Thursday, January 26, 2012, 5:48 PM
A favorite selection of nonfiction prose that I published on my older blog amelanniza.blog.com. Letters, confessions, dreams, essays, diary entries, translation. Forty titles in total. Newer nonfiction prose is compiled under the label Mere Drug.
The Greek God
It was magical. I met the twenty-one year old Greek god on a Wednesday morning at the end of March, 2005. Something amusing happened in my encounter with him.
I was sitting on one of the wooden garden benches near my campus gate. My Writing-6 instructor did not come, so I had free time and chatted merrily with one of my classmates.
To my surprise, there he was — the model material, the lad that paralleled a member of the Irish boyband Westlife. His reflection flashed on a glass cover of the announcement board in front of my seat. My heart leapt. Only then it occurred to me how breathtaking he was.
For a split second, I turned my head at his direction. He kept on walking, undisturbed. As he passed me by, I admired his beautifully proportioned face. So calmly he continued to where he was going. Supporting his stalwart 185-cm figure, he walked steadily upright. His steps were rigidly slow, almost robotic, declaring strength and confidence.
There was something mysterious about the way he looked, something foreign. His skin — strikingly fair. His lips — naturally reddish. His classic straight nose resembled the artistic carving on the face of a Greek statue. All created the stereotype of a Caucasian male. But his jet black hair and dark brown eyes were no doubt Indonesian.
He returned and passed my bench again. Still talking to my classmate, I threw glances at him. He noticed me too this time and casually gazed at my direction. His brilliant eyes cast the softest gleam behind his half-moon reading glasses. I sensed high intelligence. Knightly was his dignity.
Not far from my seat, he met a friend and they talked. How masculine and mature his husky voice sounded. Although their conversation seemed rather serious, his face stayed neutral. Taking my chances, I deliberately stared at him. I stared and stared and stared for as long as ten minutes. Realizing my attention… he blushed! His pale cheeks turned pinkish for a moment that tasted like slow-motion bliss.
Believe me, it was exceptionally entertaining to see such a tough, self-possessed, and sophisticated lad reddening with embarrassment of being stared at by a girl. Never in the history of my life had I seen a grown man flushing like a little child. Had there been no one around, I would have burst in mad laughter.
Hilarious was my Wednesday encounter, yet sweet at the same time. When else do I get to see the most gorgeous lad in campus blushing with juvenile innocence? Call it a foolish infatuation if you wish, for I fell in love with him there and then.
Student no. 0403xxx
IG646: Writing 6
April 27, 2005
Student no. 0403xxx
IG646: Writing 6
April 27, 2005
You said you would reply. I knew you would not. Of all the people you keep in your life, I might be one of them, but never the most valuable. There are books, movies, stories, families, friends, flirts, a dog, a cat, a postcard, a turkey, cups of strawberry yogurt, and then there is me. The incorrigible hierarchy of your thoughts files me last.
Oh, how forgetful I was. Forgive me. I can never forget the gym: your permanent love affair. If tomorrow the world ended, you would save today to visit your gym, would you not? The day I arrived first on your list would be a day in another lifetime, perhaps a dream.
Were there such a bond, it broke. A year and one more cannot add to something significant. How about another? When I write you, tears stain my eyes. Maybe I should not tell you this, as you hate to hear me cry. I must not, must not whine. You want me to be jovial and full of life. I am to tow myself out of the dark. Negativity suits me not. That is how you see things. But I do cry. At times it turns inescapable I pray for death. I recognize too well not to speak of suicide when you are near. Killing is unspeakable; weeping is unheard of.
I am agony. You are poetry. He is sanity. A constant liar is all I am to you. But now comes the moment for me to tell the truth, unmasking the layers of charade to something you never knew existed. Distress dictates. That is the way with living. Life is foolish when I do not ask for it. You wish everyone to be happy. I can never be. This course I choose, you experience nothing of. You, my darling love, the sum of my heart, gain the finest of everything in a world where joy becomes the norm as it is something attainable from day to day. It happens effortlessly easy for some. Others, on the other parts of the globe, struggle simply to feed. Here, suffering replaces sunbeams. Or did you not notice?
They cease and they dry. Worry not of me. Sorrow subsides as sleep arrives. I am becoming weaker as I grow old with time, but I shall survive the way a woman deals with betrayal. Occasional madness is the insignia of the presence. It paints my nights and I shall make do of what I have for I am perpetually grateful to see through the screen of your soul. How is it possible that an evening shines bright with the sun? Your twilight looks densely blue, sparse of stars. Mine is a pitch black of clouds.
Will someone please devoid me of this use of adverbs, please?
Those smiles you saw were deceitful. They belonged to someone else who lived a forced fib. That someone, she thought she found a fairy tale with wonders and worship, when all it was a misleading mare. Puissance so artful it brought her delusions of rapture. You know how intoxication ends, always in a series of headache, possibly toothache, and mystifying fatigue.
Pressing to be sincere I pictured you in the most romantic character of modernism. You, dramatic by dusk, deadly by dawn, were the North pole of a human magnet luring my awe-struck haze toward you. Like gravity, you inveigled me, ant to sugar, and I was there on your window. The unlike two attracted. I fell, and I fell hard.
Streets, trees, houses, the scent of my hair, this thick humid air governing the whole town, even the garbage can, they all remember your name. The quasar that fluctuated my temper, I cannot hide. Everywhere there is you. Yet, I have to go. You and I are adversity. One only exists consuming the other.
Kiss my cheek, tender as cotton candy, kiss it with the lips you locked for me. And I wonder, I wonder how my postcard is sitting. Will it fly back to where it belonged? Let me make some pink lemonade while you are asleep.
Love left us none, none but fallacy, the second you pronounced it in the past tense. I loved you, too.
Saturday, April 17, 2010, 4:02 PM
To write is the force that jolts. It rains, trains, and strains. Streams of luck and misfortune, melody and melancholy, hatred and infatuation, fantasy and any happenstance in between must never replace the beauty of your remoteness to me.
Oft as not I reflect. Might one be as dismissive as forgetting another? One might, for instance, kid and hypothesize, for the sake of jolly, the way you would conduct your common-sense interaction with me. (Or for me?) Have we not, practiced the very habit of hypocrisy, evolving from one lead to another only to pursue a trend of what was once an ongoing amity?
Thesaurus is therapeutic, won’t you agree? From one, it breeds novelty, as you would transform hematite to gold by means of your phenomenal formula of alchemy. Spill the secret. Spill it to me. Should both acquiesce, conspiracy applies.
Mine is twenty times neater than the jumbled mass you decorate your chamber with. I refuse burdens, unlike those self-sacrificing choices you revere. Obsessed with heroism, your character developed a fetish for benevolence. One that ruins. Unfortunately, however fictional in your case, amity befits enmity. But I am unmotivated today. Prevent me from any more slander. This is spite. And you are reading phlegmatic convalescence.
None of this is logic, you see. I am the poet of your future, as you are the alchemist of my past. You know how delusional poets can be. Did I say delusional? I meant to say devotional. Accept my apology.
O’ venom, o’ bad blood, why must I shift?
Silent hopes are a myth. There is only silence so loud it pains my front teeth. Why could you not sustain? Was it incuriosity? It changes. You were once loved, as I love a younger kin. You were my loneliest moon, my soap bubble, my butterfly. Better than glee, you were energy. I constantly reasoned you. Important as it was to figure the equation, heartbeat informed more. The thrill, hitherto one-sided, multiplied. Into fade, against want, rang through the stratosphere, your words were heard.
Bereavement familiarized itself, nonetheless. By now I have memorized each sequential medication. Step one: recurrent observation. Two: mild questioning. Three: news sorting. Four: audio affinity. Five: occasional outburst. Six: lingering incubus. Seven: sleep disorder. Eight: unwanted frenzy. Nine: normal breathing. Ten: appreciative education. And then, then there are subsequent others, too many to mention, till I reach the ninety-ninth step where a dead star revived.
Toxic were the notes of your piano. How could you do that to me? Your emotions must have decayed somewhere but I know not when. He owns me and I am red I am black I am jade. But you, did you discern? This choppy overstatement, this… this inelegance, superfluous shambles… is something I ought to stop.
Humility spoke through you. I learned so much from someone unaware of his own brilliance it shone even deeper. Trouble stalked from your pessimist’s mug day and I am thankful, for it has matured me more than a thousand amalgams of unearthly theories. You are real; you are faulty. You are perfection; you are tragedy.
Things are lost. That is the nature of life and death. When you are there, from state to state, remember me. Should you need time to cease and fare, remember me. I am the synthesis of your energy. Remember me.
Monday, April 19, 2010, 11:54 PM
My unconditional love,
You are made of water, of tears. The mystery you unearth, I do not follow. She draws you, concealed to the rest of the universe. There are many and I am but a face in your herd. This I regret much. I wish I were the mirror you look into every day. Will I not be what you dote upon outlandishly?
Emptiness ends in three days while you carry on with the mission of alleviating hunger, and my part is done, derisory in comparison, insignificant to your dedication. Belittlement controlled the rotation of my Sun. At times I could not see. Yet, you, with the forte of Hagar Qim, established dynamic perseverance through the years I was lost. Too much I see you in my dreams; too little in actuality.
