Jam 9 malam di Sydney. Langit berduka. Wajahnya gelap, ia deras menghujani bumi. Sesekali melempar kilat petir dan menggetarkan dunia dengan raungan guntur. Dari jendela kamar apartemen, aku menatap keluar, ke jalanan, mengikut alur mobil-mobil dan langkah-langkah manusia di bawah sana.

Memoriku menarik diri kembali ke masa lalu. 3 tahun lalu, di Indonesia. Langit juga sedang berduka. Parau suaranya ketika hujan deras menghujam jalanan, selokan, dan genting. Guntur tak henti-henti berderu. Aku ketakutan. Aku terisak-isak. Air mata membasahi wajah dan bantalku. Kukumpulkan sedikit keberanian untuk beranjak turun dari kasurku. Berlari kecil, aku keluar dari kamarku. Kubuka pintu kamar adikku pelan-pelan dan aku masuk. Jam 12 malam, ia sudah tertidur pulas. Aku menyelinap masuk ke dalam selimutnya dan ia terbangun.

“Kenapa, Ci?” tanyanya dengan wajah khawatir.

“Takut”, satu-satunya kata yang mampu terucap, meskipun terputus-putus di antara selipan isak tangis.

Ia memelukku, hangat. Wajahnya penuh keprihatinan. Aku menangis sampai tertidur. Esok paginya aku terbangun dengan dua tangannya masih melingkar di pundakku. Ia pun terbangun. Aku tahu tangannya pasti kesemutan, tapi ia tidak mengeluh. Penuh perhatian, ia menanyakan bila aku baik-baik saja. Mataku bengkak, tapi aku tersenyum haru dan tenang.

Malam ini, langit berduka lagi, dan mungkin marah. Angin kencangnya memaksa pohon-pohon untuk menunduk takut. Malam ini, aku membasahi wajahku dan bantalku dengan air mata lagi. Aku tidak takut, tapi aku rindu adikku.


the porcelain doll

I saw a porcelain doll. She had an angelic mesmerising beauty. Once it caught your eyes, it would never let go.

I touched her cold face, amazed. She stared back, right into my soul. I said to myself, I want her.

She whispered to my soul, I am a free being, nobody masters me.

I was stubborn. I insisted. She walked away.

I will change your heart of stone to a heart of flesh, I told her.

She stopped and turned back. She came to me, opening her chest.

I looked into the darkness in her, reached in, and touched her stone heart. It was cold and dead, but the warmth of my human hand brought it to life.

I held her hand and she smiled at me. Beauty.

We started walking.

Where are we going? She asked.

Back home, I answered.

Where is it? She asked.

I pointed to the little light shinning at the end of the road.

She was unwilling to give up the dark, but she held my hand tight, and kept walking.

The light looked so close, but as we walked, it felt further and further. How far is it? How long does it take to get there?

In my hand, I could feel my warmth transforming her. She was hard and cold, but she started to become soft and alive.

At last, she grasped the air and breathed. She fell on her knees, tears all over her face and her eyes wide opened and red. What is this? She asked.

I kneeled down, looking at her, You’re becoming like me, I said.

Is it good? She asked.

Yes, it’s wonderful, I answered confidently.

We continued walking.

We finally made it to the light. We entered the gate, heavenly songs were sung. My tears fell in joy.

I looked at her with a big smile, expecting her to be happy, but she was not. She closed her eyes and her ears, full of anxiety and uncertainty. I held her to calm her down, but she was struggling in my arms.

From afar, I saw another porcelain doll. Pure beauty.

I was still holding the angry porcelain doll in my hand, watching the porcelain doll in the distance, who was already in flesh, singing the heavenly song with beautiful voice.

I want her, I said.

Whom? My porcelain doll asked, anxiously and jealously.

Her, I pointed.

My porcelain doll knew that she could not compete with the beauty of the one I wanted. So, she walked away, into the dark, in a great pain and sorrow.

Her humanly flesh could not bear the darkness. The dark air stabbed into her skin, ripped her heart into pieces, she kept walking, further and further from the light.

She made it to where I found her. She was broken and torn.

The next day, she died.

I am home, safe, and alone, watching the beautiful porcelain doll, singing the heavenly songs, from afar. She’s untouchable.


