Random Story #5

I think I shall have a mental breakdown very soon. I don’t know what the hell keeps me sane all these time, but I can barely contain myself any longer. I’ll probably explode anytime soon.

“I’m gonna have another bath,” she said, as she raced towards the bathroom, not wanting to hear further arguments or protests from her partner.

Then she poured the hot water into the bathtub while she let her mind wander.

“Perhaps I should have just drowned myself while I bathe later.”

Then after the tub was filled, she took off her clothes and jumped in.

She felt the warmth of the water and she felt surprisingly comfortable. So she closed her eyes for a while.

Then she opened her eyes.

She stared blankly at her legs as she sat on the tub. She wrapped her hands around her legs in the water as she lay her chin on her knees.

Then suddenly all the emotions she’d been keeping inside flowed uncontrollably as tears ran down her cheeks.

She made sure she didn’t let out a single sound while she let her tears out.

She washed her face, hoping that the tears would be mixed up with water, and as she felt the water dripping from her face, the tears were still pouring out, still distinguishable from the water.

So she splashed some water on her face again.

She sat there for a while, trying to calm herself down, as well as making sure that there were no tears left when she left the bathroom later.

After the tears finally stopped, she drowned herself for 5 seconds in the water before she finally stepped out of the tub and drained it.

She looked at her reflection in the mirror as she dried herself with the towel.

No tears left. And her eyes–as well as her facial expression–looked normal. As normal as anyone who had just bathed without crying.

She let out a sigh and stared intently at her reflection. Would she cry again when she left the bathroom? Could she contain herself if she heard something painful after this?

After she made sure that she wouldn’t cry anymore she opened the door.

Although the pain didn’t leave, she could ignore it now.

Painful, yes, but she could live with it. She’d borne it all this time, after all, and she did it on her own.

Yes, on her own.

   “Like God never exists. If He did, He never seem to care anyway.”

Random Story #2: A Fresh Start

   T looked at her new room and told herself that she had been very lucky, indeed. At least compared to friends’ experiences. Most of them who sought for jobs in places far away did not even get an accommodation as fine as the one she had. For that, she reminded herself, she ought to be grateful.

   Well, she was thankful, indeed.

   She got a nice place to stay, and her new workplace was also very nice. She had meet her co-workers the previous day, and got a tour around her new office. She had not yet met her boss–or her boss’ boss, but she saw him walking out from his office yesterday while touring her office, and he smiled at him. Well, at least her boss showed some courtesy. He was not one of those horrible tyranny bosses, at least. That was good enough as a starter, she thought to herself. It was her first day, anyway, sure she could not expect too much. Besides, she was getting fond of her new workplace already. She had been worried that her office might be one of those dreadful offices where everybody were so busily engaged with their works that they might even be too busy even to say a simple “Hi” to the newbie. But no, thank Heaven, her office did not give her any single impression of those horrible things. At least, it had not given her that impression. Again, it was her first day, wasn’t it? And she was already in love with her new job, and her new office. Her co-workers all gave her warm welcomes and made sure she made herself comfortable in her new environment. Her boss (not her boss’ boss) was so down-to-earth and hospitable that she wondered now what she had done exactly to deserve such a kind boss. She was truly thankful for this. Her new office did not at all intimidate her just like she had imagined before. And everybody, knowing that she had come all the way from her hometown which took almost 8 hours for her to get to the city–her new workplace, to be precise, tried to make sure that she had not come for nothing. Their warm reception had made her wondering whether she had met the most agreeable people on earth. They expressed her worries about her coming from far away, and whether she had managed to find a nice place to stay, and tried to inform her about places where she could get nice food and other stuffs, should she needed any. What had she done to deserve all these, really?

   Then she reminded herself, that she should not be far too excited, yet, for it was her first day. Then again, she was reminded that she had chosen to find jobs far away from home. Away. Far-far away from everybody. And most people tend to find things like this difficult at first. The first days/months/years of adjusting are always the hard ones. But not for her. So once again, she mumbled a ‘thank you’ to God, if He does exist, and if not, to whatever supernatural powers out there which had made this easier and nicer for her.