Spurious beliefs sprung as the demons enticed me. I was one of them: an evil spirit. Am I? All my life, blinded by greed, by jealousy, I shunned your affection. To serve megalomania, I broke you. You granted my origin: a parent to a child, long before I sensed myself.
Lassitude sucks me. Words that count will wrangle and I am weary. My language has gone stale. I resume not. Disdained of taciturnity, I fail to render what you mean to me. How justly selfless you are when preaching is never your tint. It is delicate; it is chance. The bruise is brutal. You are the superego to my id. I paused and testified—illumination clarified.
Wishes are here to brew, while I am powerless, for you to gather my silent treachery. Is it grueling to be gallant? Responsive you are to me, to one and all, I am not you. But I am to strengthen you, to last. No other fears for me the way you do. Belatedly you are the cure. By gremlin, iconic mermaids, is sorrow forbidden? Am I to blame?
Water is calling. You play forward, goading her as lullaby pacifies the shriek. Is she a mask to negate and veil this undeclared sorrow? They wronged you. But you wronged her too. He is to shame, is he not? Ill-fate thrust me upon your path. I cannot think. Sentiment pines to publicize; mouth lays still. Appetence and frailty pull me away from pen and paper.
Again I saw you, brooding, facing an illusion. Your unmatched beauty unforgiven, envy loudly whispered to me. I need to be, till the day you renounce this pagan Earth. You know not the heat of my palm, this urge I vow. For you, you are the only I will shield with life. Bland with all this cliche, I have tried, truthfully I did, and forty-eight hours went. Time ticks and I am testing. It is but to document sensibility; a sea of generosity you bestow upon every person and me. Things that I hate, I tolerate.
But him, I cannot stand. He does his best to gladden me, even the time he advised not to be reliant. He hates his, and I am to obey the norm. I had to say no. Lies and lies he showered me. He is poison as you are remedy. Where you require me, I shall be. Every now and then he resounds you, and I want to run, to leave, and return to my twenty-nine years of succor. I am yours; you are the fluke that pilots destiny. When I distract and camouflage, in anguish I see your light.
Love should not be compressed in seven hundred and fifty words. Overused verses inked from the ancient contemporary world and this is all I am. I am here. Through the grief, through the waters, the muted tears, I am here. This you will not see, but comprehend. You covered me and for that I shall embrace fatality. Diversion calls. The one that knows the most is the hardest to tell.
A seahorse dances reaching a coma; it’s near. Farther from night, closer to morn, we spin amongst the stars. I caused you weeping; I am sorry. Deplorable, punish me. Your heart has mended through secrecy that thrives, from violence, from shouts, to the roots of my falling hair. Stay.
Friday, April 23, 2010, 7:21 PM
956 Days, 8 Hours, 41 Minutes
My blue-eyed boy,
Is it forbidden to call you mine? I should not indicate such possessiveness to your name. I promised to let you go. That is the best for everyone’s sake.
I forced myself to sleep this morning. Five hours restored a bit of the strength I need to open these sunken eyes. My being able to rest was quite a contradiction. I thought I would spend the day collecting drops of tears in a torn plastic pail. Was crying the first thing I did? I cannot retrace. The billiard clock on the wall proclaimed three in the afternoon and you were nowhere to be found.
The girl in the mirror stared at me, vacantly. Her face was convincing enough to conceal the misery, I thought to myself. I am embarrassed to be seen weak with woe. I had to pretend. Leaving my room involves hassle when I am brokenhearted. But my voice did not tremble as I spoke. I was saved for the day.
What was I to do on a Sunday afternoon without you? I scanned through our second conversation. How juvenile my typing was when I used shortened words with the ghastly vowel dropping. I said “u rmmbr” when you verified if I was a teacher. That was simply atrocious. I do not comprehend how you were able to tolerate all that.
Without anyone to talk to, I consulted the Internet, probing for articles that contain the most unpredictable topics as how to mend a broken heart. You are lucky to be able to discuss this with your sister and your best friend. I have no such privilege with mine. Only loneliness lingers. I lost interest to talk to anyone. You are my source of wonder. Does that sicken you?
Time ticked and I moved on to other records of our nightly chats. In August of 2008, you were still much too in love with me to let me fall asleep. Where did the feeling go? Washed away by mere needs of lust? Dimmed by the fear of depression? Your love ended in two years and seven months. I do not wish for something impermanent.
Sunday, May 30, 2010, 9:47 PM
A Secret Wish
Monday, June 14, 2010, 3:35 PM
In a dream last night, I was in love with you.
Beautifully delicate, sparkling as fireworks, you were what I imagined you would be. You danced with a current that moved the air. Everything else escaped my sight. We were of the same year, impossible in reality. And I watched you. I watched you going away with time, leaving the rhythm singing in my memory.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010,3:15 PM
I have lost the will to write. No, that is not true. I cannot write. My only hope vanquished the morning you said I was not good enough for you. Why are you so heartless of a person?
Sleep takes me to realms fantastically bleak and blithesome; I forsake the living. Afraid of who they are, I turn to places where I met you, where you were unaware of who I am: the one that secretly wishes for you to see.
Half of my brain was cropped yesterday morning when I received his call.
“You will be thirty in ten days,” his miserable voice hushed through the phone.
Is it really ten days… I checked my calendar. Oh, yes. In ten days, I will be thirty.
“I love you.”
I am in love with someone else.
“Can I come to see you.”
I do not wish to see you.
“I went to China last August. To meet that girl.”
You knew her for three months, and you went to see her. You knew me for three years, and I was never worthy enough for you to meet me.
“I did not have sex with her, if that is what you worry about.”
Nothing. I worry about nothing.
“I tried to kiss her. It was a vague kiss. She did not respond. She said she loved me, but she lied.”
I said I loved you. I never lied.
“It was only a kiss. I made a mistake.”
You promised to save me your first kiss. You lied.
“Everyone encouraged me to go. I was trying to forget you.”
Did everyone take the decision to go. Did everyone kiss her.
“I want to kiss you.”
My postcard. I want my postcard. My sacred postcard. The one I kept for twelve years. The one I sent for someone who vowed to love me forever.
“I will come to Jakarta and give you the postcard, from my hand to yours. I want to hold your hand.”
Mail me the postcard. I am in love with someone else.
“Talk to me when you are rational. I AM GOING TO JAKARTA.”
Orange lights peeked through my window. A broken vow hung in the air and I muted the world around me.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 11:04 AM – 12:49 PM.
Temptation Taunts the Empty
I am tired of composing lengthy mails and staring at my story draft without adding anything substantial, so I am taking a break to address you.
You said in your last mail you wished to send me a supermarket party-hat for my birthday. Could you please revisit the lovely supermarket and take a picture of the hat so I could stare at it instead of my stagnant Word page? Perhaps the hat picture could be my Muse and I would be able to complete a story a day.
In return, I shall send you a photo of a Jakartan artifact ? something uniquely found in Jakarta ? such as a street musician singing to a stationary car waiting for the green traffic light to pulse back to life, or that ghastly route of our latest public buses Trans Jakarta that circles the main highways of the city.
Fetch your last name. Poets must find our literary last names. While you are in your quest, bid the doctor to inoculate me with the virus that causes my disease.
Yesterday morning I hiked to the crossing bridge above a bus stop. I could see endless roads leading to the places I used to know. And I thought of jumping in my red dress. Would it not be poetic to die in a red dress on a Monday morn? I thought of either jumping or writing someone a love letter. But no one loves me. The letter will be worthless.
Every sunrise I ache to write a love letter and the voice in the mirror gibes worthless, worthless, worthless.
Time changes, but it is always dark when I open my eyes in this room.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 6:52 PM
To Nobody under a Zillion Nowhere Stars
This sullen house, dimmed from fluorescent bulbs that touch the very life of a family of aimless beings, retells a tale of its own.
I seek to taste the rain when the midnight sky is dull as antediluvian charcoals. Like a sheet of foggy blanket, it hides the twinkle of the stars. Your stars.
The sky cries. Cascades of soft, chilly waterdrops wet my bare shoulders. Were I madder, I would soak myself longer. Yet, I have my worries. Father might wake and question me of what I am doing standing under the darkening drizzle in our front yard.
How am I supposed to say that I am thinking of you and your nowhere stars?
You see, Father, I am trying to hide these inexorable tears. Rain washes things away, as it will my sorrow. Tonight, would you be so kind to fetch our sharpest knife, cut away my heart, and plunge it into the deepest ocean? It has been aching for almost two months and I gain no memory of what disorder might persist.
I imagine those prettiest Sirens shall feast upon my bleeding heart and quickly dismiss their lethal ruse. Perhaps it might save an unnamed sailor’s life.
Did you love Mother so much that you prevented her from eloping with her professor, Father? Could my dented heart possibly feel the same amount?
Knowing my father for thirty years, he would simply instruct me to find God. Knowing God, It would not want to be found. And you, darling nobody, would advise me to find a hobby, would you not?
This December I fancy bursting into uncompromising tears as my new hobby. All it costs is but a word. And the flame sparks into a tiny Hell inside my sick, tristful mind. How lovely.
Ah, Agony my dearest lifetime companion. You cling to me as if I were your only one.
Along these lines, I remain, silently scanning the 2 AM gray sky, wondering if your nowhere winter brings silvery flakes of the coldest snow. Nights are cruel; nights are clement. You and I are destined to step outside and embrace their inviting affection. Let them win.
