木漏れ日 – Komorebi

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Komorebi.

I first heard about that word from my literature teacher, roughly fifteen years ago.

“It is a word in Japanese that you can’t translate to English, or any other languages directly,” he explained during class. “A rough translation is the interplay between light and leaves when the sun shines through trees.”

I took a note of that word in my notebook. I wasn’t the type to jot down anything during class, but there was something about the way he pronounced the word that made me wanted to remember it. Komorebi. A Japanese word. Light through trees. I replayed his explanation over and over again until the word stuck to me.

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The Same Seat

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He didn’t know what crossed his mind when he decided to leave that message.

It’s not like he expected anyone to read it, actually. You wouldn’t find a person crazy enough to reach beneath the seat of their seat on the train, expecting to find a secret message from a total stranger. Yet after serious contemplation, he scribbled his message with tiny writings on a scrap of paper, folded it really small, and stuck it beneath a seat on the train with a duct tape.

He knew people would be eyeing what he’s doing if he snuck the secret message in broad daylight, so he decided to wait until the last train. He ensured the car was mostly empty–there was only one elderly who was half asleep and a girl too busy with her phone–and used the opportunity to did what he was set out for.

On the paper, he wrote: “Hello, my name is Edward. If you read this, please reply with your name and stick it back into place. Thank you.”

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[PROMPT] The Voicemail

Am trying to write based on writing prompts. This one is taken from an Android App called Writing Prompts. I just randomized the prompt and wrote about the first one that was displayed. 

It was just another mundane Tuesday evening. I had been out the whole day doing presentations and pitches to prospective enterprises, presenting everything so fast because I had memorized most of the materials the previous day. Usually, I would return home very tired; I wouldn’t even be able to shower until the dawn breaks, when I would usually cursed myself for falling asleep as soon as my body hit the couch.

If I wasn’t so tired on the day, I would saunter sluggishly to the fridge, and fished out a can of cold beer and something to eat–usually leftover takeouts from yesterday. On these days I would remember to actually shower before tucking myself in, although I always felt like being hit by a wrecking ball the following day–blame that on the alcohol.

But either on exhausting days or sleepless nights, there was always something that I never failed to do every single evening, and that was to check my voicemail.

That mundane Tuesday evening was no exception. Continue reading

Pulang

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Source: inspirasi.co

Pada hari itu, Samudra dan aku menatap ke arah langit.

Kami tidak melakukannya dari atap gedung pencakar langit. Bukan juga dari dalam pesawat, atau dari puncak gunung yang megah. Kami melakukannya dengan sederhana: dari teras di depan rumahnya.

Sebenarnya ada banyak sekali hal yang ingin kuucapkan kepada Samudra saat itu. Tentang rasa terima kasihku kepadanya. Tentang pengaruhnya padaku yang begitu besar. Juga tentang begitu banyak kenangan yang sudah kujalin bersama dengannya, yang rasanya sudah terlalu berharga untuk kubiarkan lolos dari jemariku.

Tapi yang kulakukan hanyalah terdiam. Tangan kami bertautan, dan kami menatap ke langit lepas yang terasa begitu jauh sambil mendengar bunyi napas kami masing-masing. Samar-samar bisa kucium bau tanah dan dedaunan yang basah terkena hujan beberapa jam sebelumnya.

Mendadak aku teringat akan hari pertama aku bertemu dengan Samudra. Dia berada di atas podium itu, sementara aku berada bersama lautan mahasiswa yang lain. Dirinya berdiri lebih tinggi dariku, dan mata kami bersirobok singkat.

Sampai sekarang, setiap kali aku bersama dengan Samudra, aku selalu merasakan ada sesuatu yang bergerak di dalam diriku. Seperti sebuah jam dinding yang baru saja diganti baterainya, atau seperti komputer usang yang baru dibetulkan kabelnya. Ada sesuatu dari keberadaan Samudra yang membuatku merasa hidup.

“Stella,” ucapnya setelah kami terdiam begitu lama. Tangan kami masih bertautan. Kehangatan tubuhnya masih tersalurkan. Aku tidak menoleh, tidak juga bergerak, tapi dia tahu aku mendengarkan.