   Yes, she had decided to seek jobs located far away from places she knew. Places where familiar people stayed. She had told herself so many times before that she wanted a fresh start. Without family connections. Without interference from those people who–she knew it by heart–only wanted to help her out. People who thought that their connections or powers could help the a fresh-graduate who were–at that time–desperate for a job. And the offers were all tempting, really, but she decided she wanted to shape her own future. She thought that if she could not do this alone, that she never could. Ever. She hated the idea of relying her future on others’ hands, already. So she hardened her heart and said a firm “No” to every offers and opportunities that had come to her through the hands of relatives. No, she told herself. No matter how tempting those offers were. No. She should make it on her own. At least she ought to try. If she failed, than maybe she was not as good as thought she was. Then maybe she could turn to those relatives who had been dying to offer her thousands other opportunities. But she shivered only to think that she might be a failure after all, and that she then would have to rely on others after all.
Fate was not so harsh, it turned out, as she finally got an opportunity to get the fresh start that she always wanted. In a new place. Meeting new people. She thought her chance to finally prove herself worthy, were she worthy at all, had come after all. So she accepted the offer. Of course she intentionally failed to mention this “fresh start” and “a brand new beginning” to her relatives when they responded negatively upon hearing the news. Why ever the job should take her far-far away? Too bad she was not so lucky to get a job nearer to home, indeed. And all she said in response was a nod, a smile, or a simple “Yes,” with a sorry-look and a sorry-smile. Yes, she felt sorry indeed, to leave her comfort zone, but then she reminded herself that she ought to give herself a try, indeed, for if she did not leave her comfort zone, she might never be able to leave at all. She ought to. She ought to give it a try.

   So, after a final glance around her room, she smiled and felt content already. Yes, she was truly grateful. Then she unpacked her stuffs and arranged it comfortably in her room.

   A fresh start.

   She took a long deep sigh.

   A fresh start.

Random Story #1: True Love

   “Do you believe in true love?”

   I laughed, if not snorted, upon hearing such question being addressed to me.

   “Is this a trick-question?” I asked him, sarcastically.

   “No, of course not. What makes you think so?” He asked me back with a confused face, as if I asked something incomprehensible.

   “Because it sounds wishy-washy, and cliche, mind you,” I answered.

   Now he looked even more perplexed.

   “What?” he said, expressing surprise and disbelief.

   I decided to shut my stupid mouth with a smile, trying to look smart.

   It didn’t work, as he didn’t avert his gaze on me.

   “What?” I asked him, with a sarcastic smile on my face.

   “How could you say so?”

   I gave a snort of laughter, expressing–this time–my own disbelief.

   “Well, if you’re so sure of the notion of true love itself, do enlighten me, sir, the idea of this… so-called ‘true love’.”

   He stared at me in astonishment.

   “Well…,” he paused, struggling for words, as my previous request seemed unexpected to him. “Eeeerrrr, true love is…,” he paused again, but then continued, “…is an unconditional love. When you love someone despite his or her faults and past errors, I shall say. …or vice versa, I guess.”

   “Hmmm,” is all I say in response.

   “What? Are you telling me you don’t believe in that kind of thing?”

   “Well, I do believe in true love, if I live in fairy tale,” I answered, then quickly engage myself in papers that I need to grade, in order to avoid further questions.

   “Excuse me?”

   Fuck, it didn’t work.

   I pretended that I didn’t hear that.

   “Whatever do you mean by that?”

   Fuck, he’s not gonna give up easily, wasn’t he?

   “I mean, sir, I live in the real world, in a jungle called reality, where, I believe, the so-called ‘true love’ really is a scarce thing.” I explained after I took a long deep sigh.

   His eyes widened as he heard my explanation.

   “Wow,” he muttered. Whatever that means.

   “Have you had bad experiences in love or something?”

   God, please, I pleaded in my mind, while sighing again and rolling my eyes.

   “No, I have not, but the idea of ‘true love’ seems ridiculous to me, is all.”

   “Geez, why are you so negative?” he asked me, at the same time amazed.

   Why, oh why can’t I just shut my bloody mouth up?

   “Because I’m being realistic,” I said, trying to put a final tone in my answer, hoping this guy would take the cue.

   My answer was stupid, and thoughtless, of course. But I can’t seem think of anything else to shut this guy’s mouth and mind. Cursed me, I thought to myself.

   “Realistic? That is you being realistic!? Have you been mistreated or something in the past?”

