"Have you ever like, you are struck by sudden feeling, a feeling that you can’t elaborate with words. It just came, and very random, maybe because you are thinking about something but too embarassed to admit it, and suddenly tears just fall from your eyes? You just wanna say that you are very lonely, and tired of rejections, but it is also not true because you like loneliness, it is your best buddy and rejection is not as bad company. But you just feel sad out of nowhere, and then you wipe your eyes and smile. Because at the same time you feel that it is also beautiful. The loneliness, the incapablity, the sadness, they are very beautiful. Have you ever felt like that?"

OTHER WORKS



Something Is Eating The Frog
(Short story, published in "Closer to the Truth: a Collection of Short Stories" by Midnight Craziest Press, 2015)


The cave that I found is a medium size, smelly, full of stones cave. The surface is mostly covered by black moss making it gloomier than it should be. The floor is a little damped, uneven, and it's watery in some area. I keep ducking because I care too much about my head. The stalactites are dripping crystal clear droplets and you can tell that they are very sharp.
It is nearly dusk and everything's still pitch black. Not that it is wise to light something, in this situation I better blend into darkness and disappear.
"Hello..." I call to anybody as I enter deeper to the cave. 
This cave might belong to someone and it is better to say hi before you go inside.
Aloy kicked me in my tibia. He doesn't really like the idea of making any noise.
"I have to make sure," I say.
"Are you making sure we're getting killed?" he says.
"It's quite far, it won't find us here yet. It's super duper safe. Safe and sound... don't you feel it?"
Al doesn't reply. His eyes scanning the whole cave like a cat's eyes. It is very dark then, but our eyes are getting used to it and then we can see some lights are reflected from the walls.
"Do you think bats live here?" I ask him while feeling the surface with my bare hand.
"I doubt that, can't hear any noise," he replies.
"How about Batman? Do you think he lives here?"
"Chrissake, he doesn't even live. He's a cartoon character."
"You liar."
I think this cave is totally empty and safe; I won't have any doubt about this stuff. I walk around and found a higher ground and it is fairly dry. The place is not that far from the cave's mouth so I still can see how it is like outside. I decided to sit there and make myself at home, while Al is making his way to the deeper part. He is exploring like a tomb raider.
"Don't go too far, there's monster inside," I told him.
"You just don't want me to leave you alone," he replies.
"Shut up."
I put my foot on rest and lean my back to the wall. I don't mind the dirty moss, I'm wearing thick yellowish jacket that I got from a thrift shop in the downtown before the situation lead me here into the cave.
I think the moon finally shows up and its light kind of making its way into the cave. It's very soothing and I feel calm though it's ironic because I shouldn't feel that way.
"Aloy... hey! You still alive?" I call him. 
He doesn't reply, but I can hear his foot step approaching. 
"Found something?" I ask as I realize he's standing not far from where I am.
"Nope, it's very dark inside."
"It always is. Don't be stupid." I let out a sigh. "You know, why don't we just sit down and talk."
"We shouldn't be talking." He replies hesitantly.
"If you're so afraid of making noise we're gonna whisper," I told him.
He agrees and tries to find a space besides me.
"What do you want to talk about?" his voice is husky, maybe tired. But he is always like that. Has a very husky lazy voice as if he doesn't really care about me, but I know he cares. He cares too much.
"You think how long will finally it get to us?" I ask it again.
"No idea. Could be five minutes, one hour. I don't know. We could never know. You know it."
"It always like this, no matter where we run it always finds us."
"Don't complain," he glares at me.
"You're always an amazing person, you know what I mean?" I try to be nice to him so he doesn't go yet.
"No, I don't know what you mean," he answer. 
He just tries to be humble, I know he knows.
"Eleventh grade, when I first known you. You always walk in herd, playing your basketball and all..." I try to tell him the truth.
"I'm not an animal, and those are my friends."
"Yeah yeah, okay," I roll my eyes. "I remember you've dated all those girls too. All those pretty little insecure females," I say. "I remember all their pretty names too. And your grades are just average. You're very normal."
"What's normal?" he doesn't really care.
"Normal, like have dogs and parents and everything."
"You have parents," he says.
