Archive

Short Pieces

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?

night terror

Sesaat sebelum menyuruhku kabur, mama sempat berbisik padaku. Pesan yang akan selalu kuingat hanya satu: bahwa dunia ini kejam dan semua orang membenci kita!

“Nak, hati-hati kalau jalan-jalan. Jangan pernah pergi sendirian. Di luar sana banyak bahaya. Siang mungkin terang, tapi ia berbahaya. Bahkan bayangan pun tidak mampu bersembunyi.

Orang-orang itu jahat. Sekali kamu bertemu pandang, mereka akan langsung seperti orang gila. Ada yang memicingkan mata kemudian melipat bibir dan mulai mengeluarkan sumpah serapah karena menganggap kita tidak layak hidup. Ada yang langsung lari terbirit-birit karena tidak ingin mengalami kontak langsung. Beberapa ada yang cukup berani berhadapan langsung karena ingin kita mati. Biasanya mereka akan mengambil benda keras terdekat yang dapat mereka angkat untuk dihantam ke kita.

Pernah juga ada yang berpura-pura baik. Mereka mencoba menyapa kita dan membawakan makanan enak yang ternyata sudah diracun. Mungkin kamu tidak ingat karena waktu itu usiamu masih satu tahun, tapi adik mama tertipu dan akhirnya mati.

Lebih baik kamu jalan-jalan di malam hari. Meskipun gelap tapi lebih sepi. Ingat, jangan sampai terlihat siapa pun atau kamu akan bernasib seperti mama. Sekarang, pergi! Cepat!”

Itulah ucapan terakhir mama. Aku melihat tiga orang mulai datang menghampiri kami sambil membawa peralatan menyeramkan. Tidak ada yang bisa kulakukan selain menyelamatkan diri sendiri.

Hari itu, genap seminggu kami sekeluarga tidak makan. Aku dan mama pergi diam-diam di malam hari, berniat untuk membawakan makanan untuk adik-adik. kami menyusup ke dalam sebuah rumah dan melihat ada makanan mewah di atas meja. Tidak ada siapapun di sekeliling kami, dan hidangan itu terlihat seperti baru akan disantap oleh para penghuni rumah, jadi kemungkinan kecil untuk diracun. Tanpa pikir panjang, mama pun naik ke atas meja. Di sana, perangkap tidak terlihat sudah dipasang. Kaki mama terkena lem.

Ya, lem tikus.

 

Picture is taken from here.

heidelberg-zoo Apu suka sekali dengan binatang, tapi kedua orang tuanya nggak pernah memperbolehkan Apu untuk memelihara binatang, meskipun hanya anjing, kucing, maupung seekor burung kecil. Tanpa sepengetahuan orang tuanya, Apu sering memberi makan anjing dan kucing liar yang suka berkeliaran di depan sekolahnya. Ia takut kalau memberi makan di dekat rumah, anjing dan kucing tersebut akan mengikuti Apu masuk ke dalam. Di sela-sela waktu sekolah, Apu seringkali menyempatkan diri untuk pergi ke kebun binatang, entah itu sepulang sekolah, atau di saat istirahat yang hanya enam puluh menit lamanya. Ketika memandang gerak-gerik binatang, Apu merasa dirinya sangat bahagia. Ia juga senang mengamati bapak dan ibu petugas kebun binatang yang senantiasa memberi pakan dan merawat hewan-hewan tersebut. Selepas SMA, Apu bertekad untuk kuliah kedokteran hewan karena ingin semua binatang berada dalam kondisi sehat. Pak Rimba, salah satu petugas kebun binatang, memang sudah sering mengamati Apu yang berkeliaran di dekatnya. Suatu hari saat memberi pakan jerapah, dari ekor matanya Pak Rimba melihat Apu sedang mengintip di balik semak-semak. “Hei, nak!” Saking kagetnya, Apu berdiri tegak, mempertunjukkan setengah badan ke atas yang tak sanggup disembunyikan oleh semak-semak. “Sini, mau coba kasih makan?” ajak Pak Rimba sambil mengayun-ayunkan tangan. Seulas senyum lebar terpampang di wajah Apu selama… yah 10 detik, sebelum akhirnya Apu bergegas menuju ke samping Pak Rimba. Itu adalah pertama kalinya ia berinteraksi langsung dengan hewan selain anjing dan kucing. Hari demi hari setelahnya, Apu semakin sering mengunjungi kebun binatang. Pak Rimba dengan baik hati mengajak Apu ke manapun ia berinteraksi dengan hewan-hewan, termasuk ketika ia harus membersihkan kotoran dan mengobati binatang yang sakit. Lama kelamaan, Apu menjadi salah satu orang kepercayaan Pak Rimba untuk membantunya merawat binatang-binatang tersebut. Teman-teman Apu di sekolah yang awalnya kebingungan ke mana ia menghilang mulai memahami hobinya ini. Tidak lama kemudian, Apu pun terkenal sebagai ahli binatang dan menjadi tempat kepercayaan teman-temannya yang ingin berkonsultasi soal hewan peliharaan ataupun binatang liar lainnya. Entah kenapa saya tiba-tiba mengarang cerita Apu ketika beberapa waktu lalu mendengar sebuah pertanyaan menggelitik di sebuah diskusi: “Kapan sih sebenarnya seseorang bisa menyebut dirinya seniman?” Lucunya, satu minggu sebelum pertanyaan tersebut dilontarkan, saya mendengar seseorang menjawab: “Saya belum berani menyebut diri sebagai ‘seniman’, karena mereka adalah orang yang terus-menerus berkarya dan membuat karya seni, apapun bentuknya. Seniman hidup untuk berkarya.” Hidup untuk makan tentunya beda dengan makan untuk hidup. Demikian juga dengan hidup untuk berkarya, tentunya beda dengan berkarya untuk hidup. Hidup akan terasa lebih hidup ketika kita hidup untuk melakukan hal-hal yang kita sukai.