   “My God, what does it take for you to quit?” I finally grew impatient and decided to show my annoyance. “No, sir, I have not been mistreated. In fact, I have been loved, if not too much, perhaps overwhelmingly.”

   “I’m quite fond of romance, actually, but I believe they ought to stay in books, novels, and movies, and I like it if they maintain their existence there,” I added quickly, before he managed to say anything further.

   And now he laughed sarcastically in return.

   “My God, you’re strange,” he finally said.

   “Yes, I am,” I decided to respond with a smile before I finally turned back to grade students’ papers.

Moment of Truth

Ante-post: I keep thinking whether or not I should publish this post. This post has become completely random. I meant to write something completely different, but as I write things up, it turned out to be this way, and I thought… well, why not? It’s random anyway. Any grammatical correction is very much accepted. Please do correct it if you find anything wrong.

*

   Danielle looked at her shopping cart and thought of what she could have been missed. She’d put the cereal, instant coffees, toilet papers, and the detergent. She took another round to walk around the mini-market, to check whether there was anything else she’d want or need. She saw a pack of wet tissues and thought that she could use them, so she put it in her cart.

   After making sure there was nothing else that she need she went to the cashier and paid for everything.

   Just when she was about to go out of the mini-market did she hear someone calling her name.

   “Danielle! You’re Danielle, are you?”

   The one calling her was a guy, about seven-feet-tall, with a delicate look and pretty features on his face. Had he worn a skirt, people might as well thought he was a very tall woman.

   He looked at her intently, looking for recognition, and since Danielle had done nothing but stoned as she saw him, he laughed.

   “Have you forgotten me? How could you?”

   Danielle startled. Then as soon as she got her tongue, she responded,

   “Ryan?”

   The man called Ryan sighed in relief.

   “Geez! I thought you didn’t recognize me!”

   “Oh, no! How could I forget you?” Danielle tried to make an excuse. “I was just… surprised to bump into you here!”

   “How did you think I feel, seeing you here, shoppiing like an Indonesian in a place like this?”

   Danielle laughed.

   “Well, I’m still adjusting.”

   “Oh, it shouldn’t be a problem. Everybody here is so friendly, and they’re always ready to help you! But first, how did you get here at all? You never told me you’re going here in the first place!”

   Newsflash. I guess we’re no longer BFF, old pal, Danielle thought.

   “Oh, yeah… Sorry. I was…” Danielle stopped for a while, thinking of a good, logical, and perfect reason.

   Should she tell him she had planned to avoid everybody she knew in Indonesia intentionally?

   Should she tell him she had thought of not contacting him, of all people, as well as not keeping in touch with him?

   Should she tell him that she had wanted to get by on her own?

   Yet, upon seeing him–those kind eyes, and sweet smile, as well as the pretty face and most definitely friendly gesture–she really did not want to lose his benignity and warmth. And the truth was, after all, that she also felt excited to see him, too.

   “I was still trying to figure out numbers of things in this country, especially this town. I really don’t know anything about this place except for this mini-market and diners nearby,” Danielle finally explained.

   “Oh, right. Right. Yeah, it’s quite a challenge, I suppose. I mean, you’re now exposed to a complete different culture, language, and people. I can help you with that,” said Ryan, and then he grabbed Danielle’s shopping bag, the one with her new detergent, and cereal, as well as instant coffee, toilet papers, detergent, and wet tissue, as he saw Danielle was heading out of the door, eager to get out.

   “I thought you’re here to do some shopping?” asked Danielle, taking her shopping bag into her arms back.

   “Oh, right. Yes, I did. I need a new broom for my room, as well as detergent and soap,” Ryan answered, looking confused.

   “Well, then, get going!” said Danielle.

   “Oh, but…” Ryan’s hands was still on Danielle’s shopping bag, reluctant to let go, as well as reluctant to part ways.

   “I’m still gonna be here for a long time, Ryan. We could catch up some time later,” said Danielle, and tried to smile as friendly as she could.

  “Oh. Okay, then. Well, that would be nice! We haven’t bumped into each other for a long time! We should hang out sometime!”

   “And we will. You could be my tour guide here.” Stupid. Why did she say that?

  “Absolutely. It’s a promise, then. We’ll meet again soon. Can I have your number, by the way?”

