You know how I feel about you.
I know how you feel about me.
You know how you feel about me.
I know how I feel about you.
So why aren’t we together?
Because I make a worse ex.
Worse than …?
… than being a good partner.
As in when the paradise of the relationship ends …
… then the nightmare of being a bad ex from yours truly begins.
What if I promise you will never be my ex?
What if you only promise what you can keep?
What’s wrong with trying?
What’s right about being honest to oneself for a start?
You think with your mind.
You feel with your heart.
How can we be together?
How can we be apart?
You know how I feel about you.
“How was it?”
“How was what?”
“Was it good?”
“What do you think?”
“Was I good?”
“How do you want me to answer that?”
“What about you?”
“What is about me?”
“How do you feel?”
“Why don’t you tell me?”
“Are you okay?”
“Are you okay?”
“Is it okay then to say that we are okay?”
“Is there a “we” now?”
“Do you want to file a motion against that?”
“Is it something worth doing?”
“What is worth doing to you then?”
“Why don’t you find out?”
“Is that an invitation?”
“Why don’t you just accept?”
“What is the risk?”
“What is life without taking a risk of not knowing anything ahead?”
“Is that how you describe this whole thing?”
“What whole thing?”
“What do you think has happened?”
“Why the questions are getting longer and more complicated?”
“Why do you keep answering my questions with questions?”
“Why do you still continue doing that?”
“Why do you think I keep up with you?”
“Why do you think I keep up with you?”
Have you been considered exceptional?
Or do you think you are an exception?
There’s always an exception in everything. Especially in every big picture of a society.
I am always intrigued by certain findings in polls or surveys. There have been numerous “researches” that indicate, for example, people of my age in the country I live in:
• hardly walk
• hardly read books
• hardly exercise.
Meanwhile, as I look around, or perhaps as I stumble across social media feeds of people I know, I see them running (be it for “status updates”), reading (be it for “status updates”), and exercising (be it for “status updates”, but why wasting sweat for just as such?) in various locations.
Of course it is easy to say that I do walk, read, exercise and not being asked in surveys. But if the surveys and polls indicate that they present great pictures of how a society is and does, then we shall wonder on who were surveyed? How these surveyed people represent people at large? And if we do not see ourselves in the surveys, are we all exceptional exceptions?
Sometimes, I could not help wondering about these ‘anomalies’.
We often tend to see a whole society from these big-picture perception. Or, labels.
I used to think, unfairly, that majority of Colombians must be involved in illegal drug business. I fail to zoom in possibility that there must be artists, literary thespians, professors in the country, and definitely religious professionals not involved in dirty politics.
People often think that Indonesians are not well-versed in literature. I am often amused to see number of books stacked in bookstores in Indonesian, and writers keep coming up to prominence every year.
I used to think that all people in Western countries are sophisticated. That is until I realize that wherever in the world, richness and poverty go together, literacy and illiteracy go together, different choices of life and in life do happen.
Sometimes I also wonder, there must be a fellow cinephile in Zimbabwe, or a fellow avid reader of English books in Papua New Guinea. I have not met them yet.
My wondering sometimes extends to the possibility if these exceptions to the ‘presumptive big picture’ has to live based on the ordinary norm of their present surrounding. Maybe that’s the case here, and everywhere else.
We can only wonder and ponder.
Every nation and place on earth has their own annual homecoming holiday for us to celebrate. Or to come home to. Be it Eid, Christmas, Thanksgiving, any kind of New Year, we make excuses to celebrate these holidays with our loved ones.
More often than not, it involves coming home, or simply being with family members, either the nuclear or larger ones.
Every year, these holiday seasons become moments to look forward to for those wanting to celebrate, and to anticipate for everyone. We allocate our leave days for those specific dates. We save up so that we can share and spend greatly in preparation for and during the holidays. We book tickets in advance.
We prepare everything in advance.
And yet, there are those who spend the holidays differently.
There are those medical staff, policemen, 24-hour convenience store attendants, delivery clerks, cab drivers, waiters and waitresses, who still work around the clock serving families and people who celebrate the holidays.
There are those whose religions differ, and there are those not opting to have any religions.
There are those who have no house to come home to.
There are those whose freedom is taken away.
There are those enjoying the brief quiet moment of big cities temporarily vacated by its migrant residents.
There are those with broken hearts that leave no place for forgiveness yet.
There are those in solitary solitude.
And for these people, the holiday is also theirs to celebrate.
Each holiday is meant for everyone, regardless any differences. Each one of us takes the holiday’s spirit, and carries it accordingly, as much as we can only take and accept.