Should your tin heart forget to beat, slightly press both hands onto your chest and listen to the pulse of the snowflakes: understand that you are loved.
Is a wintry sky rose, could it be gold, are you taking sips of it through your nose?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 1:31 AM –
Wednesday, December 8, 2010, 3:56 AM
How long has it been, more than fifteen years? I only write you when I am most alone such as now. This is another trick to divert me from Death.
Half of my life went without retracing your name. I used to write you daily, obsessed with your story, typing it as though I had no morrow. Every little thing you said must be documented, so I thought. And life flew. Things are abandoned. Never you appeared in my dreams any longer. Where have you gone? You were always there, and I left. You loved me more than I loved myself. Yet, I moved on.
I wonder if you prized me better when I was pure.
Envy commands me these days, and for many others in the recent year. I want what I cannot have. Emptiness invites loneliness, and my party is set.
People are crueler to an adult. I must practice sanity, responsibility, and other burdens of maturity. My younger days, when I was stronger, were darker and closer to Death. The shiny fresh cutter felt mildly cool on my left wrist. Sobs stay the same. Today, Death lurks somewhere unreachable, for my fear of disappointment. I grow weaker each day. Which path must I go to save Mother from suffering? Tell me.
They do not want me, as much as I have no urgency for their presence. Is there no fast-forwarder to reach my very end sooner? I am done trying. They suggested calling God and I obeyed. Fervently, I asked for the same thing over and over that it sounded like a hallucinating spell. Lock me up, somewhere with no awakening light. I wish to go.
Motivation questioned my reply, and I mentioned a first and a last name. Subconsciously, it escaped my censure. I scolded myself for dependence. No. I know better to rely on myself. The person is out of the equation. This world needs no more of me.
Starting to commute a little before noon, I shall travel to find a new job, acknowledging my character as another dissatisfied wage-slave. There is nothing left to do for all the other roles are taken. Money breathes power, does it not? We escape; that is all we can do to amend.
So badly I wish that you were real, to put those prayers to rust. Or bring me Death: my illicit lover who is playing hard to get.
Monday, December 13, 2010, 12:25 - 1:23 AM
Where Do Cranberries Grow?
Where do cranberries grow, do you know? Do they flock around the humid desert dry planes, or is it the bitter frozen snowy mountains?
What does it matter?
We, the scorpions bearing venom in our tails, realize better that none matters. Feelings are different forms of illusion, sought by those misled by empty hopes. After times, emotions neutralize and none should be able to care or to hate.
Humans are not made to love. To this notion (perhaps one we discussed times before), I consent today. Hence, cranberries were amongst the subjects of our exchange.
I meant to contact you a very long time ago, as far as Monday, April 19, 2010. In all six months your letter was abandoned, the way I have sinned to desert you. While you are ever accommodating and affable, I could think of nothing, be it in sickness or in health. External distractions were there. But, excuses are not my favored subject; they are not here to abate.
Surely, I am all well, regardless of whichever incident has troubled. Nothing daunts me, and you are aware of this. You have understood me longer. Have I changed? I would like to believe that I was stronger, and writing you now begets a state of detached independence. Who am I to associate to those that renounced my presence?
There is no point in staying where I am unwanted. This, I know a great deal.
Everyone else caused me histrionics, whereas you showed me clarity and strength. For that, I am grateful. I have ridiculed my words, and at times I may appear bizarre. My ramblings, uncompromising, are nothing new to you, and you would condone them.
Further explanations shall reach you, eventually. I owe the news I refused to reveal. You have heard a bit of my current situation. You need not read me. Again, I aim for nothing in particular. Everything breeds emptiness. This is all but an experiment of ego. Inquire to my address if you may, and I shall reply. I promise. Mistakes are not for me to redo.
People and their mindless actions weary me much. I gave my best, but it was not good enough. What joy is there in perturbing others? Simply none. I am out of the tiresome game, permanently.
They complain that they feel lost. As for me, I have never been lost nor will I ever be. It is my sole choice that I do not wish to be found.
Sunday, December 26, 2010, 10:33 PM
The Last Unkissed Girl
This is the tale of the last unkissed girl. A memory most painful, I could not bear to relate.
The night was magical, or so I thought. It was magical then, unnecessary by now. I was bored beyond imagination and there he was. The blue-eyed boy was French. He remembered me from our first conversation where he quoted Dorothy Parker — how could I neglect?
Hours turned and I hoped. In a smile, I wished to see him again, to think of something I had never known possible.
It took us three days to consign the folly. He discouraged at first, but one gingery grasshopper I had to take the leap. He was pure; he was perfection. He embodied the entire happy sum I ever dreamt in a boy. I was not to let him vanish. Fate was on my side, or so I thought.
When I was away, he missed me. He missed me three times a day. When I was ablaze, he coaxed me. He coaxed me with words that amaze. And I waited; I waited.
I waited all two years and seven months to hear him say.
What I heard was denunciation. There was another — one who was made of beauty I was a rejected item. A disposable contact when another was present, I could not outshine. I begged him to stay, but Fate was never on my side.
One Hell after another, why did I let myself hope? When none had agreed, he would not differ from the norm. With promises broken, ugly was a perfect ending. Our sinful Madness was cured.
He kept my smile and I forgo. The bluest of skies does not fright any longer. Be it neutral. I can simply report the facts now that the last unkissed boy has his share of a woman.
Thus, tell me, did her lips taste of Betrayal?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011, 10:47 PM –
Thursday, February 17, 2011, 1:59 AM
Thursday, February 17, 2011, 1:59 AM
Three Hundred Sextillion minus One
My voice went away with the unmindful Muse to an untold well of excuses… Hard as I tried to capture Poetry after hours, no verse materialized. Today will never wait; I asked Tomorrow.
What does Tomorrow bring? She transported me into a land of stars, echoing your midnight blaze. For long, I let it play in my mind. I wondered if I could just lie there all night underneath every glint and glimmer, sending the three hundred sextillion stars to miss you.
But you, darling engineer, shall only amass three hundred sextillion trickles of stars minus one.
You see, many a moon ago, perhaps twenty-six years and so, one star dropped from the coldest galaxy into the deepest ocean. And there you were: my coldest star.
Did anyone stay up all night to miss me today? I suppose not.
#6: Sunday, April 24, 2011, 11:20 PM
(Some Story of Some Steven)
Steven lives on Mars — sixteen thousand kilometers away from Indonesia. Once upon a midnight, he told me he wished to live on Mars, and so much I would like to believe that. Is he not the most enchanting engineer?
It began in January of 2009. Nothing was intense. Days went by naturally. Since we live on very different parts of the planet, we display our polite smiles. After a few months and two short years, the perfect fusion of communication is set: our undying friendship plus a dose of his indifference. All is well.
As we are of water — he a fish; I a scorpion — nothing seems objectionable to us. We can never be wrathful to each other; we only dreamt we were.
If he were Sudoku, I would be Scrabble. He does science and I poetry. When I could not count as fast as he could, he would tease me, as much as I criticized his occasional overuse of cliches. The only affinity bringing us together is imagination. In metaphors, abstraction, verses, lyrics, and rhymes, we speak.
A true gem, Steven writes beautifully since our first day. His vocabularies are more powerful than mine are. Our appreciation for the art of language familiarized the two ends. An incurable word junky, I refused to let him slide.
But the best thing of all, the best thing about Steven is his understanding. Never have I known anyone else who tolerates my apocalyptic misery — no one but him. When I called on Death, he would simply be the kind listener. Always supportive, not once did he preach and instruct me to do this or that. He was there to lighten my pain when others turned away.
Through Steven’s empathy, I found haven.
Should you ask today, I would answer Steven is the one I love most. Regardless, Love may come and go. Ask me again tomorrow.
(I am sorry I am not everything you want.)
#12: Thursday, May 5, 2011, 3:46 AM
#12: Thursday, May 5, 2011, 3:46 AM
Love Needs a Holiday
A little bird told me that it felt sick reading my doting notes to you. Love should be private, not public, said the little bird. And, it added, love should be directly forwarded instead of being ridiculed for public consumption.
I am not quite sure that a little bird is to be trusted. A little bird could conceal a gram of jealousy in its tiny heart. That is indeed possible. Perhaps its brain was fuzzy from too much flying, and thus it knew no better judgment. Who can tell what hidden motives a little bird might carry with its feathery wings!
Even so, its opinion agonized me to a certain extent where I speculated to refrain from writing about you. I worried that it could be right about the unexpected things it told me.
Never shall I make an attempt to entertain anyone. I alone concluded that it would be best if I could divert myself, at least for a little while until I am able to call for a firmer decision. There are always many other subjects worth discussing, so as not to make myself sound insanely preposterous. Some may consider obsession a disgrace.
Apart from this hesitation, I have not been feeling splendidly well. But, this will not qualify as an excuse to skip my daily writing. All the world has already heard of my perpetual inconvenience — life brings no meaning; no one cares; I wish to die this very instant and so and so. Despair dwellers are prone to nonstop nonsense. Some things are unchangeable.
Quizzical agony evokes drowsy nuisance. What headaches are these! I am aware that it is unlike me to be vacillating. There may be other Curses at work, from what I gather, particularly this one I shall never escape. Hence, I promise to write you once I am myself again. Better days might surface.
Whether in splendor or suffering, be well. Let the noon alight to send you my candy kisses.