   She read her number to Ryan and so Ryan miss called her cell phone.

   “Great. Now that I have your number…,” said Danielle, looking for words as she starred blankly at her cell phone screen with Ryan’s number on it. “I’ll text you,” she finally added.

   “Not if I text you first,” replied Ryan, and so he smiled cordially.

   And they finally parted ways.

Re-Post: Being N.A.T.O. (No Action Talk Only)

This is a re-post taken from my April 2010 archives, titled ‘Being N.A.T.O. (No Action Talk Only)’, but this time, I only re-post the story, and not the thought.

*

I look up in the sky as I also tried to hang my dreams up there.


I get home late at night – finally. After such a long, hard, tiring day at work, like I don’t even have time to catch a breath, I finally—feeling so relieved, that I finally able to chill. Remembering that tomorrow’s weekend, and the fact that I don’t have to go to work, all those headaches seems so much worth-it. Tomorrow means I don’t have to set my alarm, and get up early; to stay as long as I want on the bed—oh, my comfy bed! How I missed it! If I got bored staying at home all day, I can always find refreshment outside. Perhaps one or two friends will be available to accompany me tomorrow. And S, oh, how I miss her! It’s been a long time since the last time we hang out together to get some coffee or chocolate, and chit-chat about… everything. Almost everything. And when did the last time it happen…? We never got together again since we graduated from college; because we’re too busy with our job, and we’re living separated from each other—faaaar-far away that makes me wonder when I would be able to see her again.

I took a short glance at my cell phone, then remembering that I had received e-mails and messages since the morning, yet I haven’t made any reply yet. I am always in a rush like I’ll never get enough time to read any of my messages or emails thoroughly, as what my friends used to say. I’m always in a rush. Always.

Shit. My phone’s off. Means I need to charge it. The last time I checked my phone’s still on. I grab the charger and charge it; at the same time I reach two remotes: one’s for the air conditioners and the other one… Well, I just hit it and my fave song was played. Easy, huh?

Sometimes I kinda afraid that one of my neighbor would knock on my door and asked me to turn the volume down, especially because I always come home very late at night, yet after I got inside the house, the only voice coming out from my house is the rock music I played, since that has been my fave for years, since my third year in college. But no one ever protested, and one of many reasons why I chose to live here is the individualism of the people in the neighborhood. I mean, we still greet each other every time we meet, if we knew each other, but other than that, we’re all “mind-your-own-business”-kind of people. That kind of “unwritten” rule had made me feel comfortable.

So, with no one knocking at my door angrily and ask me to turn the volume down, I guess everything just fine.

I turn on my cell phone and check my inbox. Two new messages and four emails. This time, I sit on the couch and try to scan all messages there. I delete all those new emails for they’re not important emails at all—you know, advertisement and offers, which I have no interest in. I sigh, and then move to my messages.

My mom texted me 5 times: two messages informing about her latest news—including everyone’s around, and the other three asking about my health, my activities, and whether I’m OK or not. I’m thinking of replying all her messages in just one long message, but the thought of the words I’m going to write itself—like, the length—exhausts me already. So, I take another sigh, and skip it instead, going to the other messages which I haven’t really read since this morning. Another four messages: one from an old friend, talking about reunion; one from my co-workers, asking about the issue we’d discussed at work today; one is hoax—deleted; and the last one is from a friend, a message consisting of a short preach with a verse from the bible, which I delete without even reading a word.

Feeling so tired, yet still tempted to surf in the net, I open my notebook and turn it on. It won’t be long, I said to myself, but I kinda doubt whether it’s going to be true or not. I know myself too well.

Browsing interesting articles, and reading all of them very quickly, then reading the news, which bored me pretty soon, as usual, I closed the tab. Reading some posts in some friends’ blogs, leaving comments and updating my status.

Then I look at my watch, and I was right. I can never spend less than two hours every time I open my notebook. But, hell, tomorrow’s a holiday for me. It won’t matter at all.

It’s already 4 AM, and I haven’t able to put myself to sleep yet. Feeling reluctant to sleep, yet I need to sleep. So, forcing myself to, I lie on the bed. I close my eyes, but I let my mind wander around with the song played in the player. Not long after that, I’m asleep already.

