On Being In Two Places At One Time.

“It’s been raining a lot lately.” she said walking with a cup of tea towards the window. Her soft features against the grayish white morning light, looked like a painting. I was happy to be the only spectator of this beauty. A sleepy happy. 

“It is the rainy season, no?” I replied drowsily. Smiling, nestling my face back into the cool clean pillow. 

A lot. A lot.” she said. “Look. People are floating to work.” 

Not looking, I laughed and said,”Come back here you. No mention of the “w” word, okay. This day is ours. We deserve it.” 

When I didn’t hear anything, I stole a peek from where I lay. She stayed sitting by the window. Sipping her tea slowly immersed in thought. As if she was in another world already. Smiling contently. 

How is it possible for someone to be two places at one time? How is it possible to love two people at one time? I asked her once.

“It’s not possible. When you’re ‘visiting’ another place, you become absent in the place you began with.” 

She puts her cup on the window sill. Letting it continue her sightseeing as she climbed back into the crisp white covers with me.

“But you’re here aren’t you? With me. In this nice hotel on a weekday. Lying to your boss. Calling in sick.” I hugged her close making sure her whole being feels my energy and presence. 

“Yes.” she kissed my hands that met in front of her. Lovingly, each finger, then the insides of my palms. As if saying, “I love these chubby hands.” 

“I love this kind of music.” She said commenting on the contemporary gamelan instrumental playing in the background. It had some nature sounds mixed into it. Giving off a fake feeling we’re not in the center of a crowded messy city but somewhere exotic. 

Then she goes on telling me how she received a CD from a hotel in Singapore where she stayed at for business, in return for a comment she wrote in their guest comment sheet saying that she loved the hotel channel’s welcome music. She said the hotel was such a waste because she stayed there alone for two nights with a spectacular view of the Singapore Flyer. 

“I really wished I was staying there with someone. I sat by the window. Drinking in the view and cried thinking how badly I wanted to share it with someone.” 

I felt the longing in her voice and hugged her tighter. 

“It hurts.” 

I apologized and loosened my hug. 

“It hurts when I know you’re on good terms with her. It hurts even more, when I realize I’m the bad guy that secretly smiles when things go wrong with her.” 

She curls herself into a ball. Denying my efforts to pull her back into my embrace. 

“It hurt the most the first time, though. When you were so serious on telling me to go home. It felt like, you got what you wanted and after that you wanted me to get lost. I know your intentions were right. We should be extra careful. And I’m not known for going home late. But still, it hurt and I don’t want to feel that hurt again, ever.” she paused. “All I wanted was to cuddle for a few more minutes.” and her voice cracked.  

I pulled her to face me. Tears were running down her cheeks.

“I’m sorry.” I said with all the sincerety I had inside. Looking deep into her wet seeing marbles. 

She closed them and shook her head. 

“Mea culpa. It’s ok. It’s not you, it’s  me. Now please let go. I want to sleep.” 

But the water on the window and on her cheeks continued to flow. 

Promiscuous Girl 

“Ada yang beda.”

“Apa sih.”

“Nah. Tuh! Tuh! Cara lo maenin rambut. Sok imut tau gak. Lo gak lagi selingkuh kan?”

“Tae. Tau aja.”

“Hah! Serius! Gila lo! Sampe beneran, AWAS.”


“Belum tapi cengengesan. Nyebelin kuadrat. Udah ah, lo pulang sendiri!”

Ifa menyeruput kopinya dengan santai. Mengabaikan Sammy yang dengan gusar mengetuk-ngetukkan filter rokoknya ke kaca meja.

“It’s like playing at the beach. A beach without waves is boooring.”

“Air beriak tanda tak dalam.”

“I can’t swim, remember?”

“Oh. Yeah. Right.”

“Well, its not like I’m cheating on your cousin. I don’t even know his name. All I know is that he is married too. And please don’t take me for a fool. Pake bilang ‘air beriak tanda tak dalam’ segala. Berak.”

“Tapi jujur, something’s different. Lo lebih jinak.”


