Hei, kamu. Iya, kamu! Aku memanggilmu.
Aku menulis ini buat kamu.

Ada yang mau aku kasih tahu.

Kamu tahu tidak, kalau tubuh kita mampu merehabilitasi kembali dirinya secara konstan? Secara harfiah, tubuh ‘menciptakan’ dan menghancurkan dirinya sendiri -dalam setiap detik dari eksistensinya.
Tubuh manusia memperbaharui dirinya sendiri dengan menakjubkan: 98% sel diperbarui setiap tahun sekali.
Ini artinya, tubuhmu hari ini berbeda dengan tubuhmu kemarin. Karena setiap 6 minggu kamu mempunyai hati yang baru, dalam tiap bulan kamu punya lapisan kulit baru, dalam tiap lima hari kamu punya jalur pencernaan yang baru. Bahkan, tulang kerangka tubuhmu diperbarui dalam tiap tiga bulan.

Setiap tahun tubuhmu itu benar-benar berbeda dengan tubuh yang kamu miliki tahun sebelumnya.
Tubuhmu benar-benar berubah pada setiap selnya.

Berulang-ulang proses itu berlangsung, selama kamu hidup.

Kamu tahu, aku paham betul tentang tubuh. Tapi aku tidak pernah mampu memahami mekanisme perasaan. Atau jiwa. Atau ruh. Atau apapun lah, tetek bengek namanya. Pokoknya tentang itu aku tidak mengerti.

Semua orang pasti pernah, menutup mata, dan membayangkan melihat wajah ibu-ibu mereka. Atau setangkai mawar. Sekarang pun, kamu bisa membuktikannya. Tutup matamu, dan coba ingat-ingat rasanya dielus rambut dan kepalamu oleh ibumu. Atau, biar lebih gampang, coba ingat-ingat rasa es krim strawberry. Kamu merasakan dinginnya, merasakan wanginya, merasakan manis-masamnya. Tapi di mana rasa itu berada? Dengan cara yang sama, sekarang coba tutup mata, dan dengarkan tiba-tiba ada musik di kepalamu, padahal tidak ada tape atau gramafon dari dalam sana. Tapi berani sumpah, kamu tahu itu ada!

Semua orang pasti pernah jatuh. Entah jatuh dari pohon waktu masa kecil. Atau jatuh waktu belajar naik sepeda. Atau jatuh waktu main benteng-bentengan atau air soft gun (yang ini aku!). Jatuh sampai lutut berdarah, celana sobek, atau cuma luka baret. Ada yang cepat sembuh, lalu main lagi, lari-lari lagi. Jatuh lagi. Ada yang sampai bikin kaki patah, sampai rela ketinggalan setahun sekolah, tapi besok-besoknya juga tidak apa-apa. Dan bertahun-tahun kemudian, walaupun bekas lukanya masih ada, dan masih ingatkejadiannya, tapi tetap sudah tidak apa-apa.

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Semua orang pasti pernah jatuh cinta, berkali-kali bahkan. Termasuk aku. Tapi kalau mau jujur sama hati, pasti ada satu kali yang berarti selamanya. Tidak ada gantinya. Bisa melakukan apa saja buat yang satu itu. Apa saja, walaupun itu berarti harus melepasnya.
Dan asal kamu tahu saja, semua manusia itu sama.
Kamu, itu aku.

This One is My Soul M8

ust when I thought the One is the best, it does indeed get better. The rigid design, the way it falls perfectly into my palm. The sleek and clean UI, the amazingly fast processor, and all the features totally blow me away. The camera works so good especially under lowlight condition. But more than that, the manual setting lets me get the result as I expected. And I can save the setting as my default. The Ufocus (updated) is super neat too. The BoomSound in M8 definitely produces stronger, sharper and cleaner sound than before. And the battery, lasts a day for my normal (heavy-moderate) usage! So when HTC sent me this phone for review I definitely get the best experience. Hence, this one is my soul m8.



Hold Me While You Can

Between all-white bed sheet  and the sound of beeping monitor every now and then, I cringed a bit by the scent of  disinfectant.

“Does it hurt?” you asked.

I looked at my hand engulfed in yours. My hand seemed so small and fragile there, nestling between your hands.