THE NEXT DAY

It’s almost noon when I wake up. Still lying on the bed, I hug my pillow, feeling reluctant to get up because of the comfort. I shut my eyes; trying to sleep longer, but at the same time thinking of what I’m going to do today. I got nothing in mind. At all. And I’m hungry. Still don’t feel like getting up, I think I’ll just make a call and order something. But then, just remember that I still have a leftover birthday cake in my fridge, brought by a friend having a birthday party a couple days ago, I force myself to get up and walk downstairs, to the kitchen.

The kitchen is right next to the living room, without even a wall to separate them, because I have a small kitchen, and I don’t really see the need of separating them although my dad always complaint about it. Well, there was not much he could do, though. Hell, it’s my own house anyway. I can set whatever rules I want, and I’m quite satisfied with it. I’m quite satisfied with my life right now.

So there I am, sitting on the dining chair and put a piece of cake on a small dining table. I don’t think I’ll need a large table for I’m living on my own. A big table will just give me the idea of loneliness. No, thanks, I’m quite content with my life. And a table for two is more than enough.

While enjoying my cake, I’m thinking of what I should do today. I actually need to clean the house, but I’m just too lazy to do it now. Maybe later. Or tomorrow. Or maybe I could ask someone to do it for me. I can ask one of my neighbors, they might know someone. Oh, well, I’ll think about it later. It’s weekend, so why bother?

I finish eating and feel too lazy to wash the dish—geez, I’m just too lazy to do anything, aren’t I? Screw it, I’ll just put it in the sink and leave it there for now. I know what I’m going to do first today: going to the bookstore. After that perhaps I can decide where else to go later on.

I know I still got a lot of waiting list; books that I had bought, yet I haven’t read until now, and I’m running out of space in my bookshelves, but I need some refreshment and the bookstore is just the perfect place for refreshment. At least, for me. The idea of having new books always fascinates me. Besides, books never get old, no matter how sophisticated the era had become.

So I grab my keys and get out of the house. There, I see my car, so fit, so perfect, just a part of my dreams, parked in my yard. I jump into my pickup and the next thing I know, I’m just so ready to go.

Oh my, what could have been a more perfect life than this? I’m not saying that this is the ideal, perfect life people always wanted, but this is my life, and I feel so much content with it. And I still got a plenty years ahead before my hair finally turns to white and wrinkles start to appear on my face. Unless God punishes me; cut my life on the way. Hopefully none of it would ever happen.

***

Kesempatan Yang Terlewatkan

*As printed and published in the first edition of “Never Ending Love” by Andi Publisher and T-More

oOo

Lia sedang dalam perjalanan menuju kampus ketika ia melihat bapak tua itu lagi. Bapak tua yang biasa nongkrong di belakang kampus itu lagi-lagi mengenakan kemeja lusuh, topi lusuh dan celana tuanya yang sudah robek-robek. Peluhnya penuh keringat dan kulitnya hitam terbakar matahari. Ia duduk sambil memegang tongkatnya, dan di depannya terdapat gelas aqua bekas yang kosong.

Lia melihat bapak tua itu hampir setiap ia melewati kampus, dan tidak pernah hatinya tidak terenyuh. Seringkali terbersit di dalam pikirannya untuk merogoh sakunya atau membuka dompetnya, mengambil uang receh dan memasukkannya ke dalam gelas kosong itu. Tapi pikiran lain datang melintas dan ia melewati bapak tua itu tanpa melakukan apa-apa. Ia sedang terburu-buru, masih ada lain kali, pikirnya.

***

Dodi berjalan keluar dari ATM sambil memasukkan uang yang baru saja ditariknya dari mesin ATM ke dalam dompet. Jatah bulanannya sudah menipis. Kalau ia tidak segera berhemat, mungkin ia akan menghabiskan akhir bulan dengan puasa. Ia berjalan ke depan kampus, menunggu angkutan umum yang lalu-lalang untuk mencari penumpang. Di tengah-tengah penantiannya, seorang ibu tua berpunggung bungkuk mendekatinya, mencoba menawarinya jajanan.

Ia memperhatikan ibu tua tersebut dan merasa iba. Badan ibu tua itu amat sangat kurus, dan—melihat ke bawah, kakinya yang hitam legam itu penuh luka. Masuk akal, melihat sandal yang dipakainya pun sudah rusak parah. Entah kemana saja ia pergi untuk menjajakan jualannya.