Thursday, May 12, 2011, 10:50 PM
Do You Know?
My life ended before it began.
And I flew a plane, alone, throughout a deserted meadow of empty dreams and misleading hopes. Do you know how it feels?
You waited patiently for as long as thirty years until you found it. The one who embodies perfection he is all you think about. Nothing else matters. Nothing but this one person. You never met him but in your dreams. And you dream in English so you can converse with him. No Indonesians will dream in English, but you do, because so badly you want to talk to him, even if it only happens in dreams.
The things you cannot say, all materialized, only in dreams.
As soon as you wake, you say to yourself, “I will not think of him today.” It goes on and on in your head like a mantra. But you just can’t resist. Of course you will think about him. All day. Every single day.
Saying his name comforts you, so much it makes you cry. Yet, everything about him brings you tears. You cannot recall how often you cried. For the last seven months, you cried when no one was there. And you learned how to brace yourself, to feign a smile for everyone else. You are trained to represent optimism — your occupational hazard.
But your eyes, they can never lie. Darkness is all you see. Be it night or day, it feels like perpetual Darkness. You adjust.
Accustomed to the Dark, you fell into an emotional coma. Lights flicker; people go; time passes — but you linger. Holding on to one word that crushes your world: unrequited. Hoping for the negation to delete itself, you remove everything else. You forget to live. Because it is always too late for him, because there is always a reason to reject you.
Because he loves you not.
Monday, May 16, 2011, 11:50 PM –
Saturday, May 21, 2011, 5:17 AM
Saturday, May 21, 2011, 5:17 AM
To Love This Blessed House
It started wrong.
I grew up in a troubled, dysfunctional family where my parents quarreled and slammed doors. None of us expressed our true feelings to one another.
In 1978, my mother was about to elope with her law professor who was married to his wife. The wife reported their affair to my grandparents, asking them to put an end to this. My grandparents forced my mother to marry my father who lived in the same block. Thus, the two married.
Our family swelled into chaos without love. Father sought consolation from his siblings and some other bad habit I shall not publicize. Mother turned to her parents and siblings. My brother and I went to school, being dragged into something we could not yet comprehend.
When my sister was born in 1986, Father started to dote on her. My parents fought habitually. I played with my sister because I wanted to, not because I cared about her. Seeing this, my brother developed extreme envy and started hitting me. I feared him, afraid that he would hurt me worse. At the age of thirteen, I decided not to speak with him at all.
Yet, things became worse. Although our parents always supported us financially, there was never any emotional care, or even the slightest hint of loving communication. My brother was attached to his friends, consuming more time away from home. I locked myself away in my room, reading and writing, detaching myself from the world. My sister probably spent her time with my mother, or she read Japanese comic books. As I was unaware of what was going on in her life, I cannot retell for certain.
Violence emerged again when my brother and I were in college. He joined an underground extremist Islamic sect that brainwashed him that it was right to harm people who did not believe in what they believed. This justified his sadistic tendencies. He physically abused me a few times claiming that Mother cared more about me than she cared about him. Outrageous accusation! She never did such a thing.
Even after my brother married a girl from his sect, and they had twin boys afterward, he still cannot control his temper. He expects his wife and sons to obey him at all times, and he resorts to abusive acts when they do something he dislikes.
His injustice continues until today. But somehow, it has brought a blessing in disguise. The rest of the family started to store emotional nourishment for one another. We began talking; we defend ourselves. We know we must protect his children and wife from his sociopathic behaviors.
We grow stronger.
One of my aunts kept telling me to move out, to live with her and my grandmother so that I can be safe from any physical abuse. She thinks my staying here in this house is trying to be heroic. What she knows not is this: I need my family.
I love to wake and hear my parents' bickering without their intending to offend. Does my aunt know how long it took them to change the door slamming into these soft murmurs of a married couple who has grown to understand each other's flaws? No, she doesn't. But I do.
I love to have the twins barging into my room after midnight asking for origami papers. Or to see my sister teaching them to fold these papers into fishes. Or how happy they were when my parents took them to see the dolphins at the ocean park. Or how they showed everyone in the house their new toy planes. I love how my parents have finally become real parents with their dedication to nurture the family.
My family proved that when you love something, you stay with it and do what you can, instead of leaving and running away from the core of the problem. As my brother traps himself in his psychological disorder, everyone else is mending. We taught one another perseverance, forgiveness, and above all, compassion. Without the adversity and acceptance of my family, I would not be the resilient person I am today.
And that was how I learned to love this blessed house.
Sunday, May 22, 2011, 5:21 AM
Your Misanthropy My Tranquility
My blog is a lie.
I warned you, did I not? You, of everyone, know this best. What good does it bring of posting all days in a week? Talk, talk, talk — when I mean nothing of it. Of those carefully composed words hidden in pleasantry.
There are they who fail to understand. Those who are not you. To them, I am but positivity. An encouraging force, I strive not to break. Unbreakable.
Your words are chocolate. They yield cravings. Think of it as my way of resisting temptation. A promise I made to a friend who counseled me not to reach you nor speak of you. She made me promise.
All the time I tried to stage a promise, I wished you would miss the blankness of my page.
When things collapsed, she was nowhere to be found, and he was another case of repeated perfidy. Where did they go? Why was everything so wrong? Lies, lies, and more lies. Everyone was busy selling pretty little lies in pretty little bottles. I braced and braced and braced myself.
Words lie as much as people lie as much as my blog is a lie. Foolish I was to depend on another. As if I had any choice. But you.
Betrayed, I broke my promise. Only darling engineers know how to fix broken clockwork poets. Their words the ointment to misery. Their misanthropy — calming as placid waters — better than any lies.
Time testified. You fix me as you used to. You make me think. You make me write. And things are all right again. How mysteriously easy it is to speak to you. Like coming home.
Like falling to the one place that we both know.
Monday, June 20, 2011, 5:33 PM –
Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 5:18 AM
Tuesday, June 21, 2011, 5:18 AM
I love you till the day Loneliness kills me. Yesterday was such.
From October 18, 2010 until July 6, 2011, there are eight months and nineteen days. How short it lived. How trivial. How insignificant. How I never matter in your life.
It must be lovely to be in your position, where girls adore you for who you are. Some people have it so easily in their life. I never had any man wanting me so much he wants to die.
I want to die.
Remember when he left, I had you to fix me. You were the only one who was always there. And somehow, like everyone, you left. What did I do wrong? What was it? Why won’t you ever forgive me? Something changed. You changed. Am I not deserving of your time? Surely I am not. You never loved me from the very start.
And now I will never hear from you ever again. I wanted to shut myself out of the world. You are my world. I need to free myself from you. When you left, I had no one. No one will fix me now. No more magic potion to re-grow my wilting heart. But I can live with that. I will live without you and your song. I will live.
Unrequited. It has always been… unrequited. And unrequited love concludes in three years. So, I shall see you when three years pass. July 6, 2014. I will see you then. Right now I cannot face you. Give me three years to neutralize everything. When we see each other again, I will be a new person, one who is stronger than this ugly mess I wish not for you to see. Understand my choice. I know you would understand, like you always understood me when none other would. We had nothing. That, I can internalize.
Reciting your name echoes lovelovelove in my head. I loved you. Exactly how much, you will never know. Goodbye, sparrow.
Thursday, July 7, 2011, 2:01 AM
When Flowers Gaze at You
Thunders woke me at ten this morning. I thought it was a dream. Standing in an open field with tall yellowing grass that moved with the flow of the drizzle, I saw the sky turned a shade of pale gray and that frightening sound in the distance squeezed my heart to pain.
And then I opened my eyes, only to find the actual blast that was strong enough to buzz the neighbor’s car alarm. It felt as if two Greek gods were throwing lightning bolts at each other right above my roof.
All the times I was distressed, with the blare of the thunder or people crashing things outside my door as they fought, he would be there to comfort me. He would say he loved me, and that he would always be there for me. But people lied and feelings changed. Today, I know better not to call him no matter what crazy sounds I hear. Today, I know how to be strong on my own.
When I saw your profile last night, I wanted to know how you were feeling. I may not know you and I may not care. I am but words on your screen. And so are you. A minor difference is that you remind me much of my little brother who was never been born. He would be fourteen by now if my mother did not have her miscarriage.
The night after she was hospitalized, I saw a little boy in my dream. His face round and his soft baby hair was the exact color of yours. I wish he would tell me something, that he was well or anything at all, but he just stood there in all muteness.
Perhaps babies who were never been born could not speak human language. Perhaps he would have your voice. Would he tell me all the silly things you typed me if he were alive, I will not know. I never saw him since. I often wonder if he was all right, the way I sometimes wonder if you are. Do you have flowers in Massachusetts and Michigan? Perhaps they will tell me where the loveliest engineer in the world went.
When flowers gaze at you, tell them you are well, for we are but words on screen. We may not know; we may not care. We may one day disappear as memories erase our names. So tell the flowers. We can always tell the flowers that we are well.
July 8, 2010, 2:49 PM
A Mere Drug
Darkness calls. Are you there?
I dreamt of writing a word-whore. For how many yesteryears, I am unsure. You, horrific poet, have made my dream come true. For that alone, I send you inestimable appreciation.
I may not be the most proficient language-user, nor do I possess the biggest vocabulary. The lack of such information can be amusing at times. A worse kind of foolery will be not writing you.