Mother's Day

When I was little, I thought all the moms were made on the Mother’s Day and all the babies were made on the birthdays. I wonder why all the moms were made on the same day and the babies were made throughout the year. Probably so that children might have different ages. There are bigger children that were born in the beginning of the year. They were bigger and they bullied us, the younger children, they took our toys, and pushed us to the ground. There were children from the middle of the year, like me and my friends. We were afraid of the older babies, but most of the time, we were the happiest ones, playing together, running around the green grass, smelling the spring. There were younger babies from the end of the year. They were very small. They didn’t know how to walk or talk. Moms hold them in their hands, rocking them when they cried. I wonder why they were crying because they looked so comfortable in the hands of the moms.

I was born in the middle of the year. My sister was born in the end of the year. My sister was very little, red and fragile. We were in the living room. I was playing with my red car. She was inside her baby basket. I was staring at her from a distance. She stared back. The cracking sound of the front door distracted me from her. I looked to the door, then looked away because the light from outside hurt my eyes. Mom came in with a person behind her; a big tall person, with short hair. I had seen one of this kind before.

“Come here, Andy!” Mom called. I ran to her and hugged her leg. She touched my head and brushed my hair with her fingers gently. She picked me up.

“Andy, this is Daddy,” she said, pointing to the big tall person next to her. I starred at that person anxiously. I turned to Mom and hugged her tight. She rubbed my back gently, “it’s alright, Andy. It’s Daddy.”

“Hi, Andy,” the person greeted. His voice very deep and heavy, very different from Mom’s warm soft voice. It scared me, I cried. Mom rocked me in her arms, walking down the corridor to my bedroom, and then put me down on my bed. I believed she tried to calm me down, but I couldn’t remember what she was saying because I was crying so hard. I stopped crying after a while, tired. I was sobbing, staring at Mom beside me, rubbing my forehead with her warm hand with thick and tough skin.

“Is he okay?” I could her that person’s voice, whispering.

“He just needs some time,” Mom replied.

My mobile vibrates in my pocket. I pick it up.


“Andy.” It was Dad.


“It’s the Mother’s Day.”

“Yes, I noticed. Everyone’s so happy about it.”

He laughed awkwardly. “Have you called your Mom?”

“Do I have to?”

“Please, Andy, call her. She misses you.”

I sighed. “Alright. I will.”

“Thank you.”

A couple minutes of silence.

“How’s Jenny?” I asked.

“She’s fine. She’s doing great at school. She just won a writing competition.”

“That’s awesome!”

“Yeah, but I think she’s been dating a boy from her class.”

“Wow! That’s great!”

“No! That boy has tattoos and piercings all over his body!”

“Oh, c’mon, Dad!”

“No, don’t ‘c’mon’ me! Talk to your sister. She won’t listen to me.”

I laughed a little bit. “Sure. I will.”

“Great. Remember, call your Mom.”

“Okay, Dad. I gotta go.”

“Alright. Bye.”


My friends were waiting for me to have lunch together, so I decided to call later on that day.

I got home late at night, 11 o’clock, after a busy day. My phone rang. It was Dad again.

“You haven’t called Mom.”

“Sorry. I just got home. I’ll call her now.”

“Okay. Be nice to her.”

“Okay, Dad. Bye.”


I looked for Grandma’s number in my phone book and dialled straight away.

“Nana, it’s Andy.”

“Hi, Andy. Mom’s been waiting for your call.”

She handed away the phone right away to Mom. I could hear Mom sobbing before she finally gathered up her voice to say, “hi, Andy.”

“Hi, Mom. How’ve you been?”

She was sobbing again. “I’ve been great, Andy. Thank you for calling.” I could hear trembling in her voice. “How are you, honey?”

“I’m fine, Mom. Thanks.”

She sobbed for another 10 minutes, I was listening. She finally hung up.

I sat for a while on the floor before going to the shower, taking my pills, and going to bed.

One day, I was crawling on the floor. I picked up a white plastic stick and chewed it, watching Mom crying in front of me. I heard the door bell rang. Mom got up and opened the door. A person came in. That person looked like Mom, only slimmer and with blonde hair. Mom took away the stick from me to show it to that person. “I’m pregnant,” she said.