Meskipun demikian, Dodi melihat dari kejauhan, angkutan umum yang dinantinya sudah datang. Melihat muka memelas ibu tua itu, hatinya terenyuh, tapi angkutan umum yang ditunggunya sejak tadi semakin dekat. Masih ada besok, pikirnya. Dan ia menggeleng pelan kepada ibu tua itu sambil memasuki angkutan umum yang sekarang berhenti di depannya.

***

Michael tengah mengerjakan skripsinya ketika handphone-nya berbunyi. Temannya, Joseph mengiriminya sms yang berbunyi:

“Mike, gw lg sm ank2. Qta mw mkn d t4 biasa. Lo ikut g?”

Mike menghela nafasnya dan ia menatap jam dinding di belakangnya. Ia sudah mengerjakan skripsinya dari siang. Tiba-tiba saja sekarang sudah malam dan teman-temannya mengajaknya makan bersama. Tidak ada salahnya beristirahat sebentar.

“Iya gw ikut.” Ia mengetikkan balasannya dan mengirimnya balik ke Joseph.

Sambil mengenakan jaketnya, ia mematikan komputernya dan meraih kunci motornya, menyusul teman-temannya ke tempat yang sudah dijanjikan.

***

Mike memarkir motornya dan ia melihat teman-temannya sudah menunggunya. Ada Joseph, Lia, Maia dan Dodi, dan mereka menyisakan dua tempat duduk untuk Mike dan entah siapa.

“Oy! Mike!” panggil Dodi.

Mike melambaikan tangannya dan menghampiri mereka.

“Ada siapa lagi?” tanyanya, menunjuk kursi kosong di sebelahnya.

“Albert sebentar lagi nyusul. Dia masih di tempat kerja,” jawab Joseph.

“Eh, tuh si Albert,” kata Lia. Mereka semua menoleh dan melihat Albert sedang berjalan masuk mendekati mereka.

“Mending kita pesen dulu aja makanannya, sebelum gue mati kelaparan gara-gara kelamaan nunggu dua makhluk planet Zog ini,” kata Maia. Ia menyodorkan daftar menu ke teman-temannya.

“Kita mau makan apa sih? Mau pesen buat sendiri-sendiri apa barengan aja?” tanya Mike.

“Barengan aja deh,” jawab Joseph, yang diiyakan oleh teman-temannya yang lain.

“Oke. Ayo pilih mau makan apa,” kata Maia sambil memanggil waiter.

“Sapo tahu seafood dong,” kata Lia.

“Ampun deh. Bisa nggak sih, sekali-sekalinya makan chinese food bareng lo nggak makan sapo tahu?” protes Joseph.

“Lho? Emang kenapa? Kan yang lain juga suka? Gak papa lah!” jawab Lia dengan sedikit merengek.

“Ya udah. Sapo tahu seafood. Apa lagi?”

“Hmmmm, ayam ca jamur deh,” Mike urun suara.

“Sama… ca kangkung,” tambah Albert.

“Oke. Ayam ca jamur sama ca kangkung, nasinya enam, plus air putih enam,” ulang Maia kepada waiter. “Gak pake lama ya, mas!” sambungnya.

“Eh, nggak kebanyakan ya, kita pesennya?” tanya Lia takut-takut.

“Nggak lah!” jawab Maia. “Lo lupa, kita makan sama cowok-cowok karnivora—pemakan segala? Yang ada malah kita yang nggak kebagian makan gara-gara udah keburu diembat sama tiga makhluk buas ini!”

“Udahlah… Masih mending bisa makan. Paling enggak kita masih kasih kalian berdua jatah,” celetuk Albert sambil menunjuk Maia dan Lia. “Kita masih baik, tauk. Coba kalo enggak, pasti semua makanan yang tadi dipesen kita embat, terus kalian berdua yang suruh bayar!”

“Ih! Dasar kutu! Nggak tau diri!” omel Lia, namun ia terkekeh juga.

“Eh, iya lho! Masih mending! Bersyukur dong, kalian!” timpal Mike.

“Tau nggak, gue jadi inget sama bapak tua yang biasa nongkrong di belakang kampus itu. Kasihan ya bapak itu..,” kata Lia.

