“SITTING AT THE SAME TABLE WITH YOU”

I want a lot of things in the world. I want good things, like: joy, peace, safety, and comfort for all of us here. Nobody wants anything bad.
Nobody does, unless it gains them some benefits I have no idea of. I don’t even want to know. No, thank you.
If you ask me, there are so many things I want these days – especially during Ramadan. Some I’ve already got, others I’m still working on. That’s always the case, eh? We can’t have it all. We don’t always get what we want.
This is Ramadan, so for a while – we will not have breakfast nor lunch together. Not even coffee-breaks. That’s okay, right? We can go straight to dinner if you like.
Let’s sit, eat, drink, and talk. What about? Anything but politics, please. Anything but anger, hatred, suspicions, accusations.
Don’t believe everything you read, hear, and watch. Get off your social media once in a while. Let’s sit at the same table, face to face. Talk about our family, friends, hopes and dreams. Talk about hobbies, favourite things, and stuff we love to do to make us feel happy. Harmless stuff, that is.
Let’s get to know each other…again.
And let’s just be friends.
R.

“WHEN YOU’RE GONE (I Wish For Another Day With You)”

When you’re gone
I wish for another day with you
Impossible but it’s true
No one is ever ready for such news
When you’re gone
It’s a mass reproduction of memories
They all come flooding back to me
Of times when we used to be
The day I arrived as your baby
Safe in your arms, with your smile at me
A little girl with so much joy
Before your worries for every boy
When you’re gone
I wish for a rewind
Back to our happier times
Back when you were there and fine
I know I wish for the impossible
Knowing that we’re all mortals
Still, I’m struggling to accept this epilogue
Thinking of you now makes me choke
I still remember the last night we talked
Unaware your days had been numbered
Now you’re gone – and I had to set your spirit free
Bye bye, Daddy…
(From every daughter to their departed father)
 
R.
 
(Jakarta, May 30, 2017 – 8:31 am)

“THE FAMILIAR, ENVELOPING DARKNESS”

This feels familiar. The Ex-Guardian of The Isolated Castle has sensed it before. In fact, so many times that she lost count.

It’s that familiar, enveloping darkness again. Back then, it came into her life and gripped her spirit tightly, clipping her wings. It had mentally suffocated her, causing her to hyperventilate.

It had stayed with her for too long before she finally banished it. She was freed, with the help of the good souls – sent by God – around her.

Now it’s returning, threatening to take over her life once again.

Cold…

Darkness…

A sense of despair and fear…

The Ex-Guardian had battled its grim existence before, but that doesn’t mean she wants it back into her life…like, ever again.

Then again, this is real life. This is where anything goes. Human hearts are always weak, even as they hang on to faith – in whichever forms they choose to believe. They change easily.

Of course, The Ex-Guardian has been through this before. There’s only one way she knows how to deal with this:

FIGHT IT.

R.

“THE DISTANCE”

Once in a while,
It’s only a few steps away
just to get to you
yet it also feels like miles
perhaps even days
that I have to go through
 
Some other times,
it’s the cities we live in
at separate tables we sit
wondering if it’s a crime
to have this irrational longing
as sanity slowly weakens to bits
 
A sense of despair
wishes for a psychic ability
a telephatic connection
that should wash off these fears
just for you and me
in hopes that we belong
 
For now,
I’ll have to put up with this distance
After all,
I still need my personal space
Somehow,
I’m also looking for another chance
for us to come face-to-face
 
Until then,
see you again.
 
R.

“THE TOP FIVE (5) BINARY ARGUMENTS BY NOSY, JUDGMENTAL INDONESIANS”

It’s always good to exchange news with people you know. However, we know that oftentimes, one thing still leads to another. What you believe a well-meaning advice or suggestion may sound intrusive and offensive – or even worse, judgmental – to others.

Maybe it’s your choice of words, condescending tone, or the timing itself. Still, it’s not asking too much to be a little bit more thoughtful before you decide to say anything you (think you) need to say. If it’s too difficult for you to keep quiet, then at least be more sensitive when they start giving you a warning glare.

Yeah, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion(s). If that’s how you want to play it, then everyone’s also entitled to how they (choose to?) react to whatever you say. If they’re offended or angry, perhaps maybe you deserve it.

