Sunday, January 18, 2015


"Look at me. I am a wreck," she said, weeping. Her eyeliner was smudging, her mascara running down her cheeks. The stream of tears washed away their blush, yet her face was red due to overflowing emotion. As her cosmetic mask was fading, she exposed her vulnerability in a way that only he could observe.

"The way I see it, you have been through a storm, but you're not exceedingly messed up. For that, it is quite natural to assume that, instead, you went on a rather smooth sailing," he replied, admiring her for being unbelievably candid.

"But people judge me nevertheless," she added, although she was now no longer looking as sombre.

He shrugged. "Oh, they do little else."

"They need to find something more interesting to do," she responded solemnly. "Would you, though?"

"I'll leave it to you, who does it better than anyone else. After all, we are our own worst critic."

"That's better than what I wanted to hear." She smiled, at last.

With her in his arms, suddenly the world seems to be a little kinder, because now he has a place to call home.

Monday, December 01, 2014

December 1: At the Start

It is true that one can never forget their first, because that is when something new starts to roll. My 2014 has been full of firsts, and each of them deserves to be celebrated.

First thing first, though: I cannot be more grateful of my choice to be back to journalism last year, because this year it brought me the opportunity of first-time out of town and overseas reporting assignment.

The former, a trip to Wonogiri, Central Java, was arranged for a piece about a village called Kepuhsari, and how the people are striving to keep the tradition of shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) alive. After it was published, I submitted the article to a wayang-themed writing competition, and I ended up getting my very first award as a magazine journalist as well as being the only female winner.

To follow that is my first ever work trip abroad, conducted less than a month ago. I went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which a friend of mine described as, “Visiting your neighbour’s house across the street”, to cover the finale of a reality show titled Fit for Fashion. It was quite glitzy and glamorous, with my staying in a five-star historical hotel called Majestic that lives up to its name, and the chance of meeting Jimmy Choo.

It has been an interesting ride, career-wise and all, and I am looking forward for more to come. On another note, I cannot help but contemplating the journey so far.

I remember starting this year feeling hopeful, especially after I interviewed a feng shui master as the Year of the Horse was coming, and he said that good fortune was coming up my way. Being an avid reader of the magazine’s horoscope page, I come to the conclusion that although it is interesting to take a peek into what the future holds, my fate is neither set on stone or written in the stars. It is up to me to make my choices and decisions, and I choose the path that makes the most of what I have and enables me to be the best I can.

A first time is a curious thing. As a first-timer, it is natural to be inexperienced; no matter how much one is expected to be, because of their age or whatnot. Unsurprisingly, one’s age does not necessarily correspond to being well-exposed to the mysteries of the world and knowing how to deal with them. I once had the thought that every day is, in a way or another, is a first day all over again, because to some extent it gives one a(nother) chance to start over.

As the year is ending, I look back and am feeling pretty content. I am not saying that I am completely over the turbulence called quarter-life crisis, but I now have a private health insurance card in my wallet and no credit card, so I suppose that is a start. No matter how much I like surprises, I can be terrible at handling stuff that started as something unexpected. Thus, when it comes to accidents and emergencies, I would like to have a safety net prepared. Remember when Julia Robert showed Richard Gere an array of condoms in Pretty Woman and said, “I’m a safety girl.”? It is something like that.

Nevertheless, I am ready for more surprises, and to be a first-timer all over again.

Photo taken from here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Longing

"I will miss you."
"Of course you will. If anything, you have to, because I will miss you too and you know that. After all, you'll be deceased, not forgotten."
As he laughed, I watched his pain melted along with his joy in the form of tears and smiling eyes. I could not help but joining him. It was like our own way of celebrating life.

I remember the first time I had the feeling of longing for someone even more just after we met, the moment he waved goodbye before dissappeared from my sight. When I told him so, he said, "Me too. Shame that we only had so little time."

In the meantime, we have told each other, through our words or embraces, for too many times, "Please stay, a little longer." I knew he wanted to. I always knew I wanted to.

