Silence

illustration: irene saputra

I used to hate silence and being alone.

It was the only time when I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking of the negative version of me, or, the version of me that I didn’t like. It was the only time when I started judging myself.

Ever since I was a child, I couldn’t remember when my parents were home. They were either busy working from early morning to late at night or out of town once in a while. I spent most of my time alone, thinking perhaps I was born by accident; hence they were not ready to have me. Sometimes my grandma came to accompany me. I once thought he was my mother, but she taught me to call her “nana” and referred to my mother as “mom”. She was the closest family member I had until she died when I was seven years old. I didn’t know she died back then. I thought she bored of me because I couldn’t tell her any interesting stories, so she decided to left me.

When I grew up as a teenager, I found that being in a group made me feel safe and comfortable. I didn’t need to talk so much because there were always one of two people in the group who dominated the conversation. Maybe I was quite lucky to have this pretty face that made people wanted to make friends with me even though I was boring. At least it was written in one article I read: life is so much beautiful for those with pretty faces. Yet pretty faces were everywhere. When they found another one who was apparently more talkative, I was out of the options.

So I was alone with myself, again.

There were times when I wanted to change my life. I thought being involved in a one-on-one conversation would make me feel more comfortable in saying something on my mind. Apparently not. I ended up being the listener who never had a chance to open up because the one who talked with me was having a lot of things to talk about that I actually did not want to hear. When they found other people who wanted to listen with more sincere face than me, I was out for sure.

And then there was only me.

Again, I thought I could be more open and talkative when I was in a totally new environment. So I moved from my hometown right after I graduated from college to a town where none of my friends were there. I wanted to start fresh and create a new image to new people I would meet. But life did not work that way. Apparently it was hard to start from zero and people I met already had long time friends since they were very young. I made acquaintances, but they were never friends.

Don’t get me wrong. I had few dates, but they broke up with me with the same reason: at that time they were the only person who was so closed to me but they barely knew anything about me. Mostly because I did not tell anything about me to them.

I did not why but I was scared, you know. I found it hard to tell about myself to other people. I thought nobody should not know my story. I had nothing to be proud of and actually it was something I wanted to forget but I could not. Being with someone else made me forget everything about the version of me that I did not like. For a moment, I finally could think of anything but self-pitying myself.

However, the more people wanted to know more about me, the more I became defensive and closed my door. Perhaps they were tired of knocking and not being able to get in, and, perhaps… I was afraid they would leave me like Nana. And they did.

Well, all that happened before I met you. I never thought I could be more open than this. I have told you everything about my life and it is quite nice to know that you will always by my side and never complain about me. I feel like I’m seeing myself in you. I finally found someone who wants to stay with me forever without asking too much of me.

No more loneliness.

Mirror, mirror on my hand. Best friend forever, OK?

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