“Hah? Yang mana? Yang berjanggut dan pake topi lusuh itu?” tanya Maia.

“Iya. Gue inget-inget, dari awal gue mulai kuliah di sini, gue selalu liat bapak tua itu di belakang kampus ya?” jawab Lia.

“Iya ya? Kayaknya emang udah lama dia nongkrong di situ. Dari jaman gue awal-awal kuliah di sini juga gue udah sering liat tuh si pak tua,” timpal Mike.

“Gila, udah lama juga ya?” celetuk Dodi. “Tadi siang juga, di depan kampus, ada ibu-ibu bungkuk nawarin gue jajanan entah apa gitu. Dia kurus banget. Sayang gue nggak suka jajanannya. Jadi gue tolak deh. Dia juga udah lama ya?” tanya Dodi.

“Ntah juga. Gue nggak tau yang mana,” tambah Mike, “nggak terlalu merhatiin juga sih, gue. Kan lebih penting skripsi, hehehe.”

Bagaimana dengan mereka yang menjerit karena lapar, dan hidup dari belas kasihan orang s’perti kita?” Spontan, Dodi menyanyikan lagu dari grup band rohani One Way, disambut dengan tawa teman-temannya.

Tak lama, pesanan mereka datang, dan mereka pun berganti topik dan mengobrol dengan asyik.

***

Jam tangan Lia menunjukkan pukul 9 malam. Saking asyik mereka mengobrol, malam semakin larut. Akhirnya mereka berenam keluar dari rumah makan dengan perut kenyang dan puas.

“Wah, gue balik lagi ke skripsi nih,” keluh Mike. “Wish me luck, ya.”

“Eh, liat tuh,” kata Lia. Ia menunjuk ke seberang jalan. Serentak, teman-temannya melayangkan pandangan mereka ke arah yang ditunjuk Lia.

Seorang pria setengah baya, cukup gemuk, berpakaian lusuh dan dekil, tidur di pinggir jalan hanya beralaskan kertas koran.

“Kenapa? Lo mau ngasih dia duit?” tanya Albert, setengah menyindir.

“Gak sih…,” jawab Lia lirih.

“Haha. Ya udahlah. Yuk, kita pulang,” ajak Maia. Tapi Lia bergeming.

“Gue kasihan ngeliatnya,” celetuk Lia setengah bergumam.

“Ha?”

“Ya enggak. Mikir aja, tuh orang udah nggak punya apa-apa kali ya?” tanya Lia, retoris.

Maia menghela nafas dan menghampiri Lia. “Ya udah, lo kasihan sama orang itu. Terus lo mau ngapain?” tanyanya.

“Ntah. Gue bisa apa?” tanya Lia.

“Menurut gue, nggak ada gunanya kita ngomong ‘kasihan’ kalo kita nggak ngelakuin apa-apa, tau nggak,” kata Maia.

What?” tanya Dodi.

“Iya,” jawab Maia. “Sekarang kalian bilang ‘kasihan’ dan ‘kasihan’. Tapi kalian bahkan nggak melakukan apa-apa untuk orang itu. Pengemis-pengemis dan gelandangan kayak mereka tuh udah nggak butuh ‘kasihan’, tau nggak. ‘Kasihan’, ‘kasihan’, dan ‘kasihan’. Oke. Lantas apa? Cuma itu? Wah, mereka nggak butuh.

“Orang-orang kayak mereka tuh bahkan udah nggak ngerti hal-hal semacam iman dan harapan. Mereka nggak butuh tuh, ucapan semacam, ‘kasihan’, atau ‘percaya aja ya, pak, Tuhan pasti bakal tolong.’ Lebih berguna kalo kita langsung datengin mereka dan kasih nasi rames, ato malah duit sekalian, daripada cuma ucapan kasihan sambil lalu,” kata Maia.

“Duh, pedesnya…,” sindir Mike.