Poetry, on the other hand, is something I consume daily. Mostly on days where Loneliness lingers.
And you asked, how fast can Loneliness kill? Slower than a bullet, yet twice as deadly. She eats a portion of your heart on Monday, and another chunk of your brain on Tuesday. That, I know.
Without a heart nor a brain, would we still be human? No feelings, no thoughts. Only a walking carcass. Too healthy for Death, too frozen for Life.
Your passion for Misery matches my own. I never had the courage to assume that one day I would read the lines from someone who is as disenchanted as I am. We go through a game of survival day after day, and at the end, we feel nothing but emptiness. No matter how hard we try, it comes down to a room of apathetic gloom.
Despair. Despair. Despair not, good poet. For we may find each other through all this Labyrinth of Nihilism. How willing would you be to give up everything?
I demand nothing of you, as much as I promise nothing of myself. When we add two worlds of nothingness, would it amount to something? To everything?
When everyone else deemed you unlovable, you must allow me to say the opposite. Much curiously drawn to depressing moods, I can spend forever reading your bad poetry and shoddy fiction. No, I think true love never exists. There are only you, me, and eighty thousand other opportunists of the Internet lining up to have our shot of Cupid’s arrow. Dreaming. Waiting. Believing. Awaking from our thirty years of emotional coma.
Discard your Sylvia for me. When the pain grows unbearable, I wish to be the only one you call.
Monday, August 1, 2011, 8:22 PM
An imaginary reply from an imaginary poet, to my Okcupid profile essay.
No One Was Watching
You are never in love with me. Never can. Never will. That is why. The reason beyond all other reasons.
I wish I could explain all this to you. But you are not real. A phantasy. Floating on air; emerging out of nowhere. You will not understand. No one does. None of it is real. How is it attainable for anyone to grasp something unreal?
No one I meet is anything like you. Not even close. You taste different. Do you know that? Of course not. You cannot taste yourself. Only I can taste you differently. You taste so, so, so, very delicious. Like chocolate and hazelnut melting slowly inside my mouth. Like… swinging so high reaching the bluest clouds of my afternoon sky. Running in a meadow chasing butterflies.
Like unknowingly falling asleep into a dream where all my wishes come true.
No one compares. How can anyone be better than a dream? But of course, you will hate my elevating you into something you think you are not. Won’t you? You will say there is something very wrong with my brain. My perception is all distorted with childish reverie and naive melancholy. Is it not?
At times, Sanity hits. I have to open my eyes. Realization rebukes. How is it workable for every song to remind me of you? You, you, you. And I let go. This is the best choice we compromise. A life without knowing you would be far, far darker. Pitch black of agony. And I am grateful for whatever happens.
In my story, no one was watching. No one was listening. No one answered me. Nothing matters anymore. You grow more and more beautiful each day. And I let go.
Thursday, August 4, 2011, 12:26 PM
In a Floppy Disk
(The Story of You and Me)
When everyone else fails me, there is always you. Do you remember me?
I want to go back to 1990, the day I first saw you in fourth grade. Or 1995, when I was obsessed with documenting our days together in a short story that never ended. I kept you in a floppy disk. Yellow, pink, purple, green, or blue. They are all disposed somewhere, or perhaps kept in my wooden chest where I guard all the memorabilia of childhood.
Do you remember? Our homeroom teacher introduced you as a transfer student that day. We just started the first week of fourth grade. You were standing in front of the class, tall and lanky. The kids would call you foreign for your reddish hair and very pale Caucasian-like complexion. I called you by your first name. Like I always do.
Even your first name sounds non-Indonesian. I would search and search for your three names on the Internet. Never finding any satisfactory result. Do you hate the Internet that much? R, J, A. The three names combined bloom into little flowers that warm my heart. I love your names.
I could ask her. I found her. We talked a few times. She told me you told her you liked her. I knew it all along. Something like that would happen. She is so much prettier than I can ever be. She called you crazy. I always knew you are.
When we shared the same desk for I don’t know how long, a year or less, you tortured me every single day. Simply because you were considerably taller than I was. You threw away my eraser. And my bag. And you pushed me. Not once you talked to me nicely. Always the accusation and mockery. Bullying a girl one and half years younger must have been fun for you. I hated school for that.
The next year when our teacher assigned another boy to share my desk, you still pushed me. But I pushed you back. Hard. So hard, you fell onto a chair. I can never forget the dramatically shocked expression on your face. Yet, you faintly smiled. It must have been intriguing for you to see me react in the end.
Little boys should have known better to express their feelings.
It took me a year to gather the courage to push you back. I am so proud to be able to defend myself like that. Creating the day I will never forget. The day I keep rewinding in my head five years after, when I realized I had funny feelings for my torturer. Too late. You were nowhere to be found.
Little girls should have known better in recognizing why little boys tried every possible way to intimidate them.
Life would have been so much easier if the timidly quiet girl had stayed together with the viciously bullying boy she met in fourth grade. Despite their daily fights, they became habituated with each other. Grew up. Fell in love. Married. And lived happily ever after. You and me, Crazy, we would be so perfect together.
Life is not easy, nonetheless. It wanted a different, more complicated story. A twisted, tragic plot. Everyone grows bitter in the end.
Recently when I re-discovered Tommy Page, his physique at twenty reminds me so much of how I remember you. I bet, if I had seen you in 2000, you would have looked exactly like him. Short, straight darkened hair, soft as a baby’s. Whitish skin. A pair of buck teeth. That devilish smile.
And then came the paintings in my mind. When we played volleyball together, just the two of us. When you thought it was hilarious to surprise me wearing your gorilla mask. When I wrote to you every night of 1995, in a tiny red journal with a cartoon kangaroo on its cover. Wishing you would be my very first kiss.
You shelter me in so many ways you would not imagine. The way I escape into memories of you when things fall apart. I wonder if you ever thought of me, too. If you typed my full name on your computer screen to find me. Do you even remember my names the way I remember yours?
I miss you. You are the only one I will miss forever. Everyone else disappears, one by one. My expiration date lasts only two years. Did you know that? They all left. But you stay. If I could have one wish, I wish to meet you, just to see you for one last time. For you were the only one who feared not to hold me and never let go.
This is me, and my usual four-hour sleep. I doubled my age since the days of the rainbow floppy disks. I wish we had never parted. We would be so perfect together. You and me.
Never let me go. Blanket me in our safe childhood memories. Tommy Page, floppy disks, and you.
“Something held us close enough to tear us all apart.
Nothing ever chased you from the places in my heart.”
Nothing ever chased you from the places in my heart.”
Saturday, August 6, 2011, 10:38 AM
If Only She Were Mine
Rain is about to storm. I stand next to the fragile roof. Capturing rainbow butterflies.
My camera cannot keep up with the brisk flapping of their wispy wings. Blurred images. I try and try and try in frustration. Wishing I had bought a better device for rare moments such as this. Butterfly rain. Dreamy as fairy tales.
The couple and their daughter emerge from their rented room. They tell me about their moving out of my parents’ house. Two chatty people. A shy little girl. And then, the secret. Our secret.
“What did you see?” I ask.
“A woman,” answers the mother.
Shadows. Ghosts. Haunting the house for ages. They appear so gray. Like the burnt smoke of bad memories. No one rented the room long enough. Is it the ethereal little girl? She is so whitish, as if blending with the transparent air. Our spirits prefer delicacy.
A wet, cloudy afternoon. The girl’s scream breaks the silence. Screaming for help from the farthest side of the lake. I sprint to her rescue. Heart racing for her life. Save her. Save her. She must not die.
The vast man-made lake almost sucks her last breath into its murky bottom. Her boat tumbles close by. Bobbing upside down. I grab her just in time. Pulling her to the cemented shore. Calming her frantic sobs. Drying her long wavy hair with my jacket.
“You are not supposed to play in the lake alone, you know,” my voice is a whisper. More to soothe my distress.
She nods in desperation.
I hold her tight, upon my longing heart, fearing she would evaporate. “Let’s get you home.”
All the time we spend walking to the house, I wonder if her parents are there. Where are they? Are they worried at all? Some people have no right to keep a child. Silently, I curse them.
If only she were mine, she would be safe from harm. With me. Always with me. We would love each other endlessly. Forever.
Holding her trembling hand, I keep wishing she would be mine. Make her mine.
Thursday, August 25, 2011, 4:14 PM
(The Reply to Four Years of Exhaustion)
We were in love.
Obsessed. Fascinated. Bonded to each other. Like a moth staring at a blinding light bulb. Under a spell. The enchantment was too strong, we did nothing but surrender. What else were we to do?
Talking for twenty hours a day. Could not wait to wake to see the other. Those adoring mails. The silly pet names. Intoxication of infatuation. Our very first love. Pledging to have our first kiss in Monas. We were fourteen again.
You were a poet; I was enamored. The little things you did to please me. Tokens of love. How you begged and you cried. You fought for me. To be with me. It felt good to be wanted. Desired. And so, you were my Sun. The blue of my sky. We lived for each other. Two sentimentalists unaware of the harshness of reality outside our safe little bubble.
Our Madness was a fortress. A shelter of consolation. The missing puzzle. What we needed to complete the self. Filling the emptiness. Shunning the loneliness. No matter what force was there to break us, we came running back to each other. Gluing the pieces together. Unbreakable haven.