You held your hand out that time remember? Open, palm up and leaving it up to me to give my hand. I thought with some amusement that men must take lessons.
I remember how we sat decorously apart. Sitting side by side, staring at the sea. I sat with my knees drawn up, forearm around them, trickling sand through the fingers of the other. We exchanged sidelong glances once in a while. There was his hand on the sand between us. Open, palm up. I slid mine into it. We continued staring at the sea.

Later, we played, doodling messages on the other’s palm, silly endearments and questions we were too shy to voice. But I still remember that hand, lying open on the sand, waiting. It asked, without asking. Lesson I learned that day; holding hands is in a way more intimate than other intimacies.

I remember the first time you held my hand. Your hand was warm, big and gentle. You stroked my fingers then too. Not looking at each other’s eyes yet, hand in hand, pressure returning pressure, squeeze responding with squeeze, world reduced to that connection, our hands twining together. No need for words just then. A glance and a smile and all that needed saying said, without words.

There was that day when you drew me close. Nestling against your shoulder with your arm around me, I felt small and safe. When your hand cupped my cheek and you dropped that fleeting kiss, it burned a brand in my memory with its gentleness.

You looked at me with such tenderness, an indulgent adult at a dear toddler. You leaned forward once, to cup my face and give it a fond shake. I protested that I wasn’t a child. Your smile said you thought otherwise.

My hand seemed so small and fragile there, nestling between your hands. You patted it, gentling it like you would a kitten or a baby bird.

“You have become too thin,” you accused, as thumb and forefinger circled my wrist. You gripped both hands in one and looked upset. “See.”

“Does it hurt?” you asked. I looked at my hand engulfed in yours.


No, dear –I thought. It doesn’t hurt. Not when you hold my hand like that.



He plays with my ring. I wince a little when he finally manages to remove it. There is always reluctance in parting.

He’s got the most beautiful fingers I’ve ever seen. The long stalks that held pencils, pens, paint brushes, cigarettes and women among others. Cigarettes didn’t suit him some years ago. They do now. 

Women. It was a singular thing in his life before. The past never is really past. I always look back.

“Tell me about her. And her. And her. And every one of them. 8 years of women to catch up with.”

The numbers and names roll off his tongue.

Really? So many? I never ask.

“And the sex?”

“It’s always been interesting. It’s different… different women different times and same woman different times.”


“Tell me more.”

We never had secrets. And when we finally did, they ate us up. Secrets not shared become bigger than you and they gobble you up.

It was a train journey. The flimsy curtains showed more than they covered. But one hoped they covered more. Train seats aren’t really meant for two to lie. And in that lay all the fun. 
But he stops abruptly. He stretches his hands recklessly towards me. 

His fingers that unhooked many layers off many women. His fingers that trembled when they wrote his address on a book I still have saved. Fingers that caught a handful of sky, more sky than my small ones ever could. They’re still as beautiful. 

I had lent out what was mine. Now I take them back. 




An Ode For You

An abandonment like a washed shore, frothy remnants of something gone, a few shells left back like scars on otherwise uniform skin.

Missing someone forms a dull ache that you learn to live with.
This year I missed you a little less than the year before. And someday I’ll stop remembering to miss you. Gradually. You see heart is a traitor, a sellout for reasons of one’s own benefit.  One day heart makes you believe, and one day it makes you forget what you believe.

I must have loved the rain. But it was you who made me realize it. When the first unexpected summer rain fell, I ran out to pick the clothes from the line. Even in that moment of urgency, sanity always my being, insisted on flinging a cloth over my bare heads. You tugged mine off and asked me to enjoy the rain. You told it was beautiful and it was a shame to watch it through soggy layers. It was beautiful. It still is. Always.

It was you who pointed out the stars in the sky and told me their names. Sleepy eyes hardly got it registered. But I always knew you would be there the next night to tell me their names all over again. How foolish was I. I never again will see a tomorrow except when I see it.

You said “Love heals, not hurts.” Forgive me for disagreeing, but why it can’t does both? Believe me when I say I’ve had very very very bad times and you, just being exist, keeps me going. Even if you are not around, only in my mind, it’s enough.

How can I forget someone who I see in the stars and the rain?! So I look for a way to capture our memories into words and give them a life forever..