Today, he did not leave me they way he used to. This time, his hands were cold. And I was the only one who got the chance to say, "I will see you soon."

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Singkat cerita, satu keinginan lagi sudah terpenuhi.

Keriangan duniawi dini hari ini wujudnya berupa hasil unduhan beragam aplikasi Android yang sejak dulu ingin dimiliki tapi tak bisa, maklum ponselnya impoten karena sistem operasinya Symbian. Mulai menjajaki aplikasi-aplikasi "gaul" semacam Path dan Instagram, juga Line yang unggul dari WhatsApp berkat fitur nelpon gratis, tapi yang paling mengasyikkan adalah Blogger Mobile, jadi bisa ngeblog di mana saja dan kapan saja, hore!

Senangnya, masih punya kesempatan untuk menikmati hal-hal baru (dan punya gadget yang bisa dipakai nge-post foto di Twitter, jadi kalau disuruh livetweeting nggak harus pinjem hp atau kirim foto via Whatsapp lagi hihihi).

Selain itu, juga ada waktu untuk nostalgia, yang datang tepat waktu di akhir pekan.

As I have said once: Once one is a debater, they will always be one. The only difference is the setting.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dari Kotak Sampah

Kotak itu hampir kosong. Tidak seperti biasanya, ia membiarkan sepucuk surat tersisa di sana.

Dibacanya lagi nama sang pengirim. Nama yang ia kira telah menghapus segala ingatan tentang dirinya. Ia tahu, ia seharusnya tak usah banyak berharap. Makanya ia sempat berusaha meyakinkan diri, bahwa surat itu dikirimkan secara tak sengaja, atau mungkin salah alamat.

Rupanya, ia tidak salah-salah amat.

Surat itu bahkan tak berisi basa-basi. Hanya sebatas tautan tak bermakna, pertanda bahwa sang pengirim bahkan tak pernah punya niat untuk menyuratinya.

“Kalau bukan karena kebetulan, saya rasa kita tidak akan pernah bertemu lagi,” ujarnya kala itu, pada perjumpaan mereka yang terakhir.

Sudah berhari-hari berlalu sejak surat itu tiba, dan ia masih belum sanggup membuangnya. Pun ia belum kuasa meredakan rindunya, atau godaan untuk membalas surat itu. Tak usah panjang lebar, pikirnya, cukup memberitahu sang pengirim bahwa ia mungkin membutuhkan sedikit kehati-hatian ekstra. Siapa tahu, dengan begitu, menyisipkan “Apa kabar?” di dalamnya jadi tidak begitu canggung.

Tapi, haruskah?

Memang, sebenarnya tidak ada tuntutan apapun untuk itu. Sebenarnya, ia hanya ingin. Tetapi, ia takut. Takut akan segala macam, tapi kemungkinan terburuk adalah suratnya tak dipedulikan.

Kalau sudah begini, rasanya waktu seolah tak pernah berlalu, maka ia belumlah sempat melanjutkan hidup. Padahal, mereka sudah berhenti saling menyapa sejak empat tahun silam, untuk alasan yang bahkan ia tak ingat lagi, akibat pertengkaran yang penyebabnya sudah ada jauh di luar kepala.

Mungkin, ia hanya sedang merindukan masa lalunya, tepatnya saat-saat mereka masih rukun dan bahagia. Tapi, kenyataan seolah tak lelah mengingatkannya, bahwa setiap hal di dunia bisa habis masa berlakunya.

Ada masanya untuk berpindah dan berganti. Bisa jadi, ini juga berlaku untuk perihal sengketa yang tak sempat dituntaskan. Seberapa pun besarnya ia berharap bahwa waktu cukup memiliki daya penyembuhan. Baru sekarang ia menyadari, ternyata berakhirnya jalinan erat dengan teman sepermainan sejak remaja pun bisa menyebabkan patah hati.

Ia ternyata perlu sedikit usaha agar hatinya tetap teguh. Lagi-lagi ia mengingatkan dirinya sendiri, bahwa mereka berdua sekarang lebih baik hidup sendiri-sendiri.