Yet, some issues were stubborn enough to deter you. I wanted marriage; you wanted sex. I felt fine with my weight; you hated fat. Water against fire. Both immutable. No compromise was to be found.
Your solution arrived, nevertheless. In her. The promise of sex. The tempting beauty. The optimistic composition that made my suicidal shade a reign of terror. Your passport was intended for China. Never Jakarta. I overestimated my worth.
I begged you to stay. I prayed to God. No one heard my agnostic prayer. You chose her. Her. Someone I had not even known existed. The wrong one. For when things fell apart, you returned to me. In filth.
And you expected me to pretend nothing had happened? That I had to love you once more because you wanted me to? What was I, your slave? Your egomaniac head could not perceive my falling in love with another man. You acted as if he had never been present in my life. All to entertain your demand.
Yes, it was all your fault. I did not point a gun to your head to leave me. No one forced you to choose her. But still, you chose her. Yes, you are shallow. You wanted her because she is thin. Choosing someone because of her weight? What is not shallow in doing so? You were not even in love with her.
What kind of love needs to stray to be sure? Do you honestly think groping two other girls would validate your devotion to me? Only because they failed to captivate you the way I did? You are not in love with me. You are in love with you. With what you lust. I never matter. Neither do my feelings. It differs not which girl is there for you, as long as you get what you so badly want. It is all about you, is it not? I am but a pawn. Someone to follow your orders. To obey your commands.
What about communication? We merely converse to undo each other. The blame and the hurt. Words become ugly. And uglier. There is no communication anymore. Only you stipulating your mandates, your way of life, your fancy. Everything I do is wrong to you. Stop trying to run my life the way you see fit. I am not your instrument. You have no authority over me.
What about stupidity? Rape threats are not stupidity. They are a crime. A violation of liberty. If you think they are as humorous as a joke, think again. No one calls them funny but you, and those sociopaths lurking somewhere to torture their victims.
This is the sound of my exhaustion. It reaches a plateau where the only emotion I bear is hollowness. A thing of disinterest. I feel nothing for you. Like watching a hot afternoon unfurls in Jakarta. Nothing is there to absorb. Only everyday monotony. Deadness. The same unfeeling frost I felt when you left. Your absence is my freedom.
Fondness becomes censure.
Love turns to contempt.
Estrangement is where we end.
Love turns to contempt.
Estrangement is where we end.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 3:36 – 6:34 PM
“I loved you forever. Forever is over.”
“I loved you forever. Forever is over.”
Dauntless dames who suckle their grudge — their wisdom I imbibe. Nothing eludes their wrath. No human is their water. All is far; all is barren. No ears dare to feed their say into the core of any object.
But the Universe shall hold them. Dear.
Hence, shame is to swallow. I declare: Never to endorse the whore to spoil my mother. Never to let mirth sprout from every inch of the soil she treads. I pledge to banish the whore. None remembers. Die, without any cry.
Only Mother, my sisters, and I will reminisce. We shall commemorate. Louder than the whore’s burning and bleak recollection of her past — desecrating her own father.
We shall retrospect: One of this Earth must be crucified, body and soul. A thing of vegetation devoid of any heart. A creature that neither reasons nor recognizes the function of its brain.
How fortunate the animals, damned as they are, that they govern their instincts well. Lucky are the mad, useless as they are, able to feel the pain that makes them fall. And still, they savor the twinge of their insanity.
She, the condemnable woman who maims her own kind — vandalizing my mother. Every sorrow she suffers, how little it may be, is the fruit of the litanies to my God. I swear.
Friday, September 9, 2011, 6:33 – 9:52 AM
Between Crazy and Clingy
(Indecent Sounds You Should Not Hear)
You seem so helpless. I want to blindfold you, strap you onto a chair, and do nasty things to you. Is that what you want to hear?
The thought crosses my mind. Several times. The more I think of it… the crazier I feel. My OCD has not been cured. Sick. Sickens me to death. You sicken me. No one can have such powers over me. I am stronger than that. You are not to read this, either. I was to protect it with an Indonesian password.
Think of something else. Read some poems. Those pieces of junk they publish on the most prestigious poetry magazine in America. Who would read those?
I cannot be nice, or sweet, or encouraging, or kind, or patient, or… human. Violent. Unkind. Crude. Unrefined. Awkward. Masculine? Definitely dominant. The most aggressive of my kind. My inhuman kind.
What is this? What am I? What have I turned into?
Going thirty-one. Craziest of all time. Impulse after uncontrollable impulse. I want to lick you like a lollipop. Make you mine. And now I am crying. This pathological depression. A clever excuse, huh? Love? Not so. Lust, perhaps. Delirium is more like it.
Mad. You are driving me mad. No, I am not sorry. I want to feel so much. I want to die. You make me want to die. Falling into space. Into oblivion, where I disappear without a trace. No one remembers. I have never existed. Where is the Death button? Should it not be here somewhere? In case of emergency, push the red button. Where the Hell is the red button?!
Such incoherent things I say. Running inside my right brain. The left hemisphere a big hole. Empty of logic. Enough reason to call me crazy? Weaker, instead of wiser. Like a child trapped inside a woman’s body. Not knowing where to turn. Not knowing what to do. No, not confusion. Avoidance.
Your song! Again and again! It is everywhere. I am in more pain than you are. Much more pain. How am I supposed to make you understand? No one understands. Not you, not the entire stinking world. I am doing this to myself. Malaria fever must feel better than this giant mess. And I am not sorry. You should be sorry. The only thing you can say to me. The only you will ever say to me.
Undo my death, you bloody moron! I am falling without a sound. Before I fall, fall without a sound, catch the last drop of my wasted tears. Hold it in your right hand. Remember me: the craziest you will ever find. I cannot, cannot, cannot contain myself.
Dilute me in your hate. Push me away.
Sunday, October 2, 2011, 10:02 – 11:04 PM
The Toxic Smile of a Drug Called Love
I shall not.
Though I am gone, it is still the start. Our start. What is this plurality I am referring to? We are but one: I. An idler with too much time within her universe.
And I remove myself from the carefully planned painting. Beautiful and guarded. The forced smiles of two escapists. Or is it only one?
Thank you for the letters. Thank you for the knowledge. I most thank you for the two nights of consolation. The two times in my life where I felt like I had someone I could rely on. That I was not alone. I had a friend. Someone I could always turn to. No one has ever been so kind to me. No one. For that alone, you shined.
But like them, you ceased. You left. Everyone leaves in the end. There must be something very disenchanting about me. Do I take too much time? Demand too much dedication? Say the most discomforting ideas?
Love, love, love, I called your name in three. My careless words. For you. They failed to make you see just how much you meant for me. Do you know how foolish it made me feel?
Like I never mattered. No, I never matter. Such empty hope to say the opposite. From these bundles of people that animate your world, I stand at the very last line. Unnoticed. Unheard. I am tired of acting sprightly as a five year-old to get a reaction. Or having to appear helpless as a lost child. These are not who I am.
Oh, now I recall the exact phrasing. I am depressing. Too depressing. Why would I not be depressing? When you, and them, are the stairs to the bridge where I see my brain scattered in putrid blood on the road beneath it.
You make me wish to die. You and everyone. Even my friendship is unwelcomed. They matter. Not I. How long will it take, an hour? Less than ten seconds, love. Less than five!
Thus, I quit. When everything stopped, I vanished. A place where I am unwanted. The realization that our paths in life will never cross each other. Today, like three years ago, you and I are strangers.
Should have never been found.
Saturday, November 12, 2011, 7:37 – 8:25 PM
The Nature of Suicide
It was 1999.
I was nineteen, too oblivious of the complexity of the world. Yet, I longed for Death.
My life was enviable: passing the elimination for the best university in Indonesia, majoring in psychology, where only 3% of all high school students all over Indonesia could achieve this feat.
Yes, I was an A-student in my twelfth-grade, so attempting a standardized examination was the easiest task for me. I did that too many times. People thought I was bright. No, I was not. I just knew how to ace a test, without cheating. Recognizing the pattern of the questions and practicing how to answer them was enough.
But no, I was not inwardly mature. I wanted to study abnormal psychology since criminal minds fascinate me. They still do. What escaped my assumption was the burden of psychological research.
I had not known that an undergraduate degree in psychology, from a reputable university, would require such hard work from the first semester. Literature research, planning the methodology, interviewing, surveying, analyzing data, concluding, and the class presentations. Oh, not to mention the debates from professors and classmates during the presentations.
My eighteen-year-old self was so timid and clueless that I could not compete with the 150 students I had in my year. My first semester GPA was a lousy 2.0, plus, I had to repeat two subjects. I started losing interest, and eventually skipped all the final tests I was supposed to complete at the end of my second semester. I told my academic counselor I was not cut out to do the program and quit.
In the two years I stayed at home being a useless bum, so lost and so depressed, I developed suicidal thoughts. I blamed my parents, my family, everyone, for the darkest feelings I experienced. For each year, I wrote in one large journal that would equal a novel length composition. All complaints and death wishes.
Purposefully, I bought shiny cutter blades; set one in its case; and gently pressed it onto my left wrist for countless times. I cried and cried and cried endlessly. Despair was the air I breathed. Death my closest friend. I had no one.