“Apa yang akan kamu katakan seandainya aku bilang aku mau pergi jauh?”

Aku tidak langsung menjawab.

“Kadang-kadang, aku berpikir untuk meninggalkan semua ini,” ujar Samudra melanjutkan. “Rasanya begitu menenangkan. Mengetahui kalau di luar semua masalah kita, masih ada sebuah dunia yang menunggu untuk dijelajahi. Masih ada lautan yang lebih luas untuk diarungi. Masih ada langit yang lebih tinggi untuk digapai.”

“Aku mengerti,” jawabku pasrah. Terkadang hidup itu memang terasa seperti menjalani hari demi hari di dalam penjara. Tanpa tahu kapan kita bisa keluar, hanya sepenuhnya menyerahkan nasib kepada takdir.

“Kamu nggak pernah kepikiran seperti itu?” tanyanya lagi. “Keinginan untuk pergi jauh. Jauh dari semua orang yang kita kenal. Jauh dari semua masalah kita. Jauh dari semua yang membuat kita sakit.”

“Kita nggak bisa selalu melarikan diri dari masalah, Dra.”

“Aku tahu,” potongnya dengan sendur. Sesaat angin berhembus membawa harum serumpun bunga melati yang ditanam merambat di pagar rumah Samudra. Sesaat itu aku merasakan damai, sesaat kemudian aku merasa hancur.

“Kamu tahu, Dra?” tanyaku pada akhirnya. “Aku sering berandai-andai.”

“Maksudmu?”

“Yah, berandai-andai,” kataku, masih tidak mau menatapnya ketika berbicara. “Apa yang akan terjadi seandainya aku tidak masuk ke Universitas Kencana Mulia hari itu. Apa yang akan terjadi seandainya Bintang tidak berteman dan menjadi sahabatku. Apa yang akan terjadi seandainya Fajar dan Aditya tidak datang ke dalam kehidupanku.”

Kemudian aku menggenggam tangannya dengan lebih kuat.

“Juga apa yang akan terjadi… seandainya aku tidak jatuh cinta pada kamu.”

Dia tertawa pelan. “Aku rasa pemikiran seperti itu lebih bisa dibilang melarikan diri daripada yang aku pikirkan.”

Aku menyambut tawanya dengan senyuman hambar. “Mungkin. Mungkin juga tidak. Bagaimana pun, manusia selalu berusaha melarikan diri dari takdirnya. Mereka berusaha hidup meskipun takdir mereka adalah untuk mati suatu saat nanti.”

Aku bisa merasakan Samudra tersenyum di sampingku. Merasa dia tidak akan menghentikan kalimatku, aku pun memutuskan untuk lanjut berbicara.

“Kalau melarikan diri adalah kodrat dari manusia, maka aku tidak bisa melarang kamu untuk melarikan diri. Mungkin selama ini kita semua sama saja.”

“Sama dalam hal apa?”

“Dalam hal menolak untuk menerima takdir, dan selamanya berusaha melarikan diri dari takdir tersebut.”

“Dengan cara apa?”

“Mengejar cita-cita mungkin? Dengan percaya dengan persahabatan? Dengan memiliki harapan?”

Samudra terkekeh. “Dengan jatuh cinta?”

Aku tertawa lepas. “Ya. Dengan jatuh cinta.”

Kemudian kembali hening di antara kami. Sementara Samudra tampak menikmati udara sore sambil terus menatap ke arah langit senja, aku bisa merasakan rongga dadaku bergemuruh. Perkataanku barusan jauh lebih besar maknanya daripada sebuah percakapan singkat.

Dalam hati, aku menyimpulkan, jika memang jatuh cinta adalah sebuah proses melarikan diri dari takdir….

Maka mungkin aku akan selamanya melarikan diri.

Untuk pertama kalinya dalam sepanjang sore hari itu, aku menoleh ke arah Samudra.

Dia tengah menatap ke arahku. Tidak ada senyum di wajahnya. Tidak juga tangis, marah, atau ekspresi.

