Fall/Winter 2020 Issue

Emily Hiltunen

My Name is not Mayla

Nakisa Razban



I get up.


I run. 


Too close for comfort. You are gaining on me. My name isn’t even Mayla. I fly. I go up, UP. Above the city, the school, the people who don’t care but smile anyway. 

“But if we don’t smile,” you say, with that condescending-silly-girl-you-know-nothing tone, “If we don’t smile, how will the world go round? If we don’t pretend, how will we always be ok? How will the answer to “how are you” always be “good?” It wouldn’t. It would be different every time.

You always ask how I am. “How are you, sweety? I’m well! Great day! Bye, sweety!” You don’t care. You have better things to do than care. “Don’t you know? Don’t you know, silly girl, that I have better things to do!” Like worry. “Worrying is an important thing, little girl.” I’m not little. My name is Mayla and I don’t like to watch the rainfall. I don’t like going out in the rain. “Never go out in the rain, Mayla, only go outside when it’s sunny! If you go out in the rain, you’ll be alone. Never be alone Mayla. Stay inside when it rains.” “Never be alone. Never be bored. Always have checkboxes Mayla, and cross them off as the day goes on.”  I don’t make checkboxes. I am a checkbox. “Mayla, I already talked to you today, I already smiled at you today, I already acknowledged you today.” CHECK! And then you feel good. On you go down the street to your next checkbox. School then college then work then retirement! (If you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll even get married and have kids!)

“Silly girl, you don’t understand!” you say, “Life is about living! and loving! and laughing! and having a good time! (I read that on a bumper sticker).”  It’s more complicated than that when your name is not Mayla. 

My name is not Mayla. 

I keep running. Or flying. I can’t tell sometimes; I go too fast. When I get up, up above it all, it rains. 

Below the clouds it’s sunny, but above them, it rains. And you don’t tell me to stay inside. 

I fly up and I don’t look back. 

You don’t care. 

You don’t care because my name is not Mayla.