“What? How?”

“It’s not his.”

“Oh, no, no, no. Is it that guy you’ve been talking about? I knew it!”

A few months later, a big tall person came. He saw Mom’s big belly. He was furious. He didn’t unpack his belongings; he left, leaving Mom crying on the floor.

When Jenny was born in the end of the year, Mom stopped crying. A few months after, she found another big tall person. His name is Daddy. Mom never cried again, until one day, she decided that she wasn’t good for all of us. Daddy spent months convincing her that she was the greatest Mom in the world. She wouldn’t listen. One morning, Daddy was away for work, Mom packed up. I came to her and said “Mom, I love you. Please, stay with us.”

“I love you too, Andy. That’s why I have to go,” she said, with tears all over her red face. The door bell rang. She fixed up her face so quickly. Dry, pretty, with a warm smile. She walked to the door, welcoming our lovely neighbour, an elderly woman.

“I’m sorry to trouble you,” Mom apologised sweetly.

“Not at all, sweety. It’s my pleasure to look after these lovely kids,” she smiled dearly.

“Thank you, Maddy. I’ve made breakfast. Please, have some.”

Maddy laughed happily, “I’d love to.”

Mom picked up her luggage and walked out the door.

“Why are you bringing such a large bag for grocery?” the old lady asked.

“Oh,” Mom laughed sweetly, “it’s the stuffs we got from Brunei. I got one for everyone. This is one for you.”

Mom took out a key chain and handed it to the lady. They all looked happy.

“Mom, don’t go!” I begged and cried.

“It’s alright, sweety. Mom’s just going for a grocery shopping. She’ll be back in no time,” said the old lady. I kept on sobbing. The old lady held my hand and took me to the kitchen, where she re-prepared the breakfast.

That day, Mom really did give away souvenirs we got from our trip to Brunei to all the neighbours. Then she disappeared. No one knew where or why.

The night after the Mother’s Day, Mom called me. She never called before. She called to apologise for walking away from us. What annoyed me was that she was still so persistent that it was best for everyone, that everything would have been worse otherwise.

I went to Grandma’s house the next day to visit Mom. Grandma told me that Mom’s gone to visit Dad and Jenny. So I went to Dad’s apartment. They haven’t heard of her. That day, she disappeared again and no one has ever found her.

The time we realised that she was gone, I looked to Dad. He looked broken, but calm. No one understood Mom better than he did.


tentang kematianku

Aku tahu orang-orang seperti kalian, yang merasa cukup dengan hidup, yang menanti-nanti kematian, yang bahkan datang menghampiri kematian. Dulu, aku mengalami hal yang sama, sebelum aku belajar menyukuri hidup, sebelum aku mengerti bahwa segala masalah yang kuhadapi bukanlah racun bagi hidupku, tetapi pupuk bagi jiwaku.

Namun, sekarang, aku ingin mati, lagi. Bukan karena masalah-masalah yang menghimpitku, meskipun demikian orang-orang akan menuduhku, setelah kematianku. Aku tidak peduli. Ketika aku membuka jendela apartemenku, lantai 24, aku berpikir kembali, berusaha memastikan bahwa keputusanku tepat. Aku bukan anak cengeng yang bunuh diri karena putus cinta, aku muak berbuat dosa, aku ingin berhenti berbuat dosa, dan inilah cara yang tepat.

Aku melompat.


Angin menerpa keras kulitku, membuat kulitku berkelepak.

Sebelum aku menyentuh aspal, aku teringat seorang teman baikku, yang memperkenalkanku kepada Tuhannya, yang mengampuni dosa manusia dan menebus manusia dari perbudakan dosa karena kasih-Nya terhadap manusia.

Lalu hitam.


tetang orang tua Inda

Pagi tadi, aku punya sandwich di tangan kananku dan kopi di tangan kiriku. Mereka semua jatuh ke lantai. Terpaksa kubersihkan. Akibatnya, aku terlambat ke sekolah dan sekarang aku lapar. Dengan perut ribut, aku menghampiri kelasku. Kuketuk pintunya.

“Masuk,” kata Bu Guru.

Aku masuk.

“Kenapa kamu telat lagi?”