Not a single drop of blood came down my wrist. Was it lucky that I am afraid of pain and blood? That was the only thing cancelling my suicidal urges. The writing also helped to sort out my thoughts. Although I talked to no one, I still had my journal. The very best listener of the doomed.
After two years, I gathered enough courage to apply for an industrial design school. Afraid of the same failure, I forced myself to be tough. More mentally prepared. More informed. Even when I quit college for the second time, I wasted no time to apply for my third major. This time, it was English literature.
Literature is the greatest joy of my life, and this I knew from my last major. Everything felt so effortless and I was constantly happy. Taking twenty-nine credits a semester was all fun. Life became ecstatic.
And then 2007 arrived. I failed my first scholarship application. Another in 2009, and another in 2010. Followed by two ironic cases of unrequited love. Forty-one companies rejected to hire me as their writer/editor until early 2011.
Teaching is not emotionally rewarding anymore in my sixth year. Graduate school does not want me. No man needs me. I have zero friends. Depression visits often.
Once upon a night, someone told me the most beautiful thing, that he did not want me to feel alone. He was the only one who ever said this to me. I clung to every of his words as if it were my second soul. But he left, like everyone else. I keep wondering if I have done something overdramatic that hurt him. Perhaps he never liked me that much as a companion. Perhaps friendship is not something I can maintain.
Misery loves me a little too much. Despair is once again my onliest. I have no one. With it, comes Death.
I am content, with refusal, with loneliness. As it was before, the only thing stopping me from killing myself is my fear of pain and blood. I can never hurt myself or do anything to invite accidents to happen to me. But Death is still my only wish.
We are the invisible. We bleed and cry alone. People fail to see us with their unfeeling eyes. They cannot hear our pain. We are inaudible. In the end, we are always alone. And alone we shall die.
Everyone leaves. I always knew this from the very start. The best thing to do is to detach ourselves from the world. The best thing to do is not to care. No one cares. No one hears us. Alone is our destiny. We shall not rely on others. Alone, we grow stronger than the rest. We mend our hollowed hearts. Alone.
Friday, November 18, 2011, 3:38 – 5:03 PM
I woke up thinking about you. Searching for you. Hating myself for doing whatever it was I did. You are nowhere to be found.
These days I cry much more than I ever cried in my whole life. A dying spiritless muteness. Avoiding everyone who is not you. Everyone is not you. Thus I am Sadness, in its weakest human form. Wiping these dews of tears, over and over. Calibrating my fuzzy vision so I can inhale back Reality.
Gazing through night’s solitude. Dreaming of the elusive stars above my dilapidated ceiling. Too far away to reach when I am wingless. Only rectangle sheets of plywood covered in careless pastel yellow paint. So old and cold. Unfold me. Untold me. I want to break free from hating you.
To love you would be a sin. A lie. Needing you is hyperbolic. I am absorbing the ill-fated irony. Delighting in this unfairness. A story meant to be nipped. Not even a mystery. Because I know not of happiness. What is happiness for? When all my smiles are forged. Of social affirmations. Again, a lie. Milder than proclaiming I ever loved you.
Did I ever tell you I loved you? I cannot remember. If I did, you know the very truth. When you decided to ignore, that was when I knew. How insignificant I am to you. How disposable.
But I am used to non-reciprocity. Years have trained me too well. It feels like opening the front door one morning and greeting the rising sun. Like sipping water. So plain and colorless. When I was younger, much younger, I signed a life-long contract with Sadness for something like this. Something like you.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 12:48 – 1:56 AM
Sickeningly Sweet Roses
As I stopped crying, the pain stays inside my impassable eyes. A headache waiting to slay. These hollow, dry melodies speaking to my ears through metallic-blue headphones. Words, and more of those burning words. People singing their supreme grief. And your piano. The tune I have been trying to expel from my memory.
Sometimes, when it becomes unbearable, Stevon appeases. A nineteen-year-old lad, a chemistry-major, sitting on the threshold of his grandmother’s house. Holding his dear sketchbook, painting the sky. All around him is the prettiest rose garden, red as a broken promise. I can taste its inebriating invitation. Temptingly sweet. Reminding me of his troubled mind.
“Look at me, Stevon,” I call. A Moon sparrow resting atop my head. Tilting her weary head. But Stevon sees only the empty air. Evening breeze. His hate-stained sight is now human. Like everyone else’s. Every night, I wait for him to finish his fairy drawing until he enters the house. Once again staring at the concave space before he closes the door. Leaving me in this habituated lonesomeness. Forever.
Until the next day arrives. The urge to watch him is stronger, and irrepressible. Once a song, now an order. Too powerful to fight. Each time, he fails to perceive the red-haired girl entreating behind the rosy bushes.
Why did you find me? Life would be better if you had not found me. You knew it was not meant to be. Two strangers we were. Unaware of each other’s presence. And two strangers we shall be. How would you like to be termed an empty chance?
It is cold where I linger. Midnight destabilizes my immunity. My skin corrodes. After thirty-one years, this I testify: Broken heart kills.
Look at me, Steven.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 2:56 – 4:32 AM
When I Die
Take my heart with you.
Unearth the dirt confining me. My carcass, transitioning into dust, rotting slowly by the hour. A feast for slithery, slimy flesh-eaters.
There: See not the eyes that wept for you. Awoke and dreaming. The lips that prayed for you. Even when they were not speaking.
Your unwilling hands. Shred my chest: Dig and dig and dig. Snap the ribs; crush them in pieces. And you have my heart. Dead, speechless in its violent red.
Rip it. Snatch in your most brutal power for it means nothing to you. It means nothing to you! Not a second worth of your time. But yours, nonetheless. The ground, everyone else, may have all of me but my heart. It is yours: broken, battered, bruised.
Place it in a glass jar; seal it. Lock it tightly and forget it. Like you have forgotten me. Like you never wish to store me in your long-term memory. Like every other piece of me that never matter to you. I never matter to you.
Then, in your loneliest hours, unfasten the lid, and listen. Listen with all your heart — one that repels mine. Listen to a lullaby:
How the chemistry of your body produces a magnetic field potent enough to attract one foolish heart in another continent. As if the world were one giant mass of dark matter and you alone shine. Like a lighthouse. My heart points to one direction.
How the recipe of your soul — your empathy, discernment, your words, ingenuity, your sound, your shadows — harmonizes a symphony of matchless charm.
Your vision is a magic seed. Once planted in my brain, it grows and grows and grows. Occupying every nerve, every cell, with your voice. The one I only hear. Everyone else is mere background noise. Fading into nothingness. Everyone can never be you.
You, darling, you, you, you! To love you is my happiest. So simple. So natural. Without force. Without any conscious attempt to prettify. A need, like breathing. A purpose, like living.
Even when I fail to tell you this, or to show you, or to prove to you, my heart sees everything. It feels everything I feel. It crystallizes the story. Our story.
I have nothing else to give you. When I die, take my heart with you. Listen to its lullaby. That you are loved. Forever loved.
Thursday, December 1, 2011, 2:30 PM –
Friday, December 2, 2011, 7:32 PM
My Pain Is Mute
I am saner asleep. These dreams take me to strange dimensions where you are forgotten. Secrets unreachable to your knowledge. You are not welcomed in my nightmares. Not anymore, sweetness. Closing my eyes was the best decision I did.
Conscious, the madness strikes.
It begins with acceptance. You and I are not meant for love. Ill-timing. Unpunctuality. Bad luck. Bad answer. Bad choice. Irony. Questions and contradictions. Fate’s little game. Whichever excuse presents itself, nothing fits. Love shall not speak. Was there such a day that you saw me in a different light? I believe not.
As the body recognizes the symptoms, the paralysis intensifies. It mandates me not to leave the bed. Stay. Or else.
Or else, the brain shuts down the world. This world that you and I know, it does not exist any longer. My frail judgement rejects it at once. Succumbing to Cheap Romance: a Universe whose core is you. Little planets align to structure a circle, forming an imaginary bubble, my shelter. Away from them. Those who cannot feel. Entities who deify optimism. The opposite of my kind.
Can I not feel? Not to be who I am? Oh, when Misery my drink. Sobs are my daily sunrise. A ritual to start my day. They lighten the thoughts of you. Where I kiss your lips softly. Ravenously. My arms around your neck. Salty teardrops running down, blemishing your metal clavicle. Where we lie like this all night, imagining the shapes of stars. You will be reason and I am rhyme. One perfect picture of poetry.
A self-indulgent part of me insists that you would be there, always, as you said you would. I thought you were my friend. My chocolate, my swing, my sparrow. But, no. Busier than the bees. Louder than the lies. Darker than disaffection, you never need me. The way I never need you here with me.
And so, alone I lie. In silence. A living Hell of both sorrow and solace. A most tranquilizing torment.
Thursday, December 1, 2011, 6:48 PM –
Saturday, December 3, 2011, 6:39 AM
Must I Write Your Name on Every of My Page?
These names. These people. Ones I used to know. Those I thought I knew. Changing their faces. Come and go. Meant to be forgotten. Like scentless sceneries. Like sunsets.
And the only name I search is yours. The only face I retrace when night falls asleep and sounds kill themselves. Your brown hair. So very short. Your manly brows. Those serious-looking glasses. A pair of green eyes I cannot memorize. Your hollow cheeks and the contour of your jaw. The shy, half-smile that always makes me smile. A faded green T-shirt. Your right hand holding a pessimist’s mug. One stiff posture in front of a whiteboard. The very first picture I saw. The one I love too much.