For those who bask in the festive atmosphere, this is your holiday.
For those who choose to whisper the celebration in the quietness of the heart, this is your holiday.
And in this holiday season, we may just need to acknowledge the differences to understand each other.
Because only when we realize that we cannot live without each other, we can start to forgive and forget sincerely.
Let’s talk about investment, shall we?
Ah, yes. I can see you groaning, your yawn and disinterested look you are trying so hard to conceal right now.
What puts you off? The word ‘investment’ itself? Count me in. I did not even fake interest when I heard the word for the first time being shoved on to me. Really. I just left the word immediately, and never wanted to return. Until now.
Now when I feel at least half of my life has passed. Come to think of it. We have lived in the world more than half of our possible lifetime in the world, right? Or maybe not half yet. But we are definitely inching closer to that half-point mark.
And at times like these, I could not help wondering, what have I invested?
If you ask if I questioned ourselves about financial-related investment, the answer is both “yes” and “no”.
“Yes”, because what and how much we save is always more important than what and how much we earn in life.
“No”, because investment also applies to how we live our life.
Do we invest our time in doing the work that makes us happy?
Do we invest our expenses in what we need, rather than what we want?
Do we invest our brain to knowledge, instead of aimless pleasure?
Do we invest our tastebud to culinary, and not snacking?
Do we invest our love to the right people?
Do we invest our life to the right causes?
Do we invest our time well?
Well, who knows?
I cannot answer that for you. And that sucks. It does. You don’t feel pleasant whenever you are forced to look back at the past, only to realize so much, or too much has gone to waste, leaving you at whatever state you are in right now.
I have gained. I have lost. I have earned. I have lost. I have loved. I have lost. I have lived. And will do so until the luxury is taken away from me.
It does not hurt to spare so you can make investment. I cannot say it in a more subdued or subtle manner. Put aside extra time, money, effort, attention, what have you, to invest. See how your investments grow over time.
Or maybe by the time they grow, you won’t be able to see. That’s okay. Others will see, leaving memory of your presence intact. See, investment is preserving yourself. To be immortal. To be lived and remembered forever.
Be afraid not of making bad investments. For you can always do over.
And that’s my birthday note this year to you, dear.
Let’s put some imagination in our investment, shall we?
“I am sorry.”
I put my head down.
I only nod quietly.
“I truly do.”
“Uh … Am.”
“I truly am. You said “I truly do”, while it’s supposed to be “I truly am”, because earlier you had said “I am so…rry”, which were you exact words, so …”
A chuckle follows. “You’re still a grammar police after all these years.”
A polite small laughter ensues. “Old habit dies hard.”
“I can see that.”
“What can you see? The way I dress? Well, this is kind of emergency and may not be to your liking …”
“No, no. I don’t mean that. Please.”
“… but I am only kidding.”
“Ha! Yeah. You got me there.”
“Well. Yeah. I got you. There.”
How can a second of awkward silence feels like a century of a lifetime?
“I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“I was on my way …”
“Oh, that direction?”
“Yeah. You headed to the other side?”
“Yes. They’re waiting for me by now.”
“Oh, if you must go then, I …”
“I think I must.”
And to think how many times I play possible scenarios of how we will meet again, in a different time, in a different place, in different clothes, in different shoes, in different hair, and in different manners. Where’s the angry glance? Where’s the cynical smirk? Where are the tears waiting to fall?
“Yeap. That announcement is my cue.”
“So. Goodbye for now?”
We wave. We turn our back. We walk.
I hold my breath. I let it out. I put both hands on my jacket.
Should I turn around? Should I run again? Should I chase just to say everything I’ve wanted to say but I couldn’t?
I keep on walking. I keep on thinking. I reach my phone.
I stop walking. I look ahead.
“Thank you. For everything.”
So this is how it feels like.
To see your dearest one has left the world.
So this is how you choose to leave.
A quick exit, a giant step.
You don’t give any chance for us to breathe and to realize.
That you’ve gone.
All you leave us with is memory.
And you made sure you leave aplenty.
Be it your over-the-top acts when you’re passionate about something,
Be it your wide smile, so wide it often took over larger part of your face,
Be it your sharp words, much more like ranting, when anyone or anything got in your way,
Be it your over abundance of attention when you fall for someone,
Be it your writing, ever so sincere you crafted from the heart.
Be it your books.
Be it your walk.
Be it your photographs.
Be it your presence.
The ones that you choose not to carry with you up there.
Instead, you generously put them down here, in our hearts.
You’re still doing good, even as you say goodbye.
So good, that we can do nothing but to wipe the tears that start falling.
You did good in this life.