Malam Rakus

“Mengapa langit petang membiru, Ibu?”

Tanya Anak pada Ibu, matanya yang hitam itu memantulkan cahaya dari lampu pijar tembok seberang. Ia kini mulai besar, enam tahun sudah umurnya, dan Ibu tetap saja menua. Ia kini mampu bertanya mengenai banyak hal baru, karena tingginya sudah sepinggang orangtua, dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan baru, perihal dirinya maupun perihal dunia, tidak berhenti keluar dari mulutnya. Mulut Anak yang belum pernah mengecap oplosan pinggir jalan.

“Langit petang membiru karena malam menelan matahari, anakku.”

Ucap Ibu pada Anak, dengan nada datar yang sudah biasa muncul dari mulut orangtua yang lelah dengan pertanyaan anak-anak. Orangtua mungkin akan senang melihat anaknya tumbuh besar dan sehat, namun mereka tetap perlu rehat, dan pertanyaan-pertanyaan anaknya kadang sukar untuk dijawab. Jam besar yang tegak di lantai pada sudut ruangan berdentang beberapa kali, menandakan hari sudah malam. Mungkin berdentang sepuluh kali, mungkin sebelas kali dentangan itu berbunyi, Ibu terlalu lelah untuk menghitungnya. Sudah lama Ibu menemani anaknya bertanya-tanya.

“Langit petang membiru karena malam menelan matahari, anakku.”

Anak mengulang perkataan Ibu dalam hati. Bagi si Anak, Ibu adalah orang yang paling bisa ia percaya. Bahkan, semua orang menurutnya harus percaya dengan Ibu. Belum cukup berkerut dahinya untuk kembali bertanya pada ibunya, tidak ada masalah yang muncul dalam kepala mungilnya kala mendengar jawaban Ibu itu. Malam, baginya, benar-benar menelan matahari. Ia percaya bahwa malam rakus, bahkan matahari pun dilahap habis olehnya. Langit membiru, karena malam rakus; lengan Ibu banyak bercak membiru, karena malam rakus.

Lampu pijar di tembok seberang diam. Jam besar yang tegak di lantai pada sudut ruangan diam. Ibu diam. Anak diam. Semuanya diam karena sudah malam.

 

The Things that Follow Me Around

Some things follow me around. They’d appear out of nowhere, and they’d start talking about things I don’t want to think about. Things my inability to have friends, or to fall in love, or to believe in other people. I try hard to not think of those things. But to them, releasing these thoughts are easy, too easy in fact. With enough of thoughts like this, I’m forced to lay lifeless on the cold hard floor. These things would disappear; if I’m lucky enough that is.  But most of the time they’d stick around longer, and destroy the peace of mind I’ve tried so hard to maintain. Their voices are silent and nobody hears them talking but me. I don’t know why, but these things love to follow me around.

Sometimes they’d bring up small and unimportant things. But fuck me, even the most unimportant things become painful to think of when repeated over and over again. One small mistake, like forgetting to return a book to the library, could feel like stealing a whole rack of books. They’d bring up one small mistake I made, and then say that what I did was more than that. They’d appear, they’d torment me with my own thoughts, only to disappear without a trace. I hate myself for not being able to handle them. I want them to go away. Why are they so persistent on making my life harder than it already is? I’m starting to think this is a curse. What was I talking about again?

I apologize, but, they’re here right now. Even when I’m talking to you about them, I can’t really explain what they are or what they do clearly to anyone. They’re just too much. Too much. These things are everywhere, they can’t die. At least I think they can’t. I don’t know for sure about that, but maybe they can’t. Can they die? I don’t know. But I want them to go away, I can’t stand them, help me. I hate every waking minute I spend around them, help me scare them off. They’re scary. I didn’t call on them, why did they appear? Why can’t they go away? Who are they? What are they? These things are everywhere.

This is a mistake. Explaining them to you was a mistake. Maybe you know them, maybe they’ve been haunting you longer than they’ve been terrorizing me. But maybe you don’t, and maybe knowing about them would lead them to you. And I shouldn’t let the thought of their existence bother anyone else, but what else could I do? I’m sorry for bringing this up. They forced me to do it. I apologize, again, I don’t want them to come for you too. I’m a victim of their terror. Don’t be like me. Forget everything I said.

Sounds familiar.

I opened my eyes and I saw a dark red sky. I didn’t wake up where I had gone to bed.

//

I tried to sit, but I can’t seem to control my body. I could feel the muscles at the end of my fingers twitch, but that was it. I can’t get up. I tried moving left and right, but to no avail, my body is stuck in this position. I can’t get any of my body parts to move, I could feel that I’m moving my right arm, but it isn’t moving, I could only feel the sensation of moving. I tried moving my left arm, then my legs, then my head; nothing.

