Sabtu, 24 Juni 2017

. (30 Hari Menulis #24)

We used to mean everything to each other
I used to be your right hand
And you used to be my heart

My brain and my soul
My night and my day
My oxygen

But the moment we realized
We were going on different paths

We said good bye, good bye
For we were two different people
That should never have even met

Kamis, 15 Juni 2017

I Was Supposed to Die, Not Rule A Kingdom and Start A War! (30 Hari Menulis #15)

Picture taken from The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor

What would you do, if you were told you only had three more months to live?

It sounds like a cliche from a movie or a book, doesn't it? That's what I thought, too. In the movie, the character would probably be devastated. They would probably start regretting what they'd done in their lives, and think about what they'd want to do before their life ended.

Me? I shrugged.

I mean, the seventeen years I've been on this Earth can't be counted as 'living', anyway. I have a strange heart condition that nobody in the world can figure out. Something's wrong, but what? Doctors don't know. Not the doctors in Bandung, or Singapore, or Cleveland. They started experimenting on me when I was four, but after three years, it took the toll on my mom. That's when she decided to let go of me.

But I'm still here, ten years later. Barely, anyway. I haven't gone to school in a month. It's okay, I don't really want to. When I'm there, I feel like a stranger in the class all over again. I struggle in catching up with the rest of the class because when they were covering trigonometry or some other mathematical gibberish, I was slipping in and out of almost-comas. Why should I know any of that stuff, anyway? Physics, chemistry, math... They all won't matter when I die.

What will? I have no idea.

Calm down, I'm not suicidal. I don't want to die. I just don't have any reason to dread it. I'm not welcoming it, per se, but maybe... maybe it's better if I die.

My parents, they're good people. They just hit the reverse-lottery with me. Sometimes when I think of what they could have done with their lives if they didn't have me, I can see their genuine smiling faces. The ones they show me are restricted--painful. They don't deserve me. I say this as a matter of fact, not from an emotional point of view.

So when I overheard Doctor Marino telling my mom that she would finally be free of me in three months or so (not her exact words, obviously), I just shrugged. Good for her. And finally, I guess. I'm not sure if I believe in an afterlife, but even if there isn't one, I'll be okay. I will no longer be a burden to her, or to my dad, or to classmates who have to struggle to remember my damn name when I'm attending classes once in a blue moon, or to my country, or to the world.

Now, what do you imagine death would be like?

I've fantasized about mine quite a number of times, honestly. Not much you can do when you're constrained to a bed in an empty hospital ward by yourself, night after night. In my mind, I imagine it will come at night, when I'm alone, just like tonight. Hopefully it'll be painless. It'll be better if it happens when I'm asleep, I think. So I'll close my eyes, fall asleep, and then just never wake up. It'll be perfect.

What I never once imagined is that death would come in the form of two guys with bright green eyes and a weird sense of fashion.

After I died, I wake up in the dark. I think I'm outside. It's super chilly, and just realizing that I'm cold sends shivers all over my body. My supposedly dead body. That wakes me up. What in the everloving hell happened to me?

I open my eyes. I am outside, and it is dark. I don't recognize where I am... I mean, I haven't been to many places besides my parents' house, the school, and various hospitals anyway, so I don't suppose I should know areas like this--especially with this many trees surrounding me. Am I in a park? No... A forest?

"You're awake," I hear someone whisper from my side, and footsteps coming from another. I turn my head to my right, and there he is--one of the guys who barged into my hospital room like criminals in action movies. This time, there's no detective daddy or super-powered boyfriend to save me, though. They just killed me and took me here.

Hold on, what?

"What..." I try to ask them the million questions that form in my head, but realize that 1) my throat hurts, and 2) my voice sounds like frogs swallowing Boncabe. "What the...?"

"Okay, sorry. I know you have a lot of questions," says the guy who now I remember tore open my freaking chest and took out my freaking heart and then freaking burst it right before my own two eyes.

Hell yeah, I have a lot of questions!

"But we're here to save you," he continues, apparently not getting the signals my eyes are making to tell me more details on how BREAKING AND ENTERING into my room and KILLING ME and then KIDNAPPING ME count as saving me. And from what? The only danger I have ever been is if my heart stops pumping blood, and that's literally what they let happen.

