Book Review: Malam Terakhir | Leila S. Chudori

Kumpulan cerpen ini terbit pertama kali tahun 1989. Saat saya baru membiasakan diri berbahasa Indonesia. Saya membaca apapun yang tersedia, mulai dari kolom Indonesiana di majalah Tempo, sampai “Oh, Mama. Oh, Papa” di majalah Kartini milik Mama, tak ketinggalan kolom asuhan dr. Naek L. Tobing. Tontonan siang hari kalau isinya bukan Ray Sahetapi pastilah ada Roy Marten.

Membaca kumpulan cerpen ini seperti memutar kembali tahun-tahun di mana Jakarta terasa begitu artifisial. Begitu ingin menyusul kota-kota maju dunia. Padahal pusat perbelanjaan belum sebanyak sekarang.

Saat Pemerintah seperti berguru pada novel 1984 milik George Orwell. Sandiwara-sandiwara bertajuk swasembada pangan dan mencerdaskan kehidupan bangsa tayang hampir setiap malam setelah Dunia Dalam Berita, Laporan Khusus mereka yang mau dibohongi dengan bahagia.

Tokoh-tokoh dalam kumcer ini kebanyakan perempuan-perempuan yang menolak tunduk pada norma. Perempuan-perempuan yang membaca, melihat serta mendengar sekitar. Tidak berhenti di situ, mereka ikut aktif mempertanyakan kejanggalan dan ketimpangan.

Beberapa perempuan takluk dan kalah, beberapa perempuan menemukan tempat dan tetap bertahan hidup meski caranya menerabas norma. Perempuan-perempuan abu-abu.

Perempuan-perempuan di mata Leila S. Chudori adalah yang mandiri penuh kontroversi, seperti Ilona, Rain (nama anaknya sendiri) dan Dila yang akhirnya memilih mati. Di atas semuanya, perempuan-perempuan yang digambarkan Leila S. Chudori, bergerak lebih dengan kepekaan hati. Setidaknya itu yang aku tangkap.

Seperti Sita yang setia namun geram dan Salikha yang berharap gelap menyalakan Hamdani di matanya.

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Heart Workout

I wonder what God was thinking when he created Eve. Not a polar opposite to Adam. But with softer features on the outside. Creating some kind of diversion to the advanced machine she has on the inside. Including a powerful heart. She can multi-task. Her mind can focus on several things at a time. She can develop a human being inside her. She can produce milk. She has strong intuition and sometimes even sixth-sense like abilities when it comes to the people she loves. And all which can only work when powered by? Yep. Love.

I have come to a point. Where I know I can love just for the sake of loving. I do not need anything in return. Love doesn’t have to be reciprocal. It would be nice to cuddle and kiss the one you love. Indeed. But it would be terrible to cuddle and kiss the one you don’t, just because your body yearns it. While your heart burns for another. But, in any condition, I advise you to simply love.

At this point, though I know I’ve thoroughly ruined my chances with a certain guy. Yet, I know I can still live, write, draw, laugh, sing and be happy and cry. Because crying, you see, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sad and pitiful. It means you’ve a muscle called the heart. It sweats when you work it too hard. The bigger it loves the harder it works. And when you work it too hard it aches, like any other muscle. However, like any other muscle, if you work it regularly, it becomes stronger.

Sometimes you just click with someone and your brain goes into autopilot and makes all kinds of connections to make you feel good, feel hopeful and expectant. Sometimes you just want to rush into things and find out if your expectations can be met. But you (always) seem to forget that great expectations can be returned with great disappointments. So why not love just for the sake of loving? Giving? And not expecting anything in return?

Don’t complicate things. Don’t assume. Don’t hurt others. Just love, and let the Universe do the rest.