"Yeah, but not that. You don't understand. My parents are not like parents. Wait, are you suggesting that I was implying that I'm not normal?" I poke him with sharp end of what I say.
"I didn't say it," he denies.
"I said you are normal, but didn't say that I'm not. I am normal too."
Al doesn't say it out loud but I can hear he talks to himself in whisper: "if you say so."
I snort. It's kind of freezing, or maybe it just me, but I tighten my jacket anyway. I can sense that it is still trying to find its way to approach us. And it's quite away. So in the mean time we are a little safe. I can continue this talk with Aloysius.
"I watched your every game and knew exactly where you're gonna eat your lunch or park your car. It's sort of sad, I idolized you so much but you never knew that I was around."
"That's normal. Idols are meant to be that certain way, you know it," he said.  Even in the dark, I know he is smiling in victory; he makes me eat my own word.
"Yeah I know, but, it would be great if you say hi to me one or two times back then."
For a moment he doesn't say anything. "We're together now, right?"
This time, I don't say anything. This togetherness feels something else other than satisfactory.
Suddenly I was pretty sure the thing is almost come to us because I start to feel uneasy on my stomach. I always sense it. But out of nowhere Al starts to make conversation and makes me forget about that.
"Actually, I know you too. You've always watching me from faraway, with your dopey eyes and slimy face like that. Who wouldn't notice? It's like I'm your prey. But it's not that I don't want to say hi to you, the problem is that you got that reputation."
"You mean I'm famous too?" rhetorically I ask him.
"You brought dead cat to school."
I smile. That was funny stuff to do.
"You're a freak. People scared of you," he continues.
"I didn't mean to scare them; I was just trying to make a statement that everything comes to an ugly scary shape."
Al doesn't seem to get it.
"Cats are supposed to be cute," I pause, "until they're dead."
This conversation makes me feel really high in quality, I feel supremacy, authenticity, grounded and whole as a person. They are rare feelings and they make me feel good about myself, but like happiness, it won't last long.
I feel like singing a song, but Al will be very mad, so I hum a little.
"How long have we been together like this?" I ask him out of curiosity.
"Three years? I don't remember." His answer is obvious, that the memory about us is not something particular for him.
"You must remember important thing like that. You're a stupid disruptive influence!"
Like any other jocks in school, Aloy doesn't like it when he is being called stupid. So he considers me as gone just a little overboard. Maybe I should apologize but I don't know how. The truth is I like to insult people because they can't feed my ego, but I will feel guilty afterward.
"Want candy?" I try to bribe him.
"You don't have it," he says.
I chuckle. "I have it, it's an imaginary candy. It's sweeter than fiction. You want some?"
"Call me stupid again, next time I'll hit you on your face."
"Ooh, scary," I mock him.
Now he's really mad.
I feel like smoking but that's ridiculous because I don't have any cigarettes.
*
Aloy gets up, he walks to the mouth of the cave and check the condition outside.
"Is it here yet?" I ask him.
"I don't think so, the air is crisp outside, and so it's fine." 
It is usually drizzly, snowy or thundery whenever it comes closer to us.
Al goes back to the place where he was, only this time he positioned himself a little closer to me. I feel like an idiot owl trying to search for his facial expression.
"You feeling cold?" I ask him.
He doesn't answer.
"Maybe we should start a little fire," I say.
"And we'll die faster then. You want that?"
"I don't know, if you want it, so?"
I start to search in my jacket pocket, a lighter. A fine hand-made titanium lighter I bought in county fair last year. I bought it for Al but never actually gave it to him.
I find it and I light it up. The fire is tiny but it is dancing so beautifully, it drops shadow on our faces and makes them look horrendous.
"Your face scary. It's like evil penguin," I tell him.
He chuckles. "You mean Kingpin."
I look at his everything with a longing feeling that I can't properly describe. He is perfectly build and enjoyable to look at. I didn't tell about this stuff to him or people, though. To them I'm just a frog.
"I always wanted to be the part of cool kids," I tell him, feeling like a loser toad.
"What cool kids?" he asks.
"Cool kids, like you. Fit in, get it, have stuff and can easily get away with anything."
"Are we going there again?" he asks.
"Going where you mean?"
"This melancholia about your yesteryears."
It took me quite a while to respond to that.
"I hate it."