"I'm Aadi." I suddenly hear the other guy say. I turn to him. He looks humongous, standing over me. Maybe it's because I'm lying on the ground and he's just standing there, looking down on me. Terrific. "And that's my brother, Archan. We were sent here to take you to our kingdom and prepare you for the war."

I mean... Guys, whoever is reading this--does ANYthing this guy says make sense to you? Because to me it doesn't. It really doesn't.

My confusion probably shows on my face, because the other guy--Archan, was it?--starts shaking his head. "Okay, I know it's confusing. It's... We... I don't even know where to begin."

"Try," I croak.

He sighs. "Our princess died, Mara."

He said it as if I'm supposed to understand what's going on with just that sentence. Princess what now? Where are they from, The United Kingdom? What does any of it have to do with me?

"And we're at war," says the older guy. "Well, we will be, very soon. We need her to lead us to victory, but she died, and now it's up to you to save our kingdom and our people in it."

I mean, I'm not crazy, right? It's completely normal that I don't understand anything that they've been spewing out of their crazy mouths, yeah? I shake my head slightly (because damn does it hurt to literally do anything with my body right now), trying to make sense of every single thing that has happened tonight.

"Aisha--Our princess, she has--I mean, her heart is strong. That's where she got all her powers from. Before she died, we managed to save her heart, and we've put it in your body. The one beating inside you, that's hers." The boy kneeling beside me looks sorrowful as he says all this. "I'm very sorry we didn't have the time to explain before taking your heart away, but... There's no time, Mara. It's getting dangerous every second."

"Archan." Aadi says suddenly, his voice alert. I look at his poised posture, and that's when I feel it--danger.

There's danger lurking, and I don't know how I know it, but I can feel it. They can, too, I think. I get up slowly, ignoring the screams of pain from every bone in my body as I do so. I look around. I don't see anything out of ordinary (except for the fact that I'm sitting on the ground in an unknown forest with two strangers at probably two am), but the presence... I can feel the presence.

And suddenly I see it.

"THERE!" I cry, pointing at a pair of red eyes just floating around ten meters in front of us.

I haven't had the time to panic or feel scared before Aadi stands in front of me in a defensive stance, and Archan running toward the danger. I will my eyes to stay open, because what's happening in front of me is unbelievable:

The floating eyes develop some kind of darkness around them,

Archan muttering some stuff and pointing his fingers to the danger,

Green lights come out of his fingers, shooting the shadow,

And as its darkness fades, consumed by the green lights, it cries

A loud shriek

Something I've never heard of before

Something that shouldn't be real

And then it disappears, and the whole forest fall silent once again.

Only this time, Archan and Aadi quickly turn to me, see that I'm okay, and each take my hand and we run. We run and run, I don't know how long we've been running and where, but I can sense the urgency and fear that they don't bother hiding anymore.

As I move my legs, I can't help but think that maybe, maybe, death is better after all!

Rabu, 14 Juni 2017

The Wall and A Young Girl's Dark Gazing Eyes (30 Hari Menulis #14)



The forlorn gaze coming from the dark eyes of the teenaged girl is quite possibly the most familiar thing this wall has known during the last several years, now. It does not know how it feels about that.

The Wall likes the girl, it has decided. She comes often, and every time she does, she doesn't make a fuss, like most other people who frequent here. She just sits or lays there on the bed, does whatever the woman in the white robe tells her to. Very rarely does she speak.

She comes often. Maybe every few months or so--walls do not have the interest in keeping up with humanity's obsession with time. Every time she comes, The Wall can't help but feel joy. Which is strange, because walls aren't supposed to feel anything. But there is something about this girl, it feels, that makes it somehow... alive. Even for just a little bit.

She comes often, which makes The Wall happy, but also sad. The frequency of her stay means she doesn't have long--her time is ending. This is what The Wall has learned over the few decades of his life, since it was built with the hard hands of the tender-hearted men who thought of their family and loved ones only. People come and go. Sometimes they come back, looking more frail each time, and then they stop coming.