Oh, how I love you too much it seems fictional.
Sunday, December 11, 2011, 11:54 PM
Forget Them, Wendy. Forget Them All. Come with Me Where You’ll Never, Never Have to Worry about Grown Up Things Again.
I wish to be loved as I loved you.
With every cell of your heart screaming my name. The blood that runs through your veins boils at the thought of me. Your brain holds no other memory but waking and resting searching for my existence. Even your subconscious realm, the one you try to repress so, retracing every minute and hour of your sleep confining me within you. Protecting me with dreams.
But no one can love the way I loved you. Too perverse. Too violent. Forbidden Madness. Everyone rejects it. You know none of such feeling. You feel so little, so socially acceptable. The world is too cold for my furor.
I alone save it. The aim of my being. Loving with the devotion of a child. So blind, yet so pure.
How am I to be someone I am not? I can’t. All my life, I believe in it. In the notion of chastity. Of preserving myself, completely intact, until the one comes along. Only then will I kiss him, and he kisses me. When we finally find each other.
Call me insane. I am a fool. For believing too much in something that is not of this world. Fictional idealization that exists solely in my fantasy. A brain made of sugar and spells. Eyes clouded with shrouds of “happy ever after”. Of forever and self-sacrifice. The beauty beyond what is seen.
If I am to believe in “one true love”, a man will save himself all for me, for finding me: the one designed to complete him. He will wait. All his life if he must. Not wasting his kisses, his touch, or his warmth for anyone else. Because he knows. His heart tells him that there will be one woman who deserves him. His one and only.
Throughout his life, he guards his soul, his flesh, his desire. For me. For there is only one me. Others will never matter. His eyes see only me. His heart points to one direction: mine. And he loves me because I am irreplaceable. Because no one has my voice, my words, my scars. No one tastes exactly like me.
When we finally find each other, we will know without a doubt. The lighthouse that shines brighter than a sea of stars. The years we carried dreaming of each other. A lifetime spent waiting. Our forever has arrived.
And why? Why would anyone settle for something less than once in a lifetime?
Thursday, December 22, 2011, 9:32 – 10:47 AM
One Thousand Hours of You
You were Shyness; I was Strength.
Do you remember? The first time you saw me, I appeared blindingly smart, so you said. “This girl must be reeeally smart, ain’t she?” That admiration in your native Jakartan dialect. Almost contemptible. You were always one to praise and commend with all sincerity.
The only one who ever told me I looked better with weight, when I kept whining that I wished to be slimmer. You said I was pale being thin. Everyone else suggested I should have shed some pounds. Everyone. These people could not see me like you did. They lacked the goodness in your eyes.
September, 2002. Our first class. Grammar 1 with Ms Pepi. I was twenty-one; you were eighteen. Meaningless little girls. We did not know each other. Not yet. First day of school was always the scariest, was it not? The anxiety of fitting in. Not knowing who was who. I remember everyone sat so orderly, more girls than the boys, in rows of those folded metal chairs. In the old building before the college tore it down to construct a newer one.
Our morning to afternoon classes. Where we would sit next to each other, but not all the time. Occasionally sharing text books. The lunch break at noon. When we went to those food stalls under blistering heat. Walking together to the front gate right after the last class. Waiting for our bus to whisk us away. That Alazhar bus stop. Through rain and shine.
Look what I found today: our paper works for the British and American Cultures class. Pages of tea drinking customs and the notion of “American dream”. Covered in filthy dust.
The time in the computer lab we spent browsing the Internet for our data. And these are the only two bundles of souvenir I keep of you. Your name on each book. We did not even bother to take photos together, did we? Thinking we could always meet anytime we pleased.
But you left. How dare you? My bus stop was first; yours second. You should have stayed in our bus. I should go earlier than you would. Just like our bus stops.
I would assemble a time machine and turn back the clock to have our bus days back. We always chose the first front-row seats behind the driver. You were afraid that you would be trapped among the other passengers if you sit on the back; I needed to exit earlier.
The snacks you bought to eat in the bus, because it took you two hours to arrive in your faraway house. Your mother calling you on the phone to come home soon. Our chats of just about anything: lessons, friends, instructors, families, ourselves, when you met my crush on campus the other day. What did we really talk about?
How our lives merged into one.
Two hours in a day. Five days in a week. Four months in a semester, for six consecutive study terms. How long was it? Twenty-one days times twenty-four months times two hours. One thousand and eight hours. What we spent together.
Of all the twenty-seven years and ten months of your life, I had one thousand hours of you. You and me. No one else knew me during these hours and no one else knew you. Only the two of us. And our own secret adventures. From one bus stop to the next…
If I traveled in our bus for one thousand hours, would it take me to your last stop? Tell me which way to go. Tell me. We must say our very last goodbye. Like we used to do in our stupid bus.
I miss you, Shyness. Every day. You will always be my strength.
Monday, January 2, 2012, 4:53 – 7:59 AM
And Then There Was Death: the Master of All Things Mortal
I open my window when morning strikes. I have to. My door is closed. I darken the light. No one needs to see me when I remember you. I want to be alone in my thoughts. When I piece our puzzles together.
Day one, day two, day three. All the three and a half years we were together. English majors. Reading, writing. Talking, analyzing. Being there for each other. For our friends. For our future. September 2002 seems like centuries ago. Nine years.
Would you have thought that of all those people, you would be the one who shatters me? You took a piece of me with you.
I should have been there for you through it all. I wish to hold your dying hand, reading you poetry. Or Sense and Sensibility, perhaps? To make you feel sheltered the way you made me feel safe just by sitting on my right. Just by being you. I should have cared so much more.
You could have told me. My mind is as dull as my presentiment; I would not sense anything.
I know. You would tell me to be stronger like I used to be when we were younger. Not all soppy as I am now. I used to be ruthless, didn’t I? Not caring a bit about anyone but myself. Ignorant and unwise. Do people soften as we age?
No one else can know about this. I only wish to talk to you. To see that gray circle next to your IM name turn yellow. Talk to me. My cheeks hurt. My eyes sting. I have been crying since Saturday. My head aches like Hell. I need your solace right now, like in the past, when we shared our blissful, blessed days.
You, Solace, you you you.
Send me pills from Heaven, will you? Two months should be enough to reach that darn place. Call me when you get there. You took a piece of my heart and a piece of my memory. But you forgot to take me with you.
Monday, January 2, 2012, 11:56 AM – 3:36 PM
The Black and Silky Tenderness All Choking Me
How’s Heaven in January? Tropical, or wintry?
In December we had some heavy rain. But funnily, not as disastrous as the years before 2011, with crazy floods and the prolonged traffic jams. You know how Jakarta is.
What made December weep less? Didn’t it miss you as much as I do? You were born in December. A child of rain. It was rain that brought you to this Earth. And when you left, much of Jakartan rain left with you. It only saved us one dry December.
I talked to our friends about you, on Monday. (Was it Monday?) You shocked everyone. Be very proud. You won the race; you truly did. Of the thirteen students in our class, you’re the first to meet Death. So soon. So unreal.
Everyone misses you. But everyone also stopped talking after one message or two. These people cannot stand misery as much as I can. I did tell them that I’ve been crying since Saturday. No one knows how much I miss you.
They have a life, don’t they? Spouses, lovers, kids, busy busy jobs. I have nothing. All I have is pieces of reminiscence, of you, of us. And tears. Torrents of tears. Tears that begin as soon as I wake at twelve midnight and last till four in the morning. Just staring at my screen. Wishing for your IM to turn yellow.
Waiting for you. Talking to you in my jaded mind. Writing about you on my blog. Bursting into sobs again. Not knowing what to do. Wondering all the while.
Will all Goodness go to Heaven? Or will you just rot under the ground? Buried in damp, indifferent soil. Creepy, crawly, slimy, slithery necrophagous insects eating every part of you. Leaving a soulless skeleton.
Let me tell you something. English majors don’t go to Heaven. We go to libraries. You surely took the wrong bus this time, you silly duck.
Monday, January 2, 2012, 5:54 PM –
Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 10:53 AM
Title is Mr Hayes's.
Title is Mr Hayes's.
We met once, in a dream, when I was nineteen.
It was afternoon. The hospital where I had stitches in my arm long ago — a childhood injury for being too insensible. I was walking out when you were heading inside. What was I doing there? Alone?
Serenity. The lane leading to the main entrance. White wooden pillars. Gray stony floor. Dry summer breeze. Squeaky swings that I loved so much. People passed us by. No need to stare. A short knowing glance. Everything melted into silvery blur of lights. You. Me. No one else. Not a word. Not a sound. Lightning-struck recognition. We found the one.
Were you twenty-one? The image was too hazy to recall. Your short straight black hair. Black eyes. Fair skin. White shirt. Black pants. One hundred and eighty centimeters of height. Our gaze almost reached the same level. Go back and remember. You must remember. The most beautiful feeling when we found each other. Your heart pulling mine.
I’ve been counting twelve lonely years to get to you. I found you once and now it’s your turn. Leave the dream and find me now. You have to find me. I believe in you. Only you can make me feel better. Make me whole again. No one understands. I need you to find me now. Find me.
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 8:08 PM
Image is from Wonderland Jelly, texturized on Picmonkey.