“Ummm... “ Aku berusaha menceritakan kisahku dengan singkat dan padat.

“Ya sudah, sana duduk,” ia memotong. Aku tidak jadi bercerita.

Begitu aku mencapai tempat dudukku, seorang siswa di belakangku menyeletuk, “huh, mentang-mentang kaya, telat terus ke sekolah!”

Aku acuh karena tidak mengerti relevansi antara kaya dan terlambat ke sekolah. Tak lama, sebuah benda keras menghantam kepalaku. Ternyata penggaris. Aku menoleh ke belakang. Kepalaku berdenyut sakit.

“Denger gak aku ngomong?” Teman sekelasku tidak senang kuacuhkan.

Aku segera menoleh ke depan, memproses air mata di mataku, lalu berteriak “Buuuuu! Adi mukul aku pake penggaris!”

“Eh, nggak kok! Nggak! Kamu bo’ong!” Adi mengelak. Aku terisak.

Bu Guru membentak, “kalian berdua ya! Kenapa selalu ribut?”

Tangisku kubuat semakin kuat “aaaaaaaaa! Adi duluan, Buuuuu!”

“Adi, kenapa kamu mukul Inda?”

“Dia kan telat, Bu...”

“Kalau Inda telat, Ibu yang hukum, bukan kamu!”

“Tapi Ibu gak hukum dia! Ibu suruh duduk!”

“Karena Ibu mau mengajar. Hukumannya nanti, waktu istirahat. Kamu juga gak boleh mukul temen kamu begitu! Minta maaf!”

“Gak mau!”

“Kamu mau Ibu hukum juga?”

“Gak mau!”

“Minta maaf!”


Jam istirahat, teman-teman berkejar-kejaran di lapangan, makan di kantin atau di kelas, aku dan Adi berdiri dengan satu kaki memijak lantai, satu kaki diangkat setinggi lutut, dan dua tangan di telinga, di depan ruang guru, ditertawakan anak-anak yang berlalu-lalang.

“Gara-gara kamu nih, aku jadi dihukum!” bentak Adi.

“Aku gak nyuruh kamu mukul aku pake penggaris.”

“Aku tadi ngomong sama kamu, tapi kamu cuekin!”

“Abis omongan kamu gak penting!”


Kami pun saling pukul sampai seorang guru datang melerai. Kami pun naik banding ke ruang kepala sekolah. Kedua orang tua kami dipanggil. Seperti biasa, orang tuaku tidak pernah menggubris panggilan sekolah. Tanteku, seperti biasa, memenuhi panggilan kepala sekolah.

Bahkan ketika aku diwisuda dari perguruan tinggi. Bahkan ketika anak mereka memperoleh nilai tertinggi di angkatannya. Seperti biasa, hanya Tante yang datang.

“Jeng Diah, Inda,” Ibu Adi datang menghampiri kami dengan senyumnya yang selalu tulus dan hangat, “ayo foto bareng kita.”

“Tante! Ayo!”

Aku dan tanteku bergabung dengan Adi sekeluarga.

Adi, seperti biasa, kuliah dengan beasiswa. Sejak SD, selalu beasiswa. Orang tuanya tidak sanggup membiayainya. Ia anak tunggal yang sangat berbakat dan pintar, dari keluarga yang tidak berada. Orang tuanya tentu menaruh harapan yang sangat besar padanya.

“Lu kenapa ngeliatin gue kayak gitu?”

“Lagi mikir aja,” kataku, “gue punya orang tua yang bisa bayarin sekolah, tapi males.Elu...”

“Hahaha... Tapi 4 tahun ini lu rajin banget banget banget!”

“Iya, karena gue mau nunjukin ke bokap nyokap gue kalo gue bisa... Emmm... Gitu deh. Ternyata...”

“Jangan sedih, Da. Gue yakin, nyokap lu sebenernya bangga sama lu.”

“Hah... Dateng aja nggak.”

Ia terdiam. Merenung.

“Udah lah! Starbucks! Ngidam green tea!” seruku.

Kenakalan dan nilai rendah tidak sanggup menarik perhatian mereka. Nilai tinggi dan prestasi pun tidak.

“Da,” panggil Adi ketika aku sedang menyeruput teh hijau dinginku, “kayaknya gue bakal langsung ngelanjutin S2 deh.”