Yang ada hanyalah kedua matanya yang menatap dalam menembus jiwaku, seolah dia bisa membaca apa yang setiap hari terukir di sana. Pada saat yang sama aku merasakan nyaman, tapi juga takut.

Nyaman karena aku tidak pernah merasa begitu… diterima seumur hidupku. Merasa menjadi bagian dari sesuatu yang lebih besar dan lebih berarti daripada eksistensi diriku sendiri. Tapi aku juga merasa takut, karena cara Samudra menatapku hanya berarti satu hal.

Dia menarikku ke dalam pelukannya, kemudian menciumku dengan lembut.

“Aku memutuskan untuk pergi, Stella.”

Aku menghela napas. Aku tahu dia akan mengucapkannya, cepat atau lambat.

Samudra memutuskan untuk pergi. Tapi aku tahu dia tidak melakukannya untuk melarikan diri. Tidak seperti diriku yang masih terjebak dalam cinta yang sama, Samudra sudah bebas. Dia sudah berhasil keluar dari dalam penjaranya.

Samudra tidak pergi untuk melarikan diri. Dia pergi untuk menemukan dirinya sendiri, untuk mencari sebuah rumah baginya.

Dia pergi untuk pulang.

Sore itu, aku pulang tanpa sedikit pun melirik ke arahnya lagi. Di dalam hatiku berkecamuk berbagai perasaan yang saling beradu, tapi ada satu suara yang berbicara paling kencang. Suara itu tidak memaksa untuk didengarkan, tidak juga memerintah. Aku tahu suara itu ada di sana karena mungkin sebenarnya, aku selalu mendengarnya.

Sejak aku pertama kali bertemu dengan Samudra. Sejak aku bersahabat dengan Bintang. Sejak aku berteman dengan Fajar dan Aditya. Sejak aku jatuh cinta.

Sejak aku melarikan diri.

“Aku memutuskan untuk pergi, Stella.”

Begitu kata Samudra.

Barulah kemudian kusadari, bahwa sementara Samudra memutuskan untuk pergi atas kemauannya sendiri, aku tidak jatuh cinta atas kemauanku sendiri.

-This scene is taken from my upcoming project, codename: Lights From Within-

After the Burn

(July 2014)

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Fluttering quietly that night, we approached the great light. It gave birth to shadows, just like the sun. It held warmth, transcribed into each metals and glasses encasing it. The handle was cold, however, with no hint of heat taint nor sun flares. Many pitiful climbers dared not to venture higher than their wings may take them.

The sparkle was there. We believed this was the light that would guide us to utopia.

You know—the kind of place where you can get unlimited supplies of food and water. Where no one had the need to compete or kill in order to survive the harsh and cruel ecosystem. Yes, the sparkle was there, and we began to refer to it as our light of hope.

This night, we would conquer it.

We would make the earth, the sky, the warmth of the soil, and the sweet taste of a berry tree sap ours. Gone would be the days of harsh enslavement and terror from bigger folks who ravaged our nests and pillaged our kinds without mercy. Gone would be the days of endless searching for water. Or the days when foods were taken from us at the cost of our lives. The sensation ever so reverberating in our hearts, it began to take over our soul with desire and greed. The sense of impending freedom; the smell of an encased heaven. Nothing else mattered to us.

We flew closer, glided over open air and the stainless handle encasing the light of hope. We roosted on the borders of light. The heat was real; the feeling of burn struck our gut and confidence. We began to question whether a paradise would feel so hot. We began to waver and guessed whether this was the sacred flames of purgatory, or the wicked plumes of hell. Each second we waste dehydrated our wings severely. After several seconds exposed to direct heat, one of us fell with honor. And then came along the second one, the third one, and before long, all of them. The task had proven to be too harsh on them.

I alone persevered, and lifted my wings to get a better look and hopefully seize the spherical dawn. It felt so close I could actually taste the skies. I was so sure I would attain it in mere milliseconds, until I, too, had my wings stripped away, incinerated and obliterated with disgrace. The moment that waited me was clear. I had failed my mission, and I fell.