Dihampirinya kotak sampah itu. Ia menarik napas, menghirup tekad dalam-dalam dan bertindak lekas-lekas, sebelum ia keburu berubah pikiran. Sejurus kemudian, ia tersenyum getir menatap pemandangan di hadapannya.

Hooray, no spam here!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On (Summer) Holiday

Staycation (\ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\), noun: a vacation spent at home or nearby (

The thing about living in a tropical country is to have summer all year round (hence the dream of experiencing snow and winter, and Frozen is somehow challenging to be relatable, climate-wise). In Jakarta, Indonesia, the middle of the year becomes particularly pleasant not only because it is the holiday season, but also due to the city’s anniversary on June 22nd, that leads to culture festivals and shopping frenzy for two months straight. But I am not going to address more on the festivities, albeit I am delightful to see the discount sign everywhere (Hello, Jakarta Great Sale!).

Since the topic for this month’s prompt include the word ‘home’, it calls for a bit of personal contemplation.

You see, I have been living in the capital city for the past two years, since I graduated from college. I am about to have my first work anniversary in a few days’ time and it gets me a little bit sentimental, because I never thought that Jakarta could ever be my pond.

I grew up in a considerably big city because it is also a capital city of one of the most overpopulated provinces in the country, but the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan was not something I used to experience in a daily basis. However, living and working in Jakarta have its own perks, especially because I live in the heart of the capital city and everything is nearby. Going places (and spending hard-earned cash) is far easier now.

I might have made Jakarta my home, simply because I spend most of my days in a week living here. On the other hand, I am still officially a resident of another town, and it is not one of the satellite cities nearby the capital city. I go to my hometown every a couple of weeks, but these days, the trips are merely weekend visits.

A place I used to call home for years is now where I would spend six nights a month at most. The town I used to live in would now welcome me like another domestic tourist when I come on Saturdays and leave on Mondays. This is not a strange circumstance as it happens to millions of others, but sometimes it can make me feel out of place.

People said things like ‘Home is where the heart is’ and ‘Absence makes the heart grows fonder’. It makes me realise that no matter where one’s home is, they have to know for sure the ways they have to take to get there. In the end, distance is not merely a matter of geography, but also a challenge to meet, so one could keep their loved ones close to their heart.

photo taken from here.

Therefore, summer at home and staycationing are basically what I do on the weekends. It means time-off, making it a perfect time to rekindle. It means the pleasure of taking my family out for lunch or dinner, or catching up with friends in my hometown. Summertime for me is the weekends with the sunshine, because without it I would not get my laundry dry in a day. I would also love to try reading in the park or some afternoon-jogging.

The actual summer holiday in the country, though, if I may say so, is the last week of July, which marks the festivities of Eid al-Fitr that is celebrated by more than 80 percent of the country’s population. It has been regarded as the perfect timing, for many who works places far away from their families, be it their nuclear or extended ones, to ‘come home’.

These days, people would also spend the one-week break for a long-overdue holiday, making it a peak traveling season in the country. And that is what I plan to do this Eid holiday with my family. Details are still brewing, but I cannot be more excited.

Going on a holiday is particularly refreshing, for one, because it brings my family together again after mundane daily activities keep us apart. Also, adhering to the words ‘Home is where is the heart is’, it is like having your home with you in a different setting, absorbing all the fun in foreign places with those who are near and dear.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Little Surprise

I never thought that, in my lifetime, I would ever say those words to anyone, but I just did.

I have tumours.

Yes, that’s plural.

I was at a health fair a couple of hours ago and there was a booth offering a special price for breast ultrasonography, so I decided to give it a go. Ten minutes later, the general practitioner found three lumps in my right breast, telling me that they “seem to be solid, but benign.”

But I took them as a threat.

She told me that I should not worry about it, because each of them is less than half a centimetre in size. I just need to eat more vegetables and fruits, and get myself screened again in three to six months.