Tired, I continued to look up at the sky. My eyes are wide open, scanning the sky, searching for something of any familiarity. There was nothing familiar about this place, I don’t know where this place is. All I know is the sky is red, the massive clouds look more like massive lumps of dust than clouds, and there is no sun to be found. Albeit, this place was glowing a reddish color. They seem to all come out of the sky just like that. If there was a sun, it’s shining from a very far place. This reddish glow is dimmer than the sunlight in my world. The glow resembles that of one of those old film washing rooms, but a lot brighter. I can’t even tell if this is day or night, maybe this place doesn’t have a cycle like that, maybe it’s just like this every passing second.

//

Every second passes by slowly. I can’t tell how much time had passed since I woke up. I can think clearly, I could make sense of things, but nothing makes sense right now. Everything looks so strange and unfamiliar. There’s a chance that I’m just dreaming right now, and everything I see is a world inside of my dream. A dream world? Maybe it is, but surely it’s not inside one of my dreams. I’ve never dreamed anything like this. I know my dream world, I know all the places in my dream world. I could recall images of my dream world inside of my mind. I’m sure this is not my dream world. This is something else.

I focused on the sky above me again. Nothing had changed. I don’t know how long I’ve been here, I don’t know how long since I last paid any attention to the sky, but nothing changed. It’s like looking at an abstract work of art, dark and reddish in color, and I guess they were all painted on to the sky by some kind of chaotic god that didn’t want any order; yet they seem to be bound together for some reason. I still can’t find the sun of this world, there is none. The earth I’m lying on is barren and rough, I could sense it. I’m absolutely sure that this place is dry and lifeless. I’m not even sure this place could sustain life, and if it could, the things that strive here are bound to be weird looking creatures. Since there’s not much to consume here, I guess they get their energy from somewhere else. Maybe the air, the dry-warm air, this place has lots of that; or maybe they absorb it from the reddish glow from the sky, sucking in all the dim ‘sunlight’ that they could get; or maybe they just don’t need energy, maybe they’re all just cute tiny creatures that eat some kind of mineral from the earth. That would be funny, a creature so futile living on a world so scary looking.

//

I laughed a bit when I imagined cute creatures lived off of this land. It doesn’t make sense. But right now, nothing does. Nothing makes sense.  I woke up somewhere I don’t know, lying on my back, looking into something dark and gloomy; and all this time I don’t know how long had passed since I woke up. My laugh wasn’t even a laugh. It felt like a laugh, but I didn’t open my mouth or made a sound, my body still couldn’t work; but my mind is okay. I’ve been thinking all this time without a problem. Then again, maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I need to stop thinking and just relax. My body is probably tired, and thinking too much won’t help it. I need to rest. Or else I’d be stuck here in this oblivion— forever.

Bad Luck

“So what if you do love me? You would one day walk out of my life, just everyone else. We’d part ways sooner or later, so what’s the use? Why go through all of the trouble just to say that you ‘love’ me?”

She said to him bluntly, rolling her eyes as she ended her statement with a rhetorical question. She spoke fast and wasted a lot of breath, but kept her composure. He was startled, he didn’t expect she would reply like that. But catching him by surprise meant that she could inflict even more damage, as if she waited for this time to come, she continued her barrage of words.

“You, of all the people in your circle of ‘intellectuals’, understand more about how words are merely words, how their just signs, symbols, their just signifiers; they refer to other things which aren’t even represented wholly by those words.”

She stared him dead in the eyes, and he couldn’t bear to not look into hers, it was as though their gazes were chained to each other. Silence ensued, and they just stared at each other for a whole sixty seconds, maybe more, maybe time stopped completely, none of them bothered about time, time isn’t of the essence right now. His mind wandered off somewhere, yet he was still sitting right across her, and their eyes were still stuck on each other. He knew all along that this moment would come. The moment when someone would use his own suspicion of language against him. He tried to assemble words to form a coherent sentence, but he failed to create anything, not even a one-liner. He was dazed, and of course, utterly confused.

“Listen to me when I talk to you!”

He didn’t realize it, but now her hand had left his left cheek red. She slapped him. In an instant he wasn’t fixated on her eyes anymore. He stopped trying all together, he knew that whatever he could come up with right now couldn’t ever be a good enough reply to what she said. Disproving her statement on the nature of language would be both difficult and ironic, as he was the person who constantly lectures her on that. Disproving her would only add another wrong to his list of wrongs, and add the finishing touches to his humiliation.

“Don’t just stare at me, say something. Are you even listening to me?”

He mumbled something incomprehensible, then he cleared his throat. He felt tense, and realized his breathing was improper. He let out a long, slow, sight. And as he was slowly catching his breath, he calmed himself down. He tried hard to not blurt out anything stupid or irrelevant, anything that would only show how superficial and pretentious he is. It was a sight to see, a senior is silenced by a freshman, a seasoned smart ass renowned for his flawless logic was outsmarted by a rookie of thought; she made him crumble before her with only words.

He then wakes up.