I have always believed that certain things are better left unsaid. Mainly because they seem to lose their magic or beauty, the moment they are uttered. You proved me wrong. Something as beautiful as you, need to be uttered.

Consciously trying to forget someone is a sure way of never doing it. The paradox when you have to think about someone to actually need to forget them.
But I’ve actually forgotten you. Most of you.

However, you stay in stories I tell people. In smells and nostalgia.

You stay in the empty space that you left behind.

almost prayer


Do you remember…
How we met one summer, just as you were going out and I was coming in?
How the next summer we went to the zoo to watch the Hippos yawn? How we laughed at monkeys and people alike?

The summer that we first dealt with death? Your hand that you gave me across your bed and mine. I had taken it and slept holding it.

“Stars don’t cry..” You wiped my tears.

Do you remember how you would come to see me, dirty collars and a dusty cycle? How we would talk sitting beside each other on the brown steps of the neighbor’s house, ignoring the pointed looks of our mothers?

When the next summer we went to the snake house? When you tapped on the glass cage and the tired snake gave us a scornful look. I know we both were a little scared though we pretended otherwise.
I don’t know why we went to strange places.

Do you remember how you confessed your fear of cockroaches to me?

Do you remember how we would long to be alone, away from the curious eyes of a cousin neither of us wanted?

Do you remember that sultry summer when you told me I had changed?

When you smiled at the changes of my growing body?
I smacked you from behind the chair you sat on, trying to hide my blush. I was glad you noticed it. It really took a painfully long time growing!

Do you remember the silk pashmina I wore for your brother’s wedding?
Managing it was a so damn irritating especially when my eyes kept looking for you. I know you searched for me too. When you finally found me and brought those friends of yours and I saw their mouths droop in disappointment, my lips trembled. But when I saw the way you always looked at me, the green damn pashmina didn’t seem too awful then and I smiled my first smile of that day.

I always looked best in your eyes.

You remember how you walked away and I never called you back?
I never knew you walked away.
You never knew I called a thousand times.

You were right. Stars don’t cry. But fallen stars do.


Bienvenue à Paris


So we were returning from the party. A farewell party before I departed to France for the next day. The lipstick remained in traces. Part of it on glasses. Partly on people’s cheeks after I had downed more than necessary. Mostly on the glass I would say. A girlfriend once told me that you should discreetly wipe the side of the glass so that your lipstick doesn’t transfer. That I found terribly undignified. Nowadays non transferable lipsticks are the answer. Revlon makes Colorstay. But I do wonder where it all then goes, the lipstick, if it leaves no stain. Just vanished?
I was worried if my thoughts could be heard by him. I searched for a suitable music station in car. Ah, jazz. I like jazz. He finds the music repetitive. But I like jazz.

See, this is what happens when I have too much drink. Sugar rush. My thoughts shift patterns like one of my playboy friend.
I heard his voice jarring. I wondered how I once found it suave and cultured. I am sucker for such things.

“You don’t laugh at my jokes these days..” his whining voice sounded like an instrument out of tune.

I burst in laugh. Then I waited for a moment to laugh -awkwardly.
Apparently, that wasn’t meant to be a joke.



At the coffee machine.
Coins clanking when they touch another metal. Settling with the familiar, which we do not hear. But they exist am sure.
Bonjours and kisses in the air.
So I pick up my cup and stand by the window. The window is to be shared I see, when someone walks over. I move to give her some spaces.
We sip our coffees in silence after the smile of unfamiliarity and civility.

“Nice clothes..” she says. She addresses the abaaya I wear. I made it from red saree.

I smile and say thank you. Unfortunately I do not find anything to reciprocate.
I look at her colorful shoes a second longer than necessary. Red, blue, yellow and was that green?

She laughs. “That’s my daughter who wanted me to buy them. They go with none of my clothes, but well…”
I laugh too.

“How old is your daughter?”
“10 almost.”

I smile.
As I go back to my coffee and open window, she asks, “Do you have children?”
I tell her, “I’m not married.”

Once again I almost return to my book when her expecting eyes pull me back.
I see her question has not been answered.

“Oh. No. I do not have any children..”

Ah! The French!

