MIXED EMOTIONS…

I don’t know how to describe my feelings these days. I’m filled with mixed emotions.

Sometimes, everything feels like it happens so fast that you barely have time to process it properly in your head. You even have to make quick decisions that will surely change your life. (Well, don’t we all?)

Like now.

This year has begun with quite plenty of surprises. First of all, the big flood again. (Well, this one was not much of a surprise, actually.) Then Dad passed away. Ma had her very first umrah trip. I’d accidentally had my two-week break for my writing instead.

An anthology of short stories with one of my work in it is out in local bookstores now.

A new job offer. Pure luck. I wasn’t even searching. Alex had given my e-mail address to his sister-in-law because I was also a translator and her new company needs one.

Higher salary? Oh, yeah. Do I really want it? Why not? I need the experience. After all, I’m still a writer with endless hunger for more stories out there.

This will be interesting.

Then why the hesitation? It’s the same old issue, I suppose. The comfort zone. The easy, flexible hours where you can write more during your luxurious free time.

Some colleagues who have become friends. Some are even like families already.

I’m still going to teach on Saturdays, though, because I don’t want to lose them. I need to maintain the contacts. I mean, we never know. We might need them someday or the other way around. We might work together again someday.

Just like the first time I changed my job, right now I’m also overwhelmed with both joy and sadness. I hate these feelings of missing someone or having to part from some people I really, really do care about. That’s part of life, I know, but it still hurts.

I found myself handing two different poems I wrote for Tony B. and Deniz (alias D.) Tony B.’s like a father figure to almost everyone at work. (I miss Dad, but I guess you can already tell.)

D’s like…a baby brother to me. It’s not only because he’s 24 and I’m 32. He’s sweet, kind, sensitive…in a goofy kind of way. It’s also the fact that we’ve grown close really quick and tend to look after each other. I ring him up early on Saturday mornings so he won’t turn up late for his classes. He gets worried and protective of me whenever I fall ill at work that he’s willing to tend to my every need. (Aww!)

Sweet, eh? Even Tony B. notices our closeness. We even talked about it at Two Cents in Bandung.

“You really look after him.”

“Yeah.” I smiled at him. “He’s like a little brother to me.”

“He does have a good heart.”

“Indeed.” That’s why I’d never let anyone harm him while I’m around, eventhough I do know that he can look after himself. I don’t know why.

D. even came to Dad’s funeral with Jane-Jess. (By the way, we have two Janes at work. The English Jane is a teacher, while the Indo-Chinese Jane works for our marketing department.)

Speaking of both of them, Girusi told me that they were secretly dating – and living together nearby from work. I simply shrugged her off, saying I didn’t care. Girusi’s okay in general, but she just needs to learn to mind her own business.

I care about D, but I still believe he’s old and mature enough to be fully responsible for his own actions and decisions. I’m not his mother.

And I also want him to be happy with whomever he chooses to be with.

Anyway, I’ve also got a tip from Tony B. Vince and Sarcastic Patrick are leaving. Vince is getting a job at a Korean school. Patrick is waiting for a placement as a tour guide for American tourists in Jogjakarta.

“Are you okay?” I asked carefully, my voice shaky with worry. That Sunday morning in the car – on our way to Bandung, I saw Tony B. take off his glasses and dab the corner of his pale blue eyes.

“Yeah.” He sighed. His smile was a bit forced as he pretended to wipe his glasses. “I just can’t seem to adjust these glasses.”

“I see.” I said nothing more as he turned his attention back to the road. We fell into silence. We both understood the same, unspoken thing that day. What he’d never openly admit and what I could obviously see:

You’re lying. You’re sad.

I do care about Tony B., but I’ve got to take care of myself too. I need this experience.

Besides, this is not a real goodbye. I’m still going to hang around on Saturdays…

R.

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