Nevertheless, I left the building with shaking hands and cold feet after a shattering revelation. It felt like something pinched my bosom from the inside. It did not hurt as much, but it hurt still.

“You know, surprises are part of my favourite things, but I am not good at this. Not for this kind of surprise,” I mumbled.

You looked confused for one moment, but then you held my hand and gathered your words, saying, “I am sorry for being so clueless right now. I wish I know any better way to soothe you.”

“That’s okay,” I forced myself to smile. “Eating more greens is not that much of a challenge anyway.”

“Does your mum know?”

“I will tell her later when I am home. As much as I am tempted to talk it out on the phone so that I do not have to cry in front of her, I think this is face-to-face news.”

“Come here.”

At this moment, I could not be more thankful for having you and your heart-warming embrace wrapped around me, although my stream of tears was the only way of saying it all.

“I know it is cliché, and you usually hate people for saying things just because it is something you want to hear, but everything is going to be okay.”

“I know.”

photo taken from here.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hujan Tadi Malam

Malam ini, sepatu baruku resmi sudah dipelonco oleh hujan. 
Air dan bahan beledu pun bertemu akibat ketidaksengajaan. 
Belum lagi kakiku jadi lecet, sebab masih dalam masa penjajakan.
Untungnya, sepatu itu tak sempat kena lumpur, dan aku masih punya alas kaki cadangan.
Di luar itu, sepatu basah tak jadi soal, toh aku sudah dibuat terlampau senang oleh sebuah kencan.
Jangan cemburu dulu, sayang, karena perempuan yang kutemui itu adalah seorang teman.
Jauh dari romantis, kami lebih banyak bertukar kabar dan memperbincangkan sesama kawan, meski sempat jalan kaki berduaan.
Aku janji, akan meluangkan waktu sehari penuh untuk bersenang-senang bersamamu di akhir pekan.

photo taken from here.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Stalk Now, Confess Later

I finally met him. So I started off with the question I was dying to ask.

“Recently, you said that you stalk people on-line in your spare time. Why?”

“At best, it is curiosity. At worst, curiosity went wrong.”

“Wrong, in what way?”

“It would feel pretty gruesome afterwards, because I would not like what I find. However, by that time, it would be too late. And I keep on making the same mistake.”

He later claimed that he had no particular object of interest. He admitted, though, that his last target was his former lover, who recently tied the knot with someone whom he deemed far from worthy. “Still, I believe that I have dodged the bullet. I have seen the wedding pictures on Facebook. The bride looked hideous.”

I could not help pointing out to him that although on-line stalking is undeniably common these days, given the easy access of search engines and social media, he might have gone a little overboard.

“Maybe,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I believe that I am not supposed to scrutinise what I dislike about people just to make me feel good about myself. For the time being, though, I choose to see it as a bit of research that I must do before moving on to do something else, which may or may not be more worthwhile. We’ll see.”

photo taken from here.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Very Thought of Caffeine

“It's like, we rarely talk because we were too busy getting laid, and suddenly I realised that we barely connected in any level, you know?”

It was a strange question to ask a virgin, but I immediately swallowed my objection and decided to stay silent, hesitantly handed him his cup of coffee.

“I don't know whether I should be glad or sad, when I say that there's nothing good coming out of this, other than great sex,” he said mournfully.

“But I remember you told me that it was pleasurable?”

“Yes, that’s true. It was pleasurable, and I was delusional. Yet just because it was delightful, doesn't mean it's real.”

I couldn't help but to be surprised. Coming from him, it was like the end of an era. This heartless bastard was finally beaten down, and I thought he deserved it. But does that matter now?

He sipped his caffeine and looked at me in the eye, as if he was trying to say, “I am okay.”

“Of course,” I replied, trying to imply that I agreed with him just so he would stop lying. It was heart-wrenching to watch that poor sod harming himself even further.

His heart does not tolerate coffee. But, since he was heartbroken now, so he thought, why bother anyway?

photo taken from here.