Only, I did not fall into the ground. Those who did became prey of the hungry ant folks. I ended up falling, yet cradled within the metal encasing the borders of light. The so-called and once revered light of hope in our mother tongue.

As I felt my life faded away before me, I came to remember several things. Like the sun-sweet taste of fruits flesh bore from treetops. Or the adrenaline rush we got when faced against mighty enemies. Also the refreshing drop of dew upon every daybreak, the wisdom of the elders who objected our plans. And finally, the love we shared and the storms we had weathered to come to this day.

After that, I cried. Or at least I thought I would have. Because only after the burn did I realize the significance of one’s life.

Only after the burn did I realize no light of hope ever worth the lives of my people.

Yes.

Only after the burn did I realize, we didn’t need the great light.

Only after the burn did I realize, the heaven we sought was, in fact, earth itself.

Observing Serendipity

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Source: crooked-yet on deviantart

When the last of the raindrops smothered the wailing earth that day, he thought everything had been lost. No, not in a bad way. In fact, he was content. There was no better day to celebrate—yes, he decided to celebrate it rather than grieve over it—his loss than today. After all, he had come all this way, and thinking back, he had lost too many things to even count with his mind.

It just happened that the rain stopped right when he finished attending that stupid ceremony.
The man lifted his umbrella, deciding to fold it after three mere seconds of contemplating. His brand new Adidas sneakers was soaking wet right now, completely bereft of any sign that it was bought just the day before.

With a deadpanned sigh, he reached his pocket for his wallet, of which he pulled out a handful of cash from. He just needed to secure his trip expenses before actually entering any sort of public transportation. It just made him feel safer, something like a precaution for unwanted incidents. He had never experienced that, but he had seen people did. He sure hoped he wouldn’t.

As a matter of fact, he admitted that everyone else would be celebrating as well. Note that this meant his colleagues, his lecturers, and his parents. Perhaps even his cat back home—you did not graduate from a well known university every day, or so they said. Admittedly, he should be feeling rather happy. But even though he said to himself over and over that he were actually celebrating his graduation, somewhere in his heart he could just never overlook all the things he had lost.

For example, his youth.

Or, the last daily grind in his life that he could actually tolerate.

To put it simply, the past.

He wanted to check his cellphone for messages; missed calls—anything. He wanted to take the bus all the way to the last stop and walk straight home. He needed his daily dose of caffeine so bad he could turn crazy from it. But he knew he couldn’t, which is why he kept his cellphone tucked securely in his bag. He had no need for something that could waver his conviction (funny way to say it, but he decided a more majestic definition would keep him in a higher spirit rather than some crappy substitute like ‘determination’ or ‘resolve’).

The sky was solemn grey, with no strings of silver linings or even a resilient ray of sunshine. Even though the rain had subsided, the world’s ceiling was still ominous. Looking at the weather, one could expect another burst of rain falling down anytime. He regretted his decision to wear his brand new sneakers for this ‘special’ day very, very deeply.

He closed his eyes for a mere second.

Now what?

He entered the university. He studied. He graduated—now what?

Oh, of course.

He sighed again, and made a mental note to buy instant noodles on his way home. He didn’t think about his health, or even the dismal nutritional value of the food—he just felt like it. If he was really going to celebrate his loss, he ought to do it with something special. In this case, he thought celebrating by destroying his body would be appropriate. But he dismissed the thought several minutes later, deciding that he just wanted a full bowl of instant noodle broth to keep his body warm in this temperature.

Third sigh. And he noticed he was approaching his destination.

He wanted to go home.

He wanted to sneak behind his stack of pillows, and bury himself in a big warm blanket, but he knew he just had this coming when he accepted the offer.

The bus eventually stopped, and he dragged his feet, rolling his eyes when he caught a glimpse of his Adidas down there, and gave the cash he held to the driver.

He had arrived.

Still in the middle of collecting his mind, he stood still and took yet another sigh. There went his last shards of youth. There was no other choice. The celebration would have to wait until he got back home.

Another sigh.

He had no idea why this company would want someone like him.