20140519-142913.jpg

Picture taken from here.

This is a story of an ugly duckling that turns into a beautiful swan… Temporarily.

Rosemary’s childhood memories were far from sweet. Even though her father was good looking and her mother was a real beauty, Rosemary was just a fat little girl with a ton of freckles, pale skin, and black hair. Boys and girls mocked at her because she was fat and had frizzy and poofy hair. She cried a lot, but it didn’t turn her into a bitchy and cruel woman. She was lonely.

At the age of 10, Rosemary moved out of town because her dad received a better job. Nobody missed her, yet no one forgot her.

At the age of 22, she came back to her hometown and surprised everybody, including her childhood friends (friends, really?). The ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan. She was slim and her freckles had gone. Her hair? It was flawless brunette hair.

Why did she come back? She said she missed her hometown despite what happened in the past. Her father had passed away and her mother had a new boyfriend. She wanted to be independent hence she looked for a job in her hometown.

Soon after she moved, Rosemary became the talk of the town. During the day she worked as a scientist, while at night she usually went out with many many guys. She did not settle for one guy, and all the guys she dated left the town for no reason, including the last single guy in town. People assumed they were so broken hearted.

Well, they were not.

Rosemary had a secret for her beauty. She had to drink one glass of blood of every man she dated once every seven days before she went to bed. That was the dark promise she made together with her mother to keep the beauty. Before Rosemary’s father passed away, her mother drank his blood every day. Now that he died, her mother had to hunt for men, that was why they could not stay together.

Rosemary told her mom that not a single guy wanted to be with her once she sucked his blood. They freaked out and suddenly left the town. She desperately tried to find someone who was like her father, accepting her mother despite everything.

One day, tired of keeping her effort, Rosemary broke her promise. After seven days, she did not drink a glass of blood and went to sleep right away.

In the morning, police cars gathered together in front of her house. Apparently they heard a scream from inside the house and found Rosemary’s body on the floor, in front of a full length mirror. It seemed that Rosemary was died due to heart attack. She was shocked and disgusted by what she was seeing.

Herself.

images

Alkisah suatu malam, ada tiga orang berkumpul di sebuah rumah untuk membicarakan situasi penting yang menyangkut hidup mereka. Orang-orang ini terdiri dari dua orang laki-laki dan satu orang perempuan. Ketika pembicaraan semakin alot dan serius, seorang lelaki mengeluarkan semangkuk coklat yang nampak lezat dari lemari pendinginnya, dengan maksud menjamu para tamunya.

Tentu saja, menuangkan isi otak menghabiskan banyak energi dan membuat perut lapar toh? Tanpa ragu, kedua lelaki langsung mengambil coklat dan mengunyahnya. Beberapa saat kemudian, seorang lelaki menyadari keanehan yang terjadi: ketika ia membelah cokelat tersebut dan menaruh separuh belahan di tangannya, ia melihat bahwa terdapat serabut putih di cokelat tersebut. Seketika itu juga si lelaki yang satu lagi terkejut, dan mereka baru menyadari bahwa mereka telah memakan cokelat basi. Keduanya langsung merasa panik dan takut apabila hal-hal buruk terjadi karena keracunan.

“Tidak perlu sepanik itu,” sahut si perempuan. “Saya pernah memakan sepotong kue berjamur sampai habis dan baik-baik saja sampai sekarang,” ujarnya.

Mendengar hal itu, satu orang lelaki kemudian berujar, “Yah… Saya sih pernah juga makan makanan basi dan tidak terjadi apa-apa.”

“Oh… Saya malah pernah makan obat yang sudah kadaluarsa tiga bulan,” sahut pria yang satu lagi.

Ketiganya kemudian tertawa, dan melanjutkan diskusi mereka seolah tidak terjadi apa-apa.

salsa

Jika mendengar kisah perempuan
yang rela berjam-jam di dapur
hanya untuk  menggenggam secercah hati seorang pria
telingaku memilih untuk tuli
atau kaki melangkah kabur

Untuk apa?
ada beribu trik untuk mencuri hati
selain di rumah
apalagi di dapur

Tapi gengsi meluruh
saat melihatmu sumringah
mengunyah tortilla hangus,
menyendok semangkuk salsa
hingga suap terakhir

Tomat
bawang merah
bawang bombay
daun ketumbar
daun mint
madu
dan
setetes dua tetes jus lemon.

Sebentar,
aku ke dapur dulu.

Picture is stolen from here

She was once her grandpa’s precious gift,

showered by thousand hugs and kisses everyday,

for she was a good girl,

until he left her nothing but memories.

She was once her grandma’s little girl,

accompanied each other anywhere,

until one of those days, when nothing is

eternal.

She once loved a tiny companion,

they communicated each other telepathically,

never thought there would be a farewell,

until anesthesia was the only answer.

She is now loving too much,

expecting overmuch,

yet worrying excessively.

When will one of those days happen again?