It's nearing midnight, and this time, she is staring at The Wall again, as she does every night without fail. Today marks the fifth day she has been here. Anyone can probably guess what is going on in her mind right now, maybe. What the doctor told her mother did not sound very good. Even The Wall understands that.

Unbeknownst to the sighing girl are two young men standing just outside the window to the balcony, their eyes sharp, watching her. The Wall would squint its eyes to see more clearly, if it had eyes. It would alert the girl of the intruders, if it could. But alas, such is the nonlife of a wall, and its fate to just be present and watch terrible things happen.

The girl gasps as they come in, but quickly stopped from uttering a single word by the quick hand of one of the young men. The other one goes to the door, checking that no one is coming.

Her eyes look frightened, wandering left and right, trying to make sense who these people are, and what they could possibly want from a 17-year-old girl with a weak heart and probably three months left to live.

The fellow took his hand off of her mouth, putting one finger in front of his. "Ssh," he whispers, "we're not here to harm you."

"We need to go," says the one by the door impatiently.

"Okay," the one by the bed nods, not to the older boy, but more to himself. "Mara, we are here to save you."

Mara's eyes show something else now--confusion. And also anger? "What the hell? Who are you guys?" She sits straight up.

"We don't have time, just do it!" The Impatient One goes to the left side of the bed.

On the right side of the bed, the boy puts his hand on Mara's right shoulder, which is quickly removed by Mara's swift hand, and a "Don't. Touch. Me." warning from her mouth. It scares him a little, The Wall likes to think, but he doesn't show it.

"Mara, seriously. We are not the enemy," he pleads.

"You sure look like one to me," says Mara. For a quick second, she takes in a deep breath, and as she starts to scream, The Impatient One does something with his fingers that sends tiny blue lights to her mouth.

She screams, but there is no sound. She tries and tries, but the end result is the same: silence. She tries not to let it, but fear starts to consume her.

"Damn, Aadi!" The younger one looks panicked. "Why did you do that?"

"We don't have time, Archan."

"You just wasted your power!"

"Brother. Just do it."

The one called Archan stares at his companion, his eyes communicating how much he doesn't want to do what he is told to do, while knowing there is no better way. Finally he gives up, and turns his attention to Mara, whose hands now are on her neck, her face a chaos.

"Mara, lie down," Archan says. "Please."

Mara looks at him, and does as she is told. The Wall is confused by her action--surely these strangers want something out of her, so why is she giving it to them so willingly all of a sudden?

What it doesn't know is that Mara saw something in the boy's eyes--she doesn't know what it is, but there was no intention to harm her. There hasn't been, even since they entered the room. Mara senses something strange. The urgency of this two boys barging in her room at midnight feels bigger than her.

As she lies down, she studies the faces of the strangers. No, she doesn't recognize any of them. But why does she feel like she should?

Archan closes his eyes, and his hands start glowing. The room, that was pitch-black, is now incandescent with the red glow that grows around his hands. He hovers them over Mara's chest, and she starts glowing, too.

Aadi is now holding a wooden box in his hands out of nowhere--neither Mara nor The Wall noticed the box when the boys came in. He opens it, displaying something inside. It... it moves. It looks almost alive, but not really. It glows also, but with a dim yellowish light around it. It feels strange. It feels foreign.

It feels like something that shouldn't be.

Mara looks at the object, trying to figure out what it is. But as the glowing red light on her chest grows brighter and spreading all over her body, bringing warmth with it, she loses her energy to focus on anything. So she closes her eyes, and trusts the two boys to do what they have to do. She doesn't have time to think about what this means, or what is about to happen. She feels almost content.

But what comes out of Archan's mouth takes away all that contentment: "We are going to take your heart out."

As she opens her eyes in protest, Archan's hands rip apart her torso, and there it is--her heart. Her red heart, beating very weakly in his hands, and she is staring at it. She never thought she'd be looking directly at the very organ that has kept her alive all these years, but also the same one that gives her misery.

She starts to open her mouth, but Archan quickly pulls her heart away

and her life with it,

so she dies

and she does what dead bodies do:

lay unmovingly on the bed.

The Wall screams in silent terror, one that no one and nothing will ever hear.

It shuts away its consciousness, numb with the pain of losing the very person it has ever been able to show interest in. It's becoming just another cold, blank wall in the cardiac hospital.