​She sat some three tables in front of me. There were a lot of people inside that café, and maybe about a dozen of them were women, but she was the only person that caught my eye. Her hair was a little over shoulder length, her skin was strangely pale, and she wasn’t at all tall or slender, but she froze me where I sat. I was fixated on her, physically she was attractive, and I couldn’t not look at her then.

I was spacing out, the sounds around me faded out slowly, and I started to hear only her voice. I was damn sure of it, that was her voice, every time she opened her mouth and uttered words, I could hear that soft low-pitched voice. I didn’t realize it, but she was staring straight at me, I flinched and took my pen from the table and pretended to write on the book I had with me. It wasn’t even a book to write on, I had 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Neruda with me. As awkward as it was, I started to calm my breathing and inhaled a few deep breaths, then I led out a long inaudible  sigh.

I took a cigarette from its pack and lit it, slowly inhaling the smoke, after about three inhales I put the lighter back on the table and tried to relax. It was a tormenting few minutes, to think that she was looking straight at me while I was entranced looking at her, my mind was still in a mess from that. I barely could keep my composure, I kept changing the way I sat, I hunched then straightened out my back, then slouched, then after a few weirdly mechanical movements, I gave up and said “Oh fuck this shit,” and just sat back on the chair, letting my legs relax. 

Then I looked in her direction again, with the hopes that she didn’t observe my efforts to regain composure, but I didn’t saw anyone at her table. She left, and so did the people sitting with her. I sighed again, this time it was deep and barely audible.

Morning Sunshine

“I want to grow old with you,” 

He said to her. His lips curling into a smile, his eyes reflecting the bright morning sun.

“I want to wake up every morning, and the first thing I’d see is your face.”

He continued his words before sipping his morning tea. Then looked at his lover’s face. He looked at her thin eyebrows, her soft-colored eyes, her redlips; he was gazing at his beloved.

Her face was, on the other hand, was uncertain. Breathing in the morning air slowly, with composure she managed to say these words;

“If only I could assure you that we would have such a future, I can’t give you assurance.”

She said.She held his hand, caressing them softly, and continued to talk. Peering deep into his eyes with her own.

“If only I could find a way to assure myself. If only I could be sure that I would wake up the next morning and still associate your name with love. If only I could make myself believe that our heart’s desires could manifest into real life. If only I’m not this cynical.”

She ended the last sentence looking away from him.

Then it was silent. Not one word left their mouths after she finished saying what she had to say.

A few moments passed. 

“Well…,”

He broke the silence.

“This isn’t good enough.”

He said as he tore what he jotted down on a piece of a ripped journal page. Crumpled it, threw it away. Just like that.

He took another sip of his coffee, and continued to wander in his imagination. Finding the perfect way to write down one of humanity’s greatest fear: rejection.

What

“I am tired.. I’m really tired of life..” 

He squiggles on a piece of paper. Our character is on his third bottle of moonshine now. It’s surprising to see him holding a pen properly. Look at this guy, all wet because he sweats like a pig (but yeah probably because he puked a few times after his second bottle), face is a mess (imagine a disney-star-turned-crackhead messy), and to top it all off he’s butt naked sitting alone in a cum covered apron inside of his kitchen. He’s broke, he doesn’t have friends, his girlfriend left him, his dog’s lost, he’s depressed, and he just finished his third bottle of moonshine.

Our character puts the pen and paper aside on the counter, and lies on the greasy cockroach friendly kitchen floor. He gazes on to the ceiling of his kitchen, there’s nothing there, just a dull white ceiling with a dull square shaped ceiling lamp and a rusty metal hook. That hook comes from a time back when there was a punching-bag hanging there. His eyes still scan the ceiling, in hopes that he could find something interesting to look at. He doesn’t. He curses the metal hook for reminding him that he once was healthy with a charming physique, he curses the lamp for being too bright, he curses the ceiling for being too dull, he curses himself for expecting too much out of a dull ceiling.

“Fucking hook, fucking lamp, fucking ceiling, fucking humane expectations that came out of my fucking thought process, fucking reality..FUCKING REALITY!”

He suddenly screams out in anguish. He doesn’t like his life one bit. Who would? Not me. Maybe you would, but not me. This life’s life is too sad even for me. Our character is now crying. He cries for all the faults he did: that time he pushed a kid out of a swing in elementary, that time he cheated on his first ever girlfriend in high school, that time he voted for Trump, that time he got married to a girl that never loved him, … and the list goes on. He cries and cries until the alcohol takes over and he falls asleep.

***

Actually no. He died. How? I don’t know. I don’t know nor care. I just want him to die. He’s just dead, like most of us would be in a few years or so. Most of us are already dead inside. But ever wondered why we turned into lifeless shells of our former selves? Think about that before asking me why our character died.

Maybe our character was already devoided of life before his sudden death. If that’s the case, be happy for him. At least he has something going good for him. Wait, no, nothing; he has nothing going on for him– even better.