"I get it. You hate high school, you hate teachers, you hate classmates, you hate your parents, you hate your neighbors, you hate almost anything, you hate people, and you hate yourself. What else? I know all of it."
I can't see him well enough to see his facial expression, but I can sense that he is combing his great hair using his left hand. He has this great hair that fall perfectly no matter how bad the situation is. And I am embarrassed. Because he's the only one who can look through me like that.
"Do you know melancholia is a meteor?" I ask him. "It's on its way to strike the earth. That's the day we call doomsday when it happens. But it doesn't matter cause we will already be gone before that. It will kill us, here."
He doesn't answer.
"We should've gone to Sinead O Connor' concert." I tell him trying to be romantic.
"Who's Connor?"
"That bald chick," I bet he doesn't know her. I bet he only cares for cool top 40s because that's all the cool kids would have gone.
"You know, I would love to read a good story right now," I tell him again since he doesn't reply to my last murmur.
"What's a good story?"
"Like novel, you know novel? Good novel, the one that is not preachy and telling us to be this and that. The one that does not contain tacky philosophical bullshit. I bet you don't understand stuff like this..."
I can sense now that he is disturbed by my statement. Now I get your attention, huh.
"You know, the thing about you is that you always see yourself as very incapable, but you also think that nobody is smarter than you. 'Oh I hate myself but I'm better than all of you', that's what you are..."
I wish that I was smoking so I can blow the smoke at him.
"You think you know me." So I told him. 
Silence.
I kinda want to touch him, but if I do the game is over.
*
BAM! BAM!
We can hear a gun fired several times from distance.
"Is it here? Is it here yet?" I ask Al nervously.
"It's near," he says.
"Is it a hunter? Do you hear dog barking? Monstrous sounds?" I start to panic.
"No. It's only gunshot, so perhaps it is a hunter now." Al's voice is steady, but it doesn't make it any better.
The matter is that it changes its form from time to time. It could be a human, an animal, or even a device and it has tried to kill us for years now.
"Tell me good stories!" I ask him.
"I can't think," he gets up.
"Tell me that we think we are funny, even though that actually we're not. Tell me that we laughed at story that we made ourselves and we feel okay about anything pretend that we don't care when in fact it is the other way around. Tell me something good."
"You're confusing me."
"Tell me that you love me," I ask him.
He stands still.
"Are you gay?" he asks.
"I am not. I don't know. I hate label. I want to keep it this way. Ambiguously unspoken."
He doesn't understand the idea.
"Tell me you love me," I ask him again.
It took him a long pause and I can hear the sound of someone vigorously walking through thick bushes, that hunter. He is wading his way here.
"We love you, not only me," he tells me.
The words are very sad, I'm feeling frantic about it.
The sound of gun blares again. It is in the mouth of the cave now. I can feel it and I kind of feel certain now. I think I should do it. Those sadness, that sentence that came out from him, I can't bear it any longer. Yes, this is the time.
"Don't," Aloy tells me as if he is holding my hand. "Don't let yourself go."
"Why?" I ask him.
"You know what happens when you go?"
"What?"
"Nothing," he says that blatantly.
It's bitter. I gulp a lot of grief.
I was hoping he would say that if I die, he will die too. I want him to say that there's too much about me that the world doesn't understand. And it is okay because he will. But he doesn't say it. Nobody will say shit like that.
So, ok now, bye.
There, there it is. I can see the hunter looking at me with its judging eyes, protruding every inch of my skin to my very veins. When it came to this, Al and the other are always invisible to it. It is only between me and it.
"It is okay to feel very lonely and talk to us sometimes and has adventure wherever you can imagine, it's okay to be like that."
It is weird as it is, Al's voice sounds like my own, and suddenly I can see group of people crowding the skimpy cave. They are all the people who I talk to, sometimes when I feel like it. And they look at me wanting to stay alive. That's the old grandma, that's the eight year old shy boy, that's the pregnant woman, that's a stupid dog, and four other imaginary people, they are all have names.
It's so sickening, disgusting, I cry.
My hands are trembling, feeling the cold sensation from the gun that touches my skin. It finger is never ready to pull the trigger.
I'm a coward.
I put the gun back into the drawer. And turn on the lamp.
*



IT’S 2 AM AND I TEXT YOU

(poem, 2017)

It’s 2 am and i text you
Because I’m awake and eating sandwich, do you have banana? Do you want to eat with me or not?
It’s 2 am and i text you
Because i watch a TV show and i laugh and i wish you think it’s funny too.
It’s 2 am and i text you
Because I’m smiling and it’s silly and parampampampam.
It’s 2 am and i text you
Because i wish i was in a downtown train together with you swimming in the night air and i will tell you that the moon, that the moon… And you just understand.
It’s 2 am and i text you
Because once a day is 2 am.
It’s 2 am.






The Family Shopping Trip 
(short story)


I want to tell you about the day that i went to the mall and bought stuffs for my family. it all started with my mom keeps ranting on me, saying that she wants me to buy her bags.
"You go to Malaysia again, you buy some bag for me."
I hesitantly said no to her because i don't wanna carry stuffs. and buying it is kinda embarrassing for me.
But then she reminded me about those times, "you bought me bag when you went to US, and also when you went to KL for first time."
True. But... still.
So, the next day, i took her to nearest mall. i almost never taken her to any mall. i meant just the two of us like mother-son date. so that was the first time. i took her to the restaurant that she never been before and then took her to bag store.
"now pick anything you want," i told her.
she took a very long time and came up with something cheap.
"pick something expensive!" i told her. "you can buy something like that at pasar."
she went again and hesitantly handed me bag that cost 500 thousands rupiah. but i know she's been glancing to the bag that cost nearly one million. she held it once and put it back. i knew she liked it.
i said, "it will be discounted into half. so it's fine." i told her and took that expensive one. (i am very good at discounted stuffs and i bring my calculator all the time while shopping).
she said "no, it's okay. just buy the affordable one." 300 thousands is already expensive for her.
i paid for the bag anyway.
"do you want some sandals or shoes?" i asked her again.
she nodded.
so we went into shoes store. but apparently her feet are too big, the store doesn't have her size. once there this SPG who looks down on us as we dress like we don't have money, but i don't give it shit. we kept on looking and found this expensive shoes that cost nearly one million rupiah. it was Kickers and made of leather. she tried it for fun and told me that they fit her perfectly. but she wouldn't take it because the price is crazy. then i went to the sales, she told me it will be discounted as well. it's a good bargain. so i bought them.
at house she wore them all, along with the new dress that she bought earlier by her own money and told me that she doesn't have to buy any new dress for lebaran. i "okay-ed" her. she bragged about that to my sister through sms and all.
to my surprise in the morning she told me that she couldn't slept at all because she thought that the shoes and the bag are too expensive for her.
i laughed so hard.
to be honest, i had never bought something that expensive for myself as well.
the next day i met my sister, who works for somebody else with payment only half milion rupiah per month. she told me she was going to pasar to bought her children some pants for lebaran.
"in bulan puasa will be too hectic," she said to me.
i saw my niece and nephew. one is 4th grader, and the other is 7th grader. both are very skinny.
"come on i take you to the mall," i told her.
my niece and nephew came along, and we never gone to the shopping mall altogether like that. i took them to the fashion store. i knew it will have lots of lots good bargain and discount as it is weekend. all are very cheap.
and i was right.
my nephew took a very short time on deciding what he wanted. two pair of pants, and some t-shirts. all five of them. my niece was another story, which reminded me of my little self. she took her times really well and couldn't decided anything. her mom got frustrated. she almost never bought clothes in the mall and there were too many options.
so i took her. "come on let's shop with uncle." i said.
"this is look good on you," i said, she agreed. "what else do you want? tell me. you want some jeans?"
"no i don't want it, i want lepis..." she said.
"honey it's the same." i told her chuckling.
i told her to pick some jeans that still on hanger, (not the ones that are piled for discounted).
she found what she likes and saw the price tag, it was almost 300 thousands rupiah.
"you like it?" i asked her.
she said yes. "but it's too expensive, wow..." she shook her head and smiled and ran to another place like it doesn't matter. it broke my heart into pieces.
i bought the jeans for her, "it will be discounted, don't worry," i told her. she said no, but i said it's ok, and in the end she took it.
the discounts fair was really good, there are some items in which if you bought two you can get one free clothes and all. we ended up picking 7 different items. and i paid them all.
my niece told her mom that she was hungry and wanted to eat. i asked her what she wanted? i know some toasted bread with yumm toppings and all, and she said yes. we went there and they ate a lot. like 'really' a lot. i didn't bite any.
my sister told me that last lebaran her daughter only bought one pair of clothing from the store in the pasar. i 'hmm' and didn't respond to that.
after finishing the bread, my niece told me she's still hungry and wanted to eat rice. oh my... so indonesian. so i took her to burger king and bought them rice and chicken and all. i didn't eat though. i went to the toilet after saying goodbye to them, and i cried a little. i hope God keeps me making good money so i can provide more for my family, better in the future.
the shopping altogether spent quite much so i should cut the budget for this and that, and i barely have any saving left, but that doesn't really matter. money comes and go and it is best if you use it for your family. people often call me stingy and cheap and penny calculated. but i don't really care. i don't wanna buy things for people, i rather buy for my family.
and that's all. writing this made my throat choked a little. and no, i never said it to them directly, but i do care about them so much.

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