By doing so, it loses its power to see what happens next: Archan taking the object out of the box and into Mara's gaping chest. Aadi taking Mara's heart and putting it in the box, as it slowly stops beating. Archan uttering something with his hands hovering over Mara's corpse once again. Mara's torso slowly closing itself, her blood seeping into her vessels in command.

And for a full minute, the room is once again dark and silent.

And then, something happens.

This time, there's no tiny blue lights or red glows coming out of Archan, or Aadi, or Mara. This time, there's no sound, either.

It's just Mara's eyes opening again, ever so slowly.

Only this time, they're not dark--they're light blue.

Minggu, 11 Juni 2017

Melindungi Mara, dan Hal-Hal Tidak Mungkin Lainnya (30 Hari Menulis #11)



Mara mempercepat langkahnya. Ini gawat.

Kami sedang berada di wilayah yang tidak kami kenali, dan matahari sudah lama berpulang ke peraduannya. Aku dan kakakku, Aadi, sudah mati-matian membujuk Mara, orang yang harus kami jaga, untuk mencari tempat yang aman. Bukan hanya dia yang membutuhkan istirahat--kami juga. Apalagi, sekarang ini kami belum berhasil mengontak siapa pun di istana, sejak kami kembali dari Bumi. Sama sekali tidak ada siapa pun yang mengetahui posisi kami saat ini. Jika Baug, musuh kami, menjadi orang pertama yang menemukan kami... Entah berapa banyak goblin yang akan dia kirim untuk menghabisi kami.

"Kalian pikir aku makhluk lemah, yang harus kalian jaga? Hanya karena aku perempuan, dan kalian laki-laki. Iya kan?" pekiknya, persis tiga menit yang lalu ketika kami lagi-lagi gagal membuatnya mengerti kacaunya situasi kami saat ini. Aku mengangkat bahu dan Aadi menghela napas berat. Kata-kata "coba ingat-ingat, siapa yang baru saja kami selamatkan dari sebuah rumah sakit jantung di dunianya?" tidak jadi aku lontarkan.

Kami masih berjalan mengikuti Mara, dengan Aadi sesekali mencoba membujuk Mara. "Membujuk" bukan kata yang tepat. Biasanya "percakapan" yang terjadi hanya seputar ini:

Aadi: Mara, sudah-
Mara: Tidak!
Aadi: Kamu bahkan tidak tahu-
Mara: Aku tidak perlu tahu!

"GAAAH!" adalah apa yang keluar dari mulut Aadi kemudian, dengan kedua tangan yang terkepal dan diangkatnya ke atas, tinggi-tinggi.

Aku menahan tawa. Harus kuakui, kukira orang yang akan kami selamatkan adalah sesosok perempuan yang rapuh dan lembut. Bagaimana tidak, hanya beberapa hari yang lalu kami menculiknya dari sebuah rumah sakit, mengeluarkan jantungnya, dan memasukkan jantung putri kami ke tubuhnya (ceritanya panjang, kita tidak punya cukup waktu untuk itu). Tapi perempuan yang sedang berjalan di depan kami ini jauh dari kata rapuh--kadang, aku rasa dia punya lebih banyak keberanian daripada diriku sendiri. Sedikit demi sedikit, aku mendapati diriku mengembangkan rasa kagum terhadap dirinya.

Aadi kembali mencoba untuk membujuk Mara, kali ini dengan meraih tangannya--tindakan yang salah. Mara meronta, berteriak, dan mereka akhirnya benar-benar berseteru sekarang. Mataku membelalak atas kejadian di depanku, kemudian segera berlari menuju mereka, menghentikan kekonyolan ini.

"Cukup!" bisikku setengah berteriak, "Jangan berisik!"

"Kamu yang jangan berisik!" sentak Mara segera. "Atau kamu mau menjelaskan sekarang juga kenapa kalian menculik aku dan membawaku ke tempat ini?"

"Sekarang bukan waktunya untuk itu..."

"Archan benar, Mara..."

"Diam, diam! Aku sudah bosan mendengar cerita tentang putri kalian, jantungnya... Kembalikan aku ke dunia di mana sihir hanya ada di novel-novel Harry Potter!"