Aku hampir tersendak.

“Gak salah? Gak mau cari kerja dulu? Istirahat dulu?”

“Hehehe. Nggak, Da. Gue udah dapet beasiswa, tapi di Jogja. Bulan depan gue udah harus berangkat.”

Aku benar-benar tersendak. Aku terbatuk-batuk dan ia menepuk-nepuk pundakku.

“Trus lo bakal ninggalin gue sendirian di sini?”

“Yah lo gak bakal sendirian lah, Da. Temen lo yang lain kan masih banyak.”

“Beda. Mereka tuh cuma deket-deket gue karena gue sering traktir mereka belanja, nonton, makan...”

“You’ll be fine, Da.”

Aku menghela napas.

“Sebelum lo pergi, lo harus nginep dulu di rumah gue yah!”


Ini bukan pertama kalinya aku menginap di rumah dia. Sejak kami mulai akrab saat kami menginjak jenjang SMP, aku telah berkali-kali menginap di rumah Inda. Rumah mewah, besar, dengan kamar tamu seluas seluruh rumahku.

Tantenya adalah wanita yang sangat baik. Sangat ramah. Bertahun-tahun, aku bersekongkol dengannya, menutupi kenyataan dan berbohong kepada Inda, tentang kedua orang tuanya. Bertahun-tahun lalu, kedua orang tuanya sedang dalam perjalanan pulang dari pesta pernikahan salah satu sepupu Inda. Ketika mereka melewati sebuah jalan yang sepi dan gelap, mereka dirampok, dan dibunuh. Hal itu terjadi saat aku dan Inda masih duduk di bangku SD, seminggu sebelum Inda pindah ke sekolahku.

Tante Inda menangis di depanku. “Kalo kamu pergi, siapa yang bakal jagain Inda? Gimana kalo ada temennya yang jahat, ngomong macem-macem sama dia?”

“She’ll be fine, Tante.”

Aku tidak akan membiarkannya hidup dalam kebohongan selamanya. Sebelum aku pergi, ia harus tahu kebenaran ini dan ia harus menerimanya.


laut malam

Langit gelap, seperti malam-malam yang telah lalu. Setitik dua titik bintang berkelip, lainnya sekedar bertabur. Awan hitam menutupi bulan bulat. Angin musim dingin menikam-nikam kulit. Kakiku terbenam dalam pasir yang hanyut ditarik ulur ombak. Kutarik kedua kakiku, lalu aku berlari, ke laut. Aku berenang, menyelam, di laut.

Aku berlari sampai air mencapai dadaku, kutarik napas dalam-dalam, dan aku pun menyelam. Terus mengayuh dan menendang ke arah yang lebih dalam. Kubuka mataku, perih. Di depanku, adikku. Juga berenang, menyelam, melambai dan tersenyum kepadaku. Aku berenang mendekat ke arahnya. Rambut hitam pekatnya melambai-lambai, mata hitamnya, hitam benar-benar hitam, berkedip-kedip, kulit putihnya sungguh putih, gaun hitamnya berjuntai dan melambai-lambai. Ia seolah menyatu dengan arus dan ombak. Ia tersenyum. Kami berpelukan. Ia sedingin batu karang.

Aku terbangun. Seluruh tubuhku basah. Matahari terik, menyinari pasir putih. Pasir-pasir putih menempeli tubuhku yang basah. Aku mencari kamar mandi. Membasuh diriku, lalu pulang.

Aku berjalan menuju halte bus terdekat, lalu melambaikan tangan, sebuah bus berhenti. Sang sopir menatap aku yang basah kuyup.

“A ticket to City, please.”

“Three dollars.”

“Thank you.”

Aku duduk. Bangku yang kududuki menjadi basah. Beberapa penumpang lain menatapku sejenak. Lalu kembali ke lamunan, buku, dan ponsel masing-masing.

Aku menatap ke luar jendela. Melamun. Tawa adikku bergema dalam telingaku. Musim panas tahun lalu, Ayah, Ibu, dan Adik datang menjengukku dari Indonesia ke Australia. Adikku sedang liburan panjang pergantian semester. Saat itu, ia kelas 2 SMA. Satu setengah tahun kemudian, seharusnya ia datang melanjutkan kuliahnya di sini. Setengah tahun lagi, seharusnya ia datang, mempersiapkan kuliahnya tahun depan.

