the blinds closed all day. Live in the dark, stretch out in bed, let the people you once knew worry about you until they eventually drift away out of despair. Watch the sun try to force its way into your bedroom as it rises. Laugh as the night conquers it. Forget how to move. Forget how to speak. Forget.
  7. Write more, and let the paper consume your soul,
  8. until you have nothing more to give,
  9. until you have no one else left,
  10. until the ink runs dry.

There it is. The rain.

There is something magical about the rain. Whenever it falls, you cannot help but for a moment be transported out of the present, to transcend time for what it is and escape into the mutable recesses of human memory. The rain, as it falls, seems to soak up my soul, seems to infiltrate my skin until I am just another droplet in a storm. I can feel all at once every other time that it has rained, can feel memories overwhelm me. I remember my sixth birthday party by the ocean, looking out over to the horizon. My father barbecued, and we warily watched the ominous clouds roll in over the headland. When the heavens opened up on us, like ancient Gods declaring war, we shrieked with laughter and ran for the cover of the cars, the sausages & steaks sizzlingly dismally on a water-soaked barbecue. I remember being completely soaked, drenched in every nook and cranny, like the rain was playing a game with itself, aiming to explore and map the human body. I can also remember the time just last month, that I sat naked in the backyard, on the bench that no one in our family has ever sat on. I let the sky drift down onto my bare breasts and stomach, let the water cleanse me, a baptism of sorts, a baptism into understanding and gentleness. I walked with softer steps after that day. I’d been resurrected by the autumn storm. 

I’ve been lonely these past months, broken, questioning. I’ve been trying to remember what beauty is, lately. I can no longer seem to recall just what made my heart beat slower, with contentment. I can’t remember the list that I made to remind myself, so I will start another.

The rain is something beautiful.

  • You realise that you mean very little.
  • You realise that your heartbeat is only a tiny part of the collective Pulse.
  • You realise that you could vanish tomorrow, and only the trees outside your bedroom window would notice that the light no longer flickers on and off. 
  • You realise that you are made of borrowed atoms, that you are composite and connected infinitely to a chain of beings.
  • You realise that nothing that you touch will last very much longer than you, except the hard hard crust of this turning world.
  • You realise that if you stand in one place for a very long time in complete silence, it is as if you are simply a part of the wallpaper.
  • You realise that no one really cares who you are or why you choose to keep walking, and that it is expected of you that you will keep quiet and create.
  • You realise that you have a duty to the cosmos to keep writing, that you are not designing poetry and prose out of enjoyment, but out of obligation.
  • You realise that you mean very little.
  • You realise that your work means the universe.
  • You realise that you will slowly vanish, but your ink will remain, and that someone somewhere will feel something because of a single word you wrote.
  • You realise that you were born to write something that lasts forever.