Saat itulah, aku melihatnya. Sekilas cahaya merah dan hijau berkelebat di sisi kananku, di belakang Mara. Aku membeku. "Mara."

Mara masih mengoceh tentang sekolah, ujian, dan sesuatu bernama kuliah.

Aku meraih mukanya. "MARA."

Akhirnya, dia terdiam. Matanya melihat ke kiri dan kanan, mempelajari keadaan kami saat ini: terkepung. Dalam sekejap saja, ada sekitar delapan goblin yang berdiri mengelilingi kami.

Goblin yang berada paling dekat dengan Aadi mencoba menyerang duluan, tapi berhasil Aadi hindari. Hal itu justru memacu goblin-goblin yang lain untuk memulai penyerangan terhadap kami. Aku dan Aadi mati-matian mempertahankan posisi dengan Mara di antara kami agar dirinya tidak terluka. Hanya saja, dengan beberapa minggu berada di Bumi untuk mencari dan menyelamatkan Mara sudah menghabiskan kebanyakan energi magis kami.

Beberapa goblin terkapar di atas rumput--entah empat atau lima--entah bagaimana kami masih berhasil mengerahkan seluruh sisa kekuatan kami. Hanya saja, magi kami hampir habis, begitu pun dengan energi fisik kami. Napas kami terengah-engah. Aku tidak tahu bagaimana kondisi Aadi, karena aku bahkan tidak bisa melihat dengan jelas--kepalaku berat dan mataku berkunang-kunang. Ini gawat, jelas gawat. Di mana Mara?

Teriakannya di sebelah kiriku membuat mataku kembali awas, dan menemukannya sedang berusaha menendang dan memukul dua goblin yang berusaha melemahkannya. Aku berlari ke arahnya, tapi seorang goblin menyerangku dari belakang, dan aku terjatuh ke depan. Seraya berusaha berdiri, aku melihat ke arah Mara--Aadi sedang berlari ke arahnya. Dan itulah saat hal itu terjadi.

Entah dari mana, hutan yang gelap dan lembab itu berubah menjadi sangat terang seketika, dan hangat. Untuk beberapa saat, aku tidak bisa melihat hal lain, atau menggunakan inderaku yang lain. Yang bisa aku rasakan hanyalah nostalgia--aku pernah bertemu magi jenis ini sekali. Betapa aku merindukannya.

Detik-detik berlalu, dan perlahan-lahan semua inderaku kembali. Aku mengedipkan mata berkali-kali, mencoba untuk memperjelas pandanganku. Yang kudapatkan adalah para goblin yang tersungkur tak berdaya di atas rumput, dan Mara yang membenamkan kepalanya di dada Aadi. Aku dapat mendengarkan isaknya.

Aku hanya berdiri, diam di tempat, tidak tahu apa yang harus aku lakukan. Aku yakin pasti berat baginya, mendapati dua orang yang berpenampilan sedikit berbeda dengan manusia pada umumnya menculiknya dari rumah sakit tempatnya menunggu kematian, untuk kemudian diceritakan kisah tentang seorang putri yang sudah mati dan jantungnya yang masih berdetak. Apalagi ketika dia mendengar bahwa sekarang dirinyalah penjaga jantung sang putri.

Ingin rasanya kuselimuti dirinya dengan pelukan, dan bisikan bahwa ini semua tidak apa-apa, kami semua akan baik-baik saja. Tapi mungkin ini bukan waktu yang tepat dan mungkin aku bukan orang yang tepat pula.

Kamis, 08 Juni 2017

Fine (30 Hari Menulis #8)

The prompt for this post
He looks so frail lying on that bed, wrapped in a dusty old cloth we call a blanket.

We all know he doesn't have much time. It's happening. Death is coming, tonight, and we have no way of stopping it. We've tried to delay it - for weeks and months on end, as soon as we finally, finally figured out what was wrong with him. But everything was in vain, of course, because it wasn't enough.

I don't know why we persevered as long and as much as we did. Nothing was ever enough around here. Never has been, never will be.

We live in a forgotten square in the outskirts of a bustling town, where nothing ever happens. Well - nothing good. Hunger, pain, illnesses, and anger are all we ever know. They're what I've known since I was born.