“So, do I know him?”

“Gue aja gak tau namanya.”

“Anak mana?”


“Nyebelin ye, bocah. Ngajak gue ke sini. Ngomong ada yang mau diceritain. Gue pula yang harus jemput dan nganter pulang ntar. Giliran cerita, main rahasia-rahasia. Gue bilangin Jason nyaho lo.”


“Hahaha. Your eyes.”

“So, you’re OK knowing this, right?”

Sammy menggaruk kepalanya.

“Jangan tanya gue ah. Pusing.”

“Tanya siapa dong.”

“Tanya calon selingkuhan lo itulah.”

“Ye, siapa yang nyalonin. He’s just eye candy. Like maybe Jason is to someone at his office too. Like I am to you, maybe? Or like you are to some gay guy.”

“FYI, I don’t mind kicking girls butts. Yours in particular.”

“Maafkan, Tuan. Aku berjanji. Tak mau menuai murka. Untukmu oh, Kawan.”

“Bocah sedeng. Malah nyanyi. Karepmu wis.”

“Dudududu.. Dududu…”

“Warna lipstik belakangan juga lebih genit gimana..-”

“Dudududu… Dududu…”

“Jangan difollow up. Itu aja nasehat gue. By any means. Jangan.”

“Dudududu… Dududu…”

“Ngga usah stalking-stalking socmed, google researching or anything you agency kids do.”


“I know that ‘hehehehe’ far too well. Leave me out of any of your ‘hehehehes’ regarding this matter.”


“Hehehehehehehehehehe. Taelah.”

Buying Chocolates. Lots Of Chocolates.

I remember you were suddenly able to walk quickly. There were half a dozen of us, rushing to COOP because some other members of our tour said the chocolate prices there were a whole lot cheaper. We rode the escalator that went beneath the intersection. And voila! we found ourselves in a small shopping district. So brightly lit and so airy, I thought we couldn’t possibly be underground.

And there it was at the back of the shopping district with bright orange letters you wouldn’t miss, COOP. Our last hope for chocolates to bring to our friends and relatives back home. Mba Siska one of your colleagues pointed the aisle were the best bargain chocolates were.

Almost instantly, I grabbed 5 bars of fifty cent chocolates. The brand design made them look like cheap bulk chocolates, but we thought, who cares as long as “Made in Switzerland” was written in the back.

I forgot why I was being snappy at you. Perhaps it was because of all of the rushing and considering what to buy—taking things off the shelf and putting them back on the shelf– and then queueing, and then just me queueing alone because your friend said there was another aisle with cheaper chocolate. I guess I was irritated because our line was getting really short, two baskets full of chocolate at my feet and wondering how the heck we were going to fill our suitcases with this much chocolate let alone take them all the way back to the hotel.

I’m sorry for treating you the way I did. The way I sometimes still do. You are the sweetest, most patient and loving man I get to call my husband.

This Woman’s Work

Aku terjaga oleh mimpi tentangmu. Sosok yang kukenal tiap lekuk dan liuknya itu. Mata yang cerlang pada kulit yang jauh dari terang. Lalu barisan gigi putih yang gemar mempertontonkan diri itu. Untukku. Untuk semua orang.

Aku terjaga oleh mimpi tentangmu. Berwarna kusam seperti film bioskop yang terlalu sering diputar ulang. Dan seperti film Perancis tahun 50an kamu membisu. Selalu begitu. Meski tanganmu kauulurkan kepadaku.

Aku terjaga dan mendapati diriku di pertigaan jalan tempat kami pertama bertemu. Pria di dalam lampu berdiri tegak dan berkedip merah. Engkau mengenakan blus panjang tanpa lengan berwarna putih. Lagi-lagi tanganmu terulur, menarikku dari seberang.

Pikiran dan hatiku menolak tapi kakiku melangkah. Benar saja, aspal di bawahku pecah dan aku tercebur. Aku berusaha berenang. Namun kesulitan sebab airnya penuh dengan ikan-ikan kenangan. Kenanganku. Juga kenangan semua orang yang pernah kehilangan.