Musim panas tahun lalu, di bandara, aku menyambut Ayah dan Ibu dengan pelukan hangat, dan adikku dengan tatapan dan “halo”. Ia tersenyum dan membalas sapa “halo, Kak”. Sejak kecil, kami tidak pernah akur. Aku benci padanya. Ia selalu berusaha meniruku dan aku tidak suka ia meniruku. Ayah dan Ibu suka membanding-bandingkanku dengannya, dan mereka tidak pernah adil.

Lamunanku bertambah jauh. Bertahun-tahun lalu, di rumah kita di Jakarta, di Indonesia. Aku berumur 7 tahun, adikku 4 tahun. Kami berdua bermain-main di dapur, sambil memperhatikan Ibu membuat kue. Aku melihat tepung-tepung bertaburan di atas meja. Aku ingat iklan kosmetik di televisi. Kuluruskan telapak tanganku, kuraih tepung yang bertebaran di atas meja, lalu kuoleskan di wajahku. Sebelah wajahku menjadi putih. Aku kaget karena tiba-tiba Ibu memukul tanganku.

“Jangan mainan tepung!” teriaknya.

Wajahku memerah. Aku menahan tangis. Adikku tampak sedih. Ia ingin menemaniku. Ia mencolek sedikit tepung dari meja dengan telunjuknya, lalu ia mengoleskannya di wajahnya. Satu garis putih terbentuk di sebelah pipinya. Ibu tersenyum melihat hal itu. Ia ikut mencolek sedikit tepung, lalu mengoleskannya ke hidung adikku. Lalu Ibu tertawa. Adikku menoleh kepadaku dan menatapku. Wajahku merah, marah. Adikku tampak sedih.

Kurasa, aku tidak pernah mengerti bahwa adikku selalu mengidolakanku. Aku selalu melihatnya sebagai anak yang diidam-idamkan Ayah dan Ibu. Bodohnya aku karena aku selalu menyalahkan adikku, yang juga selalu bersedih atas perlakuan Ayah dan Ibu terhadapku. Ia selalu membangkang, menolak perhatian dan perlakuan manis Ayah dan Ibu, dan selalu direspon dengan kata-kata dan perlakuan manis mereka. Aku berusaha menjadi anak baik, melakukan semua yang mereka ingin kulakukan, tetapi aku tidak pernah cukup baik.

Aku turun di sebuah halte dekat apartemenku. Aku pulang, mandi, makan siang, lalu tidur.

Aku memimpikan adikku. Musim panas tahun lalu. Ayah, Ibu, aku, dan Adik, menginap di sebuah hotel. Kami menyewa dua kamar yang tersambung dengan sebuah pintu. Ayah dan Ibu di satu kamar, aku dan Adik di kamar lainnya. Malam yang panas, kami semua terlelap, dibuai pendingin ruangan.

Adik terbangun. Ia membangunkanku.

“Apaan sih kamu? Udah malem! Jangan ganggu! Sana tidur!” bentakku.

“Ke pantai yuk, Kak?”

“Kamu gila?! Malem-malem gini?!”

“Aku mau berenang, Kak!”

“Sinting kamu! Besok pagi aja!”

“Ayo, Kak, aku gak bisa tidur!”

“Pergi aja sendiri! Aku ngantuk!”

Malam itu, bulan bulat mengintip dari balik awan hitam, malu-malu menyapa satu dua bintang yang berkelip, menghiraukan ribuan bintang lain yang hanya bertabur.

Malam itu, ia berenang di laut, terseret ombak besar, menabrak karang, dan ditemukan keesokan paginya. Di atas pasir, dengan kakinya terbenam dalam pasir yang terseret ombak lalu-lalang, dan ia pun diterpa-terpa ombak yang datang dan pergi, membuat kepalanya bergeleng-geleng mengikuti sapuan ombak. Rambut hitamnya yang panjang turut melambai, menyatu dengan irama ombak.

Malam ini, aku kembali ke laut. Menyelam. Ke arah yang lebih dalam dan tidak pernah kembali.