I thought it was normal - I thought it was how life was supposed to be. Until I was five, anyway, when he deemed me ready to see the "world". He took me to the heart of the city and showed me how different food and time would mean for other people outside of our pathetic little square.

I wailed in anger and frustration, and he let me. And then he told me, "Kid, it's okay. We're okay."

"No, we're not!" Five-year-old me was able to see the truth, finally. "We're like animals to these people!"

He sighed, as if disappointed. In me, for not showing the dignity and pride he'd tried to teach me all those years despite everything we didn't have, or in life, for not being fair? Maybe both. Or maybe in the god he always spoke of, for not giving us the reality these people had.

"We're fine. We always have food on our table, and clothes on our body, and a roof over our heads."

He told me a long speech about being grateful all the way home. A speech I didn't care to listen to. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what he wanted me to do, to feel, was not how I was going to get it.

And five years later, here we are. Him on his death bed, and me in the corner of the room, watching his chest rise and fall, rise and fall with such difficulty I wonder how he's still with me.

He wakes up, in the midst of all the heaving, his eyes looking for me. I come to him and take his hands in mine. He tries to smile. He's trying to make me feel better, but as usual, I only feel worse.

"Listen, Kid," he whispers, his voice as rash as sand and cold as the winter. "I'm sorry for everything."

"No," is all I manage to say.

"I guess we weren't as fine as I wanted us to be. I thought-" he coughs, throwing out what little life he has left in him with each one, "I thought you would be okay because I was okay with what we had. Because- because I had you. And you were the best thing I've ever truly had in my life."

###

The funeral is simple. We put his body in a pit and burn it, along with everything he ever lived for.

My sister cries beside me, her hand clutching at mine. "What will we ever do?" she asks.

I shake my head. "We'll figure it out. It may be tough at first," I kneel and look at her in the eyes, "...but if anyone asks, tell them we're fine."

Because we will be, Kid. As long as I have you, and you have me.

Rabu, 29 Juni 2016

Second Chance (30 Hari Menulis #29: Kolaborasi)

Ayah tertawa melihatku buru-buru masuk mobil. "Kamu nih, udah jam segini baru mau berangkat. Kalo Ayah udah keburu pergi, gimana?"

"Kan nyatanya masih sempet nebeng Ayah," balasku, lengkap dengan cengiran yang membuat tawa Ayah semakin membahana.

Picture taken from pcwallart.com
Kami meluncur keluar kompleks, dan mulai menikmati kemacetan kota ini yang selalu hadir setiap pagi. Kemacetan yang selalu dikeluhkan warga, dilawan pemerintah, tapi tidak pernah benar-benar pergi, karena masyarakat - seperti kami - tetap memilih berkendara sendiri daripada mengembara dengan angkutan kota. Aku dan Ayah menertawakan hal ini.

Laju lalu lintas lambat laun mulai bersahabat. Ayah membawa mobilnya semakin dekat ke sekolahku. Itu dia gedungnya, sudah terlihat. Hanya perlu belok kiri di sini...

Tapi sebelum sampai kami ke sekolah, aku mendengar suara benturan yang sangat keras dari arah kanan, kemudian kepalaku berhantaman keras dengan kaca mobil di sebelah kiriku. Aku mencari-cari Ayah, tapi yang bisa kulihat hanya merah.

Lalu hitam.

Lalu gelap.

Lalu putih. Terang benderang. Silau! Pelan-pelan kubuka mataku, mencoba untuk meminimalisasi cahaya yang menusuk-nusuk pupilku.

Aku menemukan diriku berdiri di sebuah padang bunga yang sangat luas, Sang Mentari bertengger bangga di angkasa, bersinar seolah-olah tak boleh ada sedikitpun bayangan di Bumi.

Hanya saja, aku tidak merasa berada di Bumi.

Aku memancarkan pandangan ke sekelilingku, dan menemukan seseorang berdiri tak jauh di belakangku. Ia tersenyum. Pria? Wanita? Aku bahkan tidak bisa mulai menebak usianya.

"Kami telah menunggumu, Putra," katanya.

Menunggu aku? "Kenapa?"