Champs-Elysées is one of the prettiest walks ever. The French have no doubt, it is indeed the prettiest. I could not disagree. Fragrances of various shades and intensities waft around. Women and dogs of fashionable clothes totter around.

He maintains a pleasant flow of conversation. French history is better heard when from him. I am amazed when he dashes of dates and years associated with places. The non-believer in me wonders if all of it is correct. Nevertheless I would never knew whether or not he is lying. I shoo my own thoughts away. Both eyes on the road, one ear listening to him and the other listening to my unstoppable wandering thoughts.

We take the Parisian customary photo in front of the Arc d’Triomphe. I make a note to myself not to get a copy of it. What would my mother say if she happens to see it one day -a photo of me and this man?

Souvenirs never interest me. They are forgotten memories one insists on trying to remember. Blurs of smells, sights and sounds. I fool myself by forgetting. These days I forget even the forgotten.

He once visited Indonesia. I took him around Surabaya. He knew not a word of English and I knew few French words. Suffice to say it was a disaster. Most of the silence when we driving was dispelled by coughs, cleared throats and while in quiet places, by shuffled shoes. He gave me a French book on parting hoping I would learn. In the years that passed, he learnt English. People have been suffocatingly kind to me.

Shopkeepers who returned more change when I bought a bagel. And after painfully counting the coins and stretching back the rest, a conspiratorial wink and pressing my fingers back to enclose the cold circles.

I stopped cars and stood on gelid pavements while first determining the handwriting and then the address on the crumpled paper.

The day I left, the Chinese good luck doll that I got.
A French guy who gave a Chinese doll to an Arabian lady whom holds Indonesian passport.

Universe. Kindness. Or a bit of it all.

The Imaginary Tattoo

We are walking from one neon light to another at the beach, we take in the warm and salty smell of the sea, the tinkle of ice cream vendors who serve the heaven-in-tongue on a cone, and couple of old women who walk around with brown baskets full of summer flowers.

He buys me flowers. I love wearing flowers. The haunting smell that walks with me everywhere. I love wearing flowers.

His hands feel warm and coarse in mine. Unlike the one I used to hold before and for long months. It is amazing how one can adapt to different things. Or to different men. Sometimes I wish this was the last one. I am tired to adjust. I am tired of being a woman myself.

We make heads turn. Both of us smile to ourselves knowing that we look good together. It pleases us endlessly.

His hands run a line connecting the three little dark brown dots on the length of my hand. My moles. They are the perfect points for a straight line. A graph. Like those three stars you see forever in the sky. I don’t know what they’re called -I am bad in astronomy, but you do know what I mean, don’t you?

“I once colored my hair pink..” he says fondly. Arrogantly too.

It’s my cue to say something I’ve done. To regret, maybe. And to look back and smile in fondness, definitely.

My other hand draws patterns in the sand. No, not those random ones. I realize it’s the one I used to doodle when way back in my daydreaming-phase of secondary school.

“I have a tattoo..” I lie carelessly.

His fingers drop from my hand. The pause. The first step of abandonment.

The longer pause. He takes a step back in our life together. The actual act of abandonment. I wonder what his exit line will be with me. Him being creative and all with the women in his life…

“What? Where?”

Did I ever consider his voice gentle?

I take his hands that have long left my body. Placing them on the lower end of my spine, I lie again.


And recklessly pointing to the random pattern that I draw in the sand, “It looks like this.”

I can now smell the stench of fish. The smell of oil mixed in water from the numerous boats that will never be lost at sea. The sound of the stream and wave profoundly soothes me.

“Tattoos and them being slutty on women.” his voice says.

I lost a guy over a tattoo I never had. We walk back together to where we never came from.
And I left the flowers behind.


Once Upon A Time When He Fell In Love

I was able to read since I was 3 years old. And ever since I couldn’t spend a day without reading. Anything. From books, to news paper, and sometimes  even the cut of paper to wrap spices that Mom bought from the market.

I was 12 when I had the courage to stride over Dad’s books. He had this antique wooden bookshelf. Standing on a chair and two cushions, I peeked at Dad’s bookshelf. If he noticed what I was doing, he didn’t react. He continued sitting in his armchair and reading whatever he was.
I looked at all the books there. My eyes fell on one of them. Maybe because it was the thinnest among the lots. Maybe that it was white in color and different from the red and black ones that found popularity on his bookshelf. I don’t remember exactly why. But I remember exactly the story he told after I was pulling that one out.