Seorang penyanyi opera berpelukan dengan lawan mainnya sedikit terlalu lama. Wanita yang mengelus buncit perutnya dengan penuh sayang, tak lama kemudian tampak begitu kehilangan setelah keluar dari ruang operasi.

Aku mencoba berenang lebih dalam dengan harapan bisa kutemukan kenanganmu tentangku.

Di sebuah ceruk, kutemukan jarimu yang dengan sangat hati-hati menyentuh bekas jahitan di pelipisku lalu bibirmu untuk ke sekian kalinya menanyakan cerita luka itu bisa ada di situ.

Tiba-tiba kudengar dengkur halusmu. Mengingatkanku pada wajah damaimu saat tidur. Apakah di bawah sana kamu mendengkur juga? Lelapkah penantianmu?

Aku terus bertahan hidup. Di atasku orang-orang berlalu-lalang dan tak ikut tercebur dalam air ini. Air yang asin sedikit manis seperti.. seperti airmata.

Seperti sekian banyak kata yang luput kusampaikan ke telingamu. Seperti sekian banyak rencana yang belum sempat terlaksana.

Seperti engkau dan aku yang tetap saling menjaga dengan sedikit nyawa yang tersisa.

inspired by Maxwell’s ‘Woman’s Work’

Kenapa saya menulis?

Menulis itu melelahkan.
Menulis butuh ketenangan.
Menulis butuh kesendirian.
Menulis butuh jam terbang.
Menulis butuh konsentrasi.
Menulis butuh wawasan yang luas.

Menulis adalah mencipta.
Menulis adalah berbagi rasa.
Menulis adalah mengajak berpikir.
Menulis adalah meninggalkan warisan.
Menulis adalah menyatakan bahwa kita pernah ada. Pernah melakukan hal-hal di atas.

Mungkin tak seindah atau sesempurna yang sanggup orang lain lakukan.
Mungkin pilihan kata kita tak selincah si A.
Mungkin riasan analogi dan metafora tak semenor si B.
Mungkin tema yang kita usung tak sepenting dan segenting si C.

Tapi yang pasti menulis harus datang dari hati agar selamat tiba di hati.

*: Tulisan ini ditulis dalam rangka menyambut 100 Koproler setia. Monggo pinarak. Make yourself at home. :*

Dear You,

Disclaimer: Surat ini hanya satu dari sekian banyak surat yang mungkin akan kamu terima dariku. Kelak tanpa tagar. Barangkali tanpa semua orang harus tahu. Tapi surat ini untuk kamu dan hanya kamu yang tahu siapa dirimu.

Aku pun, hadir di dalam hidupmu dengan beberapa disclaimer. Dengan harapan disclaimer-disclaimer itu tak menjadi penghalang perhatian dan kasih sayangmu tiba di muka pintu rumahku atau di depan depot ibuku.

Terlebih senyummu.

Aku pun, seperti nasihatmu, tak berpikir banyak saat hampir tengah malam menulis tweet nomention yang terbaca oleh rombongan kawan-kawanku dan kawan-kawanmu sampai-sampai semesta ikut tersenyum lantaran senyummu itu.

Aku pun.

Aku pun, sepertimu, mampu mengabadikan keindahan dalam lembar-lembar kertas. Kertas-kertas jejak. Jejak kita dan anak-cucu kelak. Rumah yang berevolusi perlahan membentuk hunian impian. Tempat derai tangis dan gelak tawa mewarnai hitam putih dunia.

Aku pun, sepertimu, menganggap surat ini mulai terdengar klise. Tersebab standar kita yang terlalu tinggi untuk dua manusia standar. Namun selayaknya cinta yang dimiliki Ibu kita,
aku pun, sepertimu, melihat potensi maha luas dalam kasih sayang yang kini kita tekuni.


I began this letter not knowing what to write.
But with you, I know the future will be bright.
Because your name is like mine
we both shine.