"Karena hanya kamu yang bisa membuat alam semesta kembali utuh," jawabnya. Ia mulai mendekatiku.

Aku tidak bisa menjelaskan apa yang aku rasakan. Hanya: aku tidak ingin berada dekat dengan orang - makhluk - itu.

Dia tersenyum. "Yang harus kau lakukan sekarang hanyalah masuk."

"Ke mana?" Siapa kamu? Kenapa aku? Alam semesta? Ada banyak pertanyaan berkecamuk di kepalaku, tapi mulutku seolah terlalu takut untuk membuka. Di mana Ayah? Apa yang terjadi?

Sebagai jawaban, dia hanya mengangkat tangan kanannya, menunjuk ke sesuatu yang berada di belakangku.

Aku berbalik, dan melihatnya: sebuah peti mati yang dikelilingi bunga-bunga mawar.

Tidak. Tidak!

Aku berlari sekuat mungkin. Aku tidak peduli ke mana, aku hanya ingin menjauh dari semua kemustahilan ini. Ayah! Aku mau pulang ke Ayah!

Tapi usahaku sia-sia. Kedua tangan makhluk itu memanjang dan memanjang, menyusulku, melilit tubuhku, dan mengangkatku tinggi di angkasa tanpa kesulitan.

Aku melihat ke bawah, tepat ke arah peti mati yang perlahan-lahan membuka sendiri, sedikit demi sedikit.

Aku meronta

dan meronta

dan meronta

tanpa hasil.

Tubuhku melayang rendah, rendah, rendah, hingga aku berada di dalam peti mati itu, tidak bergerak, tidak bisa bergerak, atau berteriak, hanya bisa memandang nanar peti mati yang menutup, membungkusku dalam kesunyian.

Yang kulihat hanya merah.

Lalu hitam.

Lalu gelap.

Hanya gelap.

(Ini hanya bagian saya dari cerita kolaborasi kami. Untuk cerita yang lengkap hasil tulisan saya dan teman-teman kelompok saya, sila baca di link ini.)

Selasa, 28 Juni 2016

Why I Got Married Even Though I Never Wanted To (30 Hari Menulis #28)

I was never into marriage.

Picture taken from HuffingtonPost.com
Growing up, my friends often fantasized about their dream weddings - beach weddings, garden weddings, white weddings - but I just couldn't bring myself to care about what kind of dress I wanted to wear or which color scheme I wanted for the decoration. I was much more into other stuff, like actually getting good grades in school.

Nearing my 30's, a lot of my friends were engaged, or married, or pregnant. Me? I was still so focused on my career as a writer and human rights activist. I wasn't envious of them, either, because I couldn't imagine dedicating myself to just one person for the rest of my life. My parents grew wary of my singledom, even trying to introduce me to children of their friends whom they thought were eligible men, but I just shook my head and did my own stuff. Marriage was never for me, I guess.

But then he proposed to me, and I couldn't say yes quick enough.

He came out of nowhere - a representative of a client company that wanted me to write an article about their product on my blog. Turned out we'd met on several occasions on banquets or mutual friends' weddings, and during our work together we realized that we just had so, so, so much more in common than anyone else we'd met in our lives. I can still remember his face when I told him that his favorite books were written by me, back when I still used an alias because I wasn't confident enough as a writer to use my real name on my books. He lit up like the sun.

Love happened very suddenly, took me by force and I was drowning in happiness. It made me anxious, to be honest. I wasn't used to feeling so happy because of another person, and certainly never for such a long period of time. When I told him this, he said that he felt the same, but he couldn't imagine going back to how things were now that he knew what life was like with me. That was two weeks before his proposal, three years after we went on our first date.

It's been ten years now, and every morning I wake up smiling at his sleeping face right next to mine. The peacefulness he radiates reminds me that life can actually be this good, no strings attached. Well, it's not always golden all the time - even now we still find some things we disagree about, or stuff we just tolerate about each other - but this feeling of completeness, of being understood, is definitely worth all the bumps on our road.

I still maintain that you don't need to be married to be happy even today, but if you meet the right person - the person that can make you fall in love with yourself, especially when they're around - marriage isn't such a bad idea. Spending the rest of your life with that person isn't scary - it's something you actually look forward to.