She called herself, Naomi. A name that can be found in Letter of Ruth, from The Old Testament. Naomi literally means happiness.
We met at the bar last nite. I went out to get some beer and relaxing my brain over the deadlines. This week is kinda hard for me. So weekend will all about enjoying myself. I need it because I’ve been working and forcing all out for last four months. Three intensive works in West Papua and another month abroad.
I haven’t write anything during these period. Nothing special so far. I left my blog without new post for last few months. My latest update was when I wrote about my birthday. Because I almost forgot about it before someone reminded me about it. My only writings are three English articles for foreign website. I never count those as writings. It’s part of my job to write an analysis and share it worldwide. Particularly about the ongoing ethnocide in West Papua, a colonial territory of Indonesia.
She was there, sitting next to me. Side by side. We both were facing the shelf where different bottles of vodka, rum, wine, beer and so on. Chairs before the barman are for loners. For those who simply came and want to grab a drink alone. Alone without no body. If you came with folks, you will be assigned to one of the tables situated all over the hall.
I did not notice her presence. Although she was sitting next to me. Side by side. Before her question landed caught my ears.
“Are you from Kalimantan?” She started the conversation with a strong line. In the middle of nowhere far away from Indonesia, someone know about another island of Indonesia aside from Bali for me was amazing. After all, I haven’t yet to let her know that I came from Indonesia.
“Excuse me?” I turn my sight and looked at her eyes. A pair of beautiful eyes.
“Yes. Are you Dayaknese from Kalimantan?” She repeated it. This time with stronger tone.
“Ah, no. I am not Dayaknese. I am not from Kalimantan. I came from Sulawesi. The other island next to Kalimantan. But, sorry. How did you know about Kalimantan?” Yes, I was curious about her. Because most of the foreigners I’ve met, know only Jakarta and Bali. More than seventeen thousands islands seems goes unnoticed to these kind of people.
Her finger was pointing my right arm. My tattoo caught her attention while she was enjoying her beer. This was another surprise.
“Oh.” Her voice sounds disappointed. “I thought you came from Kalimantan because of your tattoo. This is a tribal tattoo of Kalimantan, am I right?”
OK. Another surprise. How many surprises she have in her pocket?
“Yes, this is a tribal tattoo.” I turned my chair so I can face her. I pulled my beer as well. “But it’s not from Kalimantan. This is a tribal tattoo from a small tribe who lives in northernmost of Sulawesi island.”
“Ah, quite similar then. I saw a picture of Dayaknese before. So I thought you are Dayaknese. I went to Kalimantan once. In Kuching. For a short summer holiday after a visit to Pattaya of Thailand.”
“Ah, I got it. I am sorry. My name is Andre. And you are?
“Naomi.” She shook my hand.
* * *
She is Chinese Belgian who currently working as art director for an art gallery. Never been to Indonesia but went to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia as solo traveler. That’s why she often went to bar alone for a beer. She was amazing. Knowledgeable but humble. She does not need to brag herself out for recognition because one will be attracted to her after a short talk.
“I love traveling. It brought for you a new knowledge and somehow helping you to grow up, mentally. You are distancing yourself away from your daily routine and put yourself into something totally new. It is amazing, right?”
I smiled. I think I can listen to her whole night. Maybe she have more places to tell me about. Or she might have unforgotten experiences that could be shared with me.
“How about you?” her eyes somehow looked so bright.
I did not what to say. I have no interesting stories to be shared with her. All about me are failures. Recently, I lost a woman that has been part of my life for years. She decided to gave up on me and goes to pursue her own dream. Dream where I am not part of it.
She decided that I will no longer will be her man, and her life with me all those years was simply as mistakes. I failed to let ensure her that she will be fine to walk through all the difficulties that will come ahead, with me. After years of trying she finally met her end. She believes that I wont changed at all. She thought that I could not ever stop smoking and drinking beer despite her efforts for it. Changes are not mine and hoping me to be a better man to met her standard will never be achieved. So, she finally raised her hands up. Waived a white flag and declared that she wont able to bear it.
I tried. For many times. But she insisted that her decision will still.
“Are you married? Or in a relationship?” Naomi asked me.
“No. I have no one now. No woman will be interested with me.” She laughed over my respond.
“How could be?”
“Yes, it is possible. I am not good enough for them.” I waived my hand. Ordering another bottle for me.
She laughed. Harder and louder than previous one. She even need to cover her mouth with her hand. Her smile was so big. It’s funny for her so I smiled, again.
“You know, you should try to be gay. Maybe it will works for you.” Now my turn. I laughed quietly.
* * *
“Just go away. I don’t need you. I don’t need this kind of relationship.”
That was her message. A final horn for me to step aside and let her walk away. So I did it. I was watching her shadow slowly disappeared. It was a painful goodbye, but it needed. For both of us. To grow up qualitatively. I do believe we both learn from each other.
“Good morning.” I was a bit surprised. She was standing before me and smells so damn good. She was holding a cup of coffee with left hand while offering another cup. I took the coffee, wrapping myself with a towel and heading towards her and was trying to hug her before she pushed me.
“Drink your coffee and clean yourself.”
“OK.” I was walking to the bathroom when she took her bag, and walked out. I’ve been in this scene before. Knew exactly what’s next. There will be no one waiting for me. So I clean myself, sang a song that I remember from YouTube and smile alone. After all, you need to embrace fate.
Life, what another surprise.