Calling them ‘overly-sensitive’ only makes things worse. If you own that big mouth, then please be responsible for once in your life.

So, without further ado, here are the top five (5) binary arguments by nosy, judgmental Indonesians:

  1. Married versus single.

Ahh, what else is new? The endless joy of bullying singles, especially if they’re women. Make them feel less worthy and ugly. Assume that they always feel lonely.

Ironically, married people also complain. Whether it’s superiority complex or just pure regrets, they say: “You’re so lucky that you’re still single. You’ve got more spare time and less burden.”

Hmm, ever heard the term “Look beyond what you see”? No? Too bad, then. Maybe it will help you to go easy on the stereotyping and judging.

  1. With children versus childless.

I wonder if any of you realise that it’s not about what you want nor the efforts you make. It’s God’s will. So, what makes you think you can tell the childless couple that they ‘haven’t tried hard enough’?

If you’re happy with the kids you’ve got, then why do you have to rub it on their faces? How do you know that they also want the same thing(s)?

Well, even if they don’t, then who are you to question and judge their choices?

  1. Breast-feeding versus bottled formula milk.

Seriously, people. Couldn’t you get even farther than this? I thought fellow moms were supposed to be more empathetic towards each other.

“Maybe you’re still not trying hard enough.”

Really? What’s that supposed to mean? How do you know?

  1. Regular school versus home-schooling.

Home-schooling is a more recent concept introduced in Indonesia, although it’s been around in other countries for some time. No wonder, people still get the wrong idea about it.

“Home-schooling? How will your kids get their healthy social life, interactions with other kids and making friends? Aren’t you worried that they might become anti-social?”

NEWS FLASH: Your kids can still be asocial (not anti-social, since it’s more patological) if their friends at school happen to be bullies and jerks…and the teachers just don’t care.

  1. Housewives (stay-at-home moms) versus office-working moms.

Both are working moms. Both are with great careers. As long as you do it for the welfare of your kids, then both of you are noble. OKAY?

Seriously, people. Enough is ENOUGH. You busybodies need to get a life.

R.

“EVERYTHING’S FLEXIBLE; NOTHING’S PERMANENT”

There’s no amnesty granted
unless well-paid
Reach deeply into your pockets
until perhaps,
their eyeballs jump out of their sockets
There’s no bravery
when it comes to being a bully
scaring others as you’d be
You may look tough
but without the mob,
you’re so tiny
There’s no curse
without anyone making it worse
pointing fingers
reciting prayers
in hopes for the enemies to suffer
countless times and more
There’s no denying
of what’s been sinking
a bad blood over arguments
as each is dying to win
Is it everlasting?
What are we thinking?
Is this another sign of a dying dream,
a vivid reminder of what’s not permanent?
There’s no real friendship
not in politics
only a few promises to keep
and many lies that make you tick
Some good people keep quiet
just to avoid causing more riot
Can you blame them for playing safe?
Still, they end up feeling helpless
Use the heart
and they call you weak
and bloody sensitive
Use the brain
and you’re calculative
but rather cold with a mean streak
Now what?
There’s no true love
No, never in politics
What you give is never enough
What you receive may get you sick
In politics,
everything’s flexible
Nothing’s permanent
Question everything.
R.
 
(Jakarta, 12/5/2017 – 9:00 am)

“ABOUT HER SMILE”

“You always smile. How come you manage to look happy most of the time?”
The Ex-Guardian of The Isolated Castle looked up. It was one of the young poets sitting with her in the hall. The boy looked at her with awe.
“What do you mean?” she asked him in confusion.
“You,” the boy repeated, this time more joyfully. “You always look so happy.”
And you’ve just seen me for a day, The Ex-Guardian thought with amusement. This is what she likes when meeting new people, whether it’s the new workplace or community.
Like that Sunday, when she attended a writing class. It was an interesting day, with a story-telling master and scholar from afar sharing her views, knowledge, and experiences. New faces she might call ‘friends’ someday.
Who knows? Anything can happen.
The Ex-Guardian was hiding her badly-chewed up fingernails, something that some people in her life had always worried about.
“Because I choose,” she finally said to the boy, smiling again. “After all, happiness is supposed to be a choice. Don’t you think so too?”
R.