“Sori, guys. Anggep aja gue kesambet, tapi gue bisa ngomong begini, karena gue sendiri pernah dalam posisi seperti itu—yah, nggak persis kayak begitu sih, tapi orang-orang yang bilang ‘kasihan’ dan ‘kasihan’ itu nggak melakukan apa-apa yang merepresentasikan rasa kasihan itu. Waktu itu gue mikir, ‘gue nggak butuh ‘kasihan’ kalian! ‘Kasihan’ nggak bakal bantu gue keluar dari masalah ini!’ Dan mungkin, buat gelandangan kayak mereka juga sama: ‘kasihan’ nggak akan merubah hidup mereka lantas jadi tercukupi dan kaya raya. Ya kan? Jadi intinya, ‘kasihan’ tanpa perbuatan itu bulshit!* Dan gue udah muak sama semua itu. Gue nggak akan mau ngomong kasihan, kalo gue nyadar gue nggak bisa—atau nggak mau melakukan apa-apa.”

Semua saling berpandangan satu sama lain. Ada rasa bersalah terpancar di mata mereka masing-masing.

You know what, she’s right.

Yeah, we all know. But still, we do nothing.

Dalam diam, mereka semua naik ke motor masing-masing, dan satu per satu mulai pergi.

Lia mendekati Maia yang sedang menyalakan motornya, dan memeluknya.

You know what, makasih buat semua teguran lo malem ini. Lo bikin gue merasa bersalah dan malu banget. Tapi lo emang bener. Thanks for telling me this,” kata Lia.

You’re welcome. Gue cuma mengutarakan opini gue—yang kayaknya a lil bit too rude, hehe,” jawab Maia.

***

Keesokan harinya, seperti biasa, Lia menuju kampusnya, dan lagi-lagi, ia melewati bapak tua di pintu belakang kampus. Ia sudah membulatkan tekad untuk, paling tidak, memberi bapak itu sesuatu—entah uang, entah makanan, pokoknya apa saja yang ia bisa berikan. Tapi rasa malas menghampirinya. Lagipula—lagi-lagi, ia diburu waktu. Ia sudah janji bertemu dengan dosennya untuk konseling tugas yang harus dikumpulkannya lusa. Akhirnya, menghela nafas dengan berat, lagi-lagi Lia melewati bapak tua itu. Masih ada nanti, pikirnya.

Sorenya, semua urusan Lia akhirnya selesai, dan ia hendak kembali ke kos. Mendekati pintu belakang kampus, ia teringat bapak tua itu. Mampir sebentar ke kantin, Lia membeli nasi rames yang niatnya akan diberikan ke bapak tua itu.

Di pintu belakang kampus, ia menghampiri bapak tua itu. Seperti yang biasa dilihatnya, mukanya tertunduk, tertutup topi lusuhnya. Tapi kali ini, bapak itu tidak memegang tongkatnya lagi. Malahan, tongkat itu digeletakkan begitu saja di sampingnya.

Setelah memastikan sekitarnya memang sepi, Lia berjongkok di depan bapak itu, dan berkata,

“Pak, ini ada nasi buat bapak. Bapak makan ya?”

Pak tua itu tidak bergeming.

Heran, Lia meraih tangan bapak tua itu dan memberikan nasi ramesnya yang masih terbungkus rapat. Nasi rames itu bahkan tidak sempat digenggamnya, dan langsung terjatuh begitu saja. Tangan bapak itu terasa dingin sekali. Mendadak, Lia merasa ngeri. Ia mengguncang tubuh si pak tua.

“Pak? Bapak? Ini saya beli nasi buat bapak,” katanya lagi.

Bapak itu masih tidak bergeming.

Merasa frustasi, Lia mengguncang tubuh bapak tua itu lebih kuat lagi.

“Pak? Bapak? Ini ada nasi lho. Saya sudah beli nasi ini buat bapak,” katanya. Suaranya bergetar saat berbicara. Tanpa bisa dibendung, air mata Lia mengalir. Ia terisak, dan menangis dalam diam.

Terlambat sudah. Seandainya saja dari kemarin—atau paling tidak tadi siang, ia mau menyisihkan waktu sedikit saja untuk membelikan si pak tua nasi bungkus. Seandainya ia tidak terus menunda-nunda dari kemarin-kemarin.

Sudah terlambat sekarang. Tidak ada lagi yang bisa dilakukan. Yang ada hanya penyesalan yang dalam, dan harapan agar tidak terulang kejadian yang sama—kesempatan yang tersia-sia dan terlewatkan.

SELESAI

* versi cetak: “Jadi intinya, ‘kasihan’ tanpa perbuatan itu sama aja omong kosong.”