- Megha Nayar
The Things we Learnt about Sam after his Passing | By Megha Nayar
That he owned a closet full of sweaters he had knit himself.
That the sweaters were absolutely gorgeous.
That nobody from his circle – absolutely nobody – knew about his hobby of knitting sweaters.
That he liked hoarding bright balls of wool in all shades and sizes.
That he procured the wool for his sweaters from myriad places around the country, some hundreds of miles away.
That he had a spare Instagram account we didn’t know of, where he shared new sweater designs.
That this account of his was followed by sixty thousand followers.
That his display picture on that account was a glittery unicorn.
That in the year 2012, he’d written a two-thousand word essay on Tangerine Tango, Pantone’s Colour of the Year.
That Navy Blue was not his favourite after all. It had been Tangerine Tango all along, though he never wore it around us.
That of the twenty-eight items listed in his Youtube browsing history, twenty-six were videos about purl stitches and needle types.
That the remaining two videos were man-on-man porn.
That the person he had lately claimed to be hooking up with was not some Amanda.
That he chose to call himself Sam because of the deliberate ambiguity of the name. Some wool stockists he regularly emailed assumed it was short for Samantha. He was grateful for the misconception. It spared him the agony of defending his interests to strangers.
That he disliked his real name Samir – meaning a gust of wind in Hindi – despite how much it meant to his mother.
That his mother was profoundly disappointed in her sweater-knitting son.
That she’d once taken him to a psychiatrist with hopes of getting him treated.
That she was crest-fallen after it was announced that her son wasn’t diseased and hence couldn’t be cured.
That he wished she would stop trying to look after him and instead look into him.
That he never wanted to be rich or powerful or memorable. He only wanted to be able to tell the world he was a man who liked men and knitting sweaters.
That he was a prolific, self-taught liar, a connoisseur of the fine art of keeping secrets – especially his own.
That he might perhaps have been alive had we known who he really was, and if he’d known that we knew.
That the people we think we know, we sometimes don’t.
Megha Nayar was longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020. She spends half her time teaching French and English. The other half, she devotes to learning Spanish, taking long walks, and pondering the purpose of human existence. Writing is her ultimate dopamine fix. She blogs at meghanayar.tumblr.com and tweets at @meghasnatter.