Dear Kerala,

A love letter to a place.

It’s true, I hated you at first. How was I supposed to get used to something so different than what I had experienced before? In my youth, I loved parts of you so quickly, I always wanted more time with you. I began to appreciate the cadence of your words and the art of your letters. Maybe it was the flick of a lungi, or the hands crossed behind the back for an evening stroll.

The green of the paddy fields and the smell of fish. The food was always integral to our relationship. I sometimes craved the smell of you. As if a smell could quench a thirst and lull me to sleep.

The scent of coconut oil and jasmine has been replaced by rotting jackfruit and smoke.

We’ve known each other too long now. Too many times we’ve had to say goodbye and get reacquainted and readjusted to how we’ve changed in the absence of each other’s presence. Even though I love you, I have to let you go.

Here is the root of the lotus and the bud of the mango tree — the deepest secret nobody knows.

It is because I love you that I have to let you go. The rain filled sky and coconut palms extending into eternity are only part of this wonder.

I can’t keep going around and around trying to get the stamps necessary for you to see me. I can’t sit idly as you oppress every single woman around you, whether you intend to or not. I can never be who you want me to be.

But just because I can’t be with you, doesn’t mean I don’t love you.

Oceans of love,

Your Mango Skin

Like what you read? Give Mango Skin a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.