I jumped down.
“Love Story” by Erich Segal.
I opened the book and found written inside:

“Dearest R;

May you never know the pangs of unreciprocated love.


Looking up I saw daddy looking at me.
“Have you ever heard of this book?”
I shook my head in the negative.

“Hmmm…. Come here”

I knew something interesting was coming up in his tone; he called me in that there’s-a-story-coming-up voice.
This is what I heard that day. Lying on my stomach on the floor of our house.

“What can I say about a 20 year-old girl? That she was beautiful. And kind. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles.”

It was the beginning of yet another college year. 1975 would be this remarkable in his life he never knew when he met his friends after their holiday.

Medical school -the name brought shudders to every college girl, and parent! And it was but natural that every girl would be warned by their seniors on the topic called ‘med-school boys’.

A few uneventful months passed in that summer of 1975. He didn’t do much but the routine stuff: bashed up a few guys, was in turn bashed up, petrified all the girls in college, got crazy drunk all nights, rebelled against the system.. Just regular stuffs.

Girls were always the topic. And on one such topic came up her name. She was from a small town, but still she was considered one of the prettiest looking girls who joined that year.

“You should see her”, his friend said.

“I’ve seen many…” Dad said arrogantly.

“So have we”, another friend quickly defended.

“But there’s something very innocent.. Charmingly so about her… I don’t know… but we all like her!”

“Have you talked to her?”, he asked.

“No way! She would be terrified…”

“Oh! When has that ever stopped us before?”

He won the round of conversation. Next morning they all were at the bus stop near the ladies hostel of the University.

“Oh God…!!! There they come!!! Was wondering where these wretched guys were all these days…”, one of her seniors whispered loudly to the waiting gang of scared first years.

She look a sidelong glance at him, through dark eyes lined heavily with black kohl… And put her head down again when she caught fourteen pair of eyes staring steadily at her direction!
Dad pulled his bike onto the main stand and started crossing the road. One of his friends caught his hand and pulled him back.

“Don’t. Don’t do anything.. We’ve asked around and she really is one nice girl.. she won’t do no act of hers, the wide eyed look is all she gave us all..”

Pulling away, he crossed the almost empty road.

Walking up to her, he said, “If at all I marry anyone, it will be you!”

He could hear collective gasps from both sides of the road as he walked back to his waiting friends..

All this wasn’t common in 1975. Especially not in Surabaya. Definitely not in her life…

Lying on her bed and with a splitting headache, she heard her class mate yell out her name. Jumping out of bed, she ran in the direction of the voice.

“Come to down stair now!” , her class mate panted breathlessly.

“Am not feeling too well”, she said.

“Oh you’ll feel worse if you see what’s there on our notice board. He wrote a letter to you and posted it on our board for the whole world to read!!”

She ran out of hostel. She didn’t wear her slippers.

A crowd- partly amused, partly interested, mostly curious stood in front of the notice board. “She pushed her way through, and found on the green board, his letter.”

Daddy stopped his recital. Both of us didn’t speak for sometime after.

I broke the silence. I had so many questions to ask.

“Did he tell her he’ll marry her with just one look at her?”

“Well, he did take four or five looks actually…”

“But why didn’t he tell her that he loved her instead? Why marriage?”

“Ah, I don’t know. It could be that maybe he was scared too, and he said the first things that came to his mind… It could be that he forgot the one liner he has prepared before he crossed the street and saw her..”

“But how could he love her just like that?”

“He doesn’t know to this day. But he’s glad, for he learned to love her more each passing day…”

“Can you love someone without knowing anything at all about the person?”
“He did.”

“Did she love him back?”

“He thinks so…”

“I want to know what happened after that… After she found his letter on the notice board?”

“But then, that’s her story..”

I frowned at him.
“Shall I ask her?”

He smiled back. He knew I wouldn’t.
Of course, I didn’t.

I walked out of the room with the book in my hands into my bedroom and propping the pillow on the bed and leaning against it, I opened  ‘Love Story’ and ran my fingers through the writing inside.
Opening the next page I read…

“What can I say about a 25 year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles..”