“How Indonesia looks like?”
Suddenly, she asked me a question. It crushed the silence that we’ve been built for the last five minutes into pieces. We decided that no words needed now. Each of us know that haunted by your own memories every single night is another name for nightmare. It is more painful than all the difficulties we’ve been through as the direct consequences of our political stance.
But she started it. I will follow.
“It’s beautiful, but poor. Diverse and colorful. But recently, right-wing fanatics are growing in number. It was a colonial territory of Dutch Empire, but soon after the independence, we annexed West Papua and East Timor to smear on our long history of anti-colonialism. We are colonizer, you know.” Long and boring answer that automatically came out my mouth.
She turned her head. Staring at me. It seems like she were looking for something within my eyes.
“So serious. It was a simple question. Just wondering if Indonesia somehow more beautiful than France. Never been there. But I want to go there, one day.” She ended it with smile before turn her sight to see ahead.
“Maybe that was the reason why she left you. You are so tense and stiff. So rational and meticulous even for small and simple things. Be relax, man. The revolution will not come tomorrow. We still have a long way to go.” She said it without seeing me. Maybe she believed that she already got my attention and I will be listening to each of her sentence.
“Maybe. Never know her real reasons for sure.” I threw the cigarette down and stepped on the stump.
“You have a good heart. That’s priceless. But, you need to learn how to use it. Don’t be so strict with yourself.”
I did not respond. I was doing the same thing as her. Staring at the view ahead two of us and let her voice occupied my hearing.
“Go out and be yourself. You need it, you damn commie.”
“I am going out now and be myself.” It was a speedy answer. Or maybe it was a defensive mechanism of me. I did not wanted her to see a fragile part within me. I wanted to be seen as strong persona before her. As you know, as Indonesian I was raised with patriarchal values. And despite all these years of my internal struggle to overcome it, some of these values still left it poison within me.
She looked at me, again. She was smiling and then hold my hand before landing her head upon my shoulder. “Pity you, Andre. Pity you. A good reader of philosophical books and a researcher who spending his life learning and exploring human relationship in remote areas, a communist who self-declared that he can read the current objective situation but in reality always failed to read and understand a woman.”
I did not respond her, again. I thought, she’s right about it. So, no words needed, again. I was trying to reach another cigarette before her hand caught mine and holding it tight. I don’t know why, but it feels warm inside.
* * *
I was never interested with Europe. Have no specific reason. But for me, Latin America and Asia are offering more than I can imagine. It cultures, histories, spices, foods, and more. That’s why, Europe never been in my destination lists. My must-to-visit-list always been Asian countries and keep dreaming that one day I will have a real holiday in Latin America. Where I can explore and practicing Spanish. Go to the indigenous communities over there and listen their stories and myths, and experiencing how they spend their day by day as well.
I am hoping can write stories about these people from my eyes. Taking notes on how the relationship with nature, their wisdom and their current struggle against so-called “civilized” people in the name of investment and development that willing to grab away their ancestral domain.
“That’s not holiday. It still can be called as ethnography. You are not having a real leisure time.” She laughed when I told her about it. “That’s why she left you. You are not going to take her to see a tourism sites. What you are going to do was to take her to accompany you to fulfill your political agenda.”
Her laugh reminds me with that woman. The one that I thought will be my final end. Someone that I can call: home. Where I can hide and stop from all the daily routines of advocating the indigenous communities. Someone that will cure all my pains and helping me to recover before going back to the front line of battle.
“You was wrong. Completely wrong. That was selfish. You was expecting her to be everything that you wanted but you did not make similar efforts. To be a man that she wanted you to become. You forced her to deal with unfair relationship for years and you still consider yourself as Marxist? No way man!” That was her first respond when I told my past. It shocