Obaa-san

She is an Englishwoman living in Kyoto. Her pale freckled face, tells the story of her youth. Wrinkles at all the right places and symmetric dimples at both corners of her lips, must have lured many a laughter from the opposite sex. I met Obaa-san for the first time at Fermata. The small corner restaurant, that was a part of the 3-star hotel I was working for. She noted that I wasn’t a native by the way I spoke Japanese and asked where I was from. She gave me a generous tip. And before I knew it I was often accompanying her in her room, reading novels we picked out at the hotel library. She said she wanted to help me improve my English. I was more than grateful. In return, I told her plenty of stories about Indonesia and my religion too, which she seemed to always enjoy.

The hotel we work for is associated with a Japanese Language School a couple of kilometers South-East. So, after studying our butts off in the morning, we ride our bikes to work until 5 in the afternoon. Earning enough money to pay for tuition and rent. Hardly though. I’m grateful my sister has been here a few years earlier than I arrived, and has great networks with shops that are willing to hire anyone who is a friend or relative of hers. Besides working at the hotel, I still have to ride my bike South-West to Kiyamachi and work until 10PM at a Thai Restaurant. This part I enjoy. No matter how many bed sheets I had to make during the daytime, I love being a part of the hustle and bustle of Kyoto’s night life. Especially in early Spring. Where the air is still crisp and you can smell love in the air.

Simply saying, ‘Irrasshaimase!’ and bow to incoming guests was my first task at that restaurant, a year ago. Now I am already able to take orders, prepare simple Thai drinks and desserts. The boss, Mr. Hayashi appreciates how I always step forward whenever anyone needs a hand. Something I learned from my father back home. He was always helping his neighbours and doing stuff he didn’t have to. And almost everyone was fond of him and his smiles. “Irrasshaimasee!” Kiki squealed awkwardly at the passersby, as I passed her in the front door. “Ganbatte ne, Kiki-chan!” I smiled to her and added “Kyou mo, yoropikune!” with a girly wink. Kiki giggled and continued her duty.

Around 9.30, a Caucasian couple entered the restaurant. The man wore a black windbreaker jacket above tight blue jeans and the woman wore a brown trench coat over her casual jeans and an Oxford sweater. I carefully took their jackets and handed them to Kiki to put on the coat rack.

“Ano…, eigo dekimashitaka?” the woman muttered hesitantly in broken Japanese. Nobody seemed to have explained to her the simple mistake she made and neither did I.
“Yes, I can speak English.”
They seemed surprised for a split second.
“I’m sorry, can we still order?”
“Yes, you’re just in time. Final orders are at 9.30.”
“Phew” the lady sighed as she faked wiping sweat off.
I smiled to her. The gentleman was eyeing the menu.
“We’ll have Tom Yam Goong and Gai Pad Mamuang, also Thai Ice Tea for both. Oh, and could we have the spring rolls and the Papaya salad for starters?”
“Som Tam and Por Pia Tord. Certainly. Is that all?”
“Yes, thank you.” the lady was holding back her laugh.
As I walked towards the kitchen I heard them both laugh behind me.
I’m sure they were laughing about the spring roll word.
Bloody hell, I said quietly but couldn’t help not to feel tickled by the fact that they’re going to eat ‘thai’ food, which in Bahasa sounds similar to a word that means ‘turd’ too.

As I was delivering their ‘turds’, I realized that the lady looked a lot like Obaa-san only with darker hair. The way she rested her chin on her palm was exactly what Obaa-san does if I started telling her stories about my family back home. Obaa-san would have that twinkle in her eyes. A hint of longing and nostalgia, I thought. But the twinkle I saw coming from the lady finishing her coconut milk cassava desert, was definitely of love. I looked away, and caught Kiki staring at the same direction too. We were both stationed near the audio system waiting for the two to leave as our only remaining customers. The bills have been prepared and Mr. Hayashi was busy counting tonight’s earnings over by the counter. The kitchen was all tidied up. Thai music that reminded me of gamelan back home played softly in the background. I can’t wait to tell Obaa-san about this couple, I thought to myself.

–to be continued–

Advertisements

Tamu Itu

“Siapa itu, Mbak.” bisikku sambil membantu Mbak Asih menyiapkan teh untuk tamu.
“Ngga ngerti, Neng. Magrib-magrib kok namu ya? Apa ngga diajari sopan santun ya.” kulihat Mbak Asih masih mengenakan sarung sholatnya. “Iya, ngga semua orang dibesarkan dengan cara yang sama kan Mbak, lagipula belum tentu tamu itu muslim.”
“Iye, bener juga si Neng. Gih, dianterin dulu tehnye.”
“Injiiihh, ndoro..”
“Makasih, Neng. Mbak naik ke kamar lagi ye. Yasinannye belum kelar.”

Sambil berjalan pelan-pelan membawa baki berisi teh dan kudapan, kuamati tamu yang sedang tertawa-tawa bersama Ayah. Hal pertama yang mencuri perhatianku adalah kumisnya yang hitam dan tebal sekali. Kenapa kumisnya tidak dia pindahkan ke atas kepalanya? Di sana, rambut tampaknya sudah tak lagi betah berumah. Padahal umurnya tampak tak lebih dari 35 tahun. Pandangan kami bertemu. Ia tersenyum lalu mengangguk santun padaku. Anehnya bulu kudukku berdiri.
“Aduh repot-repot nih, dik…eh… ?”
“Ini Annisa. Dia anak bungsu kami. Satu-satunya yang belum berkeluarga”
Aku letakkan cangkir teh dan piring kudapan di hadapannya.
“Handoko Permana.” ia berdiri sambil mengulurkan tangan kanannya.
“Annisa” anggukku “Maaf, masih ada wudhlu.”
“Oh.” tampak sekilas kecewa di matanya saat ia kembali duduk di kursi rotan ruang tamu keluarga kami.
“Nak Handoko ini putra teman kuliah Ayah dulu, Dek. Dia pilot Garuda.”
Kuletakkan baki di sisi meja tamu yang masih kosong lalu mengambil posisi di sebelah Ayah. Biasanya Ibu yang menemani Ayah tiap ada tamu. Tapi sejak Ibu dipanggil Sang Khalik 3 bulan yang lalu, akulah yang selalu duduk di dekat Ayah bila ada tamu. Pendengaran Ayah agak kurang. Selama sebulan setelah Ibu berpulang, hampir setiap malam ada saudara, kenalan, sahabat, bahkan mahasiswa-mahasiswa Ibu yang datang bertamu. Sebagian kami kenal, sebagian lainnya belum pernah kami lihat sama sekali. Aku dan Ayah tak henti-henti bersyukur, begitu banyak yang memiliki ikatan silaturahmi dengan Alm. Ibu dan sebelum mereka pulang selalu kami pesankan untuk mendoakan Ibu. Mataku jatuh pada foto Ibu di dinding di hadapanku. Senyumnya lembut dan penuh kasih. Aku membalas senyumnya. Samar-samar saja kudengar obrolan basa-basi Ayah dan tamunya. Pikiranku sedang mengunjungi kenangan akan ibu.

“Dik Annisa mirip sekali ya, dengan Ibu.” rupanya tamu Ayah memperhatikanku terus sedari tadi.
Aku tertunduk.
“Apa katanya, Dek?” Ayah minta diulangi.
Belum sempat aku menerangkannya, Mas Handoko meletakkan tangannya di atas bahu Ayah dan mendekatkan bibirnya ke telinga Ayah. Membisikkan sesuatu. Terlalu pelan untuk kudengar. Lancang sekali orang ini. Tanganku reflek memegang punggung tangan Ayah.

Ayah terdiam. Tatapannya mendadak kosong. Firasat tak enak yang kurasakan terhadap tamu itu semakin kuat, namun aku berusaha tenang.
“Kuliah di mana Mas?” tanyaku sambil terus memegangi punggung tangan Ayah dalam hati mengucap doa-doa memohon perlindungan-Nya.
“Di UI. Adik Annisa?”
“Oh, sama dengan Ayahnya ya? Aku juga, mengikuti jejak Ayah. Mas ambil ekonomi juga?”
“Err. Iya.” ia sempat berpikir sejenak sebelum menjawab.
“Wah, hebat ya! Sudah lulusan Ekonomi UI, bisa bawa pesawat terbang pula. Pasti istrinya bangga ya..”
“Iya, iya.” Jawabnya tanpa melihat ke arahku, ia sibuk merogoh sesuatu di dalam tas hitam yang sedari tadi dipangkunya.

Rasa takutku tambah jadi. Orang ini bicaranya tidak konsisten. Dari tadi Ayah pasti hanya mengiyakan lantaran gengsi mengakui pendengarannya sudah mulai rusak atau sekedar ingin menyenangkan hati tamu. Bagaimana kalau ia membawa senjata tajam atau senjata api. Aku berusaha mengingat-ingat apakah Ayah memiliki musuh, atau Ibu..?

Kriiiiinngg!!!

Telepon di belakangku berdering. Aku nyaris melompat dari kursiku. Rasanya jantungku hendak copot. Tampak tamu itu sama terkejutnya. Tangannya ia keluarkan dari dalam tas. Kosong. Wajahnya pucat. Matanya memerah. Ayah terkulai, lemas.

Kriiiiiiiinngg!!!

Aku panik. Aku yang berbadan kecil begini tak mungkin menang menghadapinya. Aku tetap berusaha tenang.
“Maaf ya, Mas.” tanpa melepaskan tanganku dari punggung tangan ayah, tangan kananku mengangkat telpon.
“Assalamu’alaikum.”
“Wa’alaikum salam. Baca Ayat Kursi keras-keras ke wajah orang itu, Nak.”
Aku terkejut.
“Ibu?”
“Tut..tut..tut..”
Telepon di ujung sana terputus.

“Siapa, Dek?” orang itu tahu-tahu sudah berdiri di depanku. Tinggi menjulang. Seakan hendak menerkamku. Ukuran tubuhnya sudah tidak lazim, kepalanya menyenggol lampu kristal kami.
Kupejamkan mata lalu membaca Ayat Kursi sekuat yang aku bisa.
Seluruh inderaku yang lain berfungsi secara maksimal.
Di hadapanku ada hawa panas dan dapat kudengar desis amarah dan suara gemeletuk gigi. Aku selesaikan membaca Ayat yang dipinta suara di telepon tadi. Begitu selesai, suara Adzan Isya menimpali. Lalu sunyi.
Selama itu tangan kiriku tak lepas memegangi punggung tangan Ayah.

Perlahan kubuka mata.
Tamu tadi sudah tak ada.
Di kakiku terdapat beberapa bilah badik yang masih berasap.

“Neng?! Ade ape ribut-ribut?” Mbak Asih tergopoh-gopoh, menghampiri.
“Loh? Ayah kenape, Neng?”

Jika Engkau Maka Aku

Jika engkau adalah senja, akulah gadis yang tergesa pulang agar bisa duduk di balkon yang bermandikan gradasi jinggamu.

Jika engkau adalah airmata, akulah surat cinta yang kautetesi hingga menjadikanmu nyata.

Jika engkau adalah langit, akulah ikan terbang yang kerap meninggalkan rumah untuk mencumbumu.

Dan jika aku mawar yang kaupetik, gantunglah aku terbalik agar aroma kasihku senantiasa dapat terbetik.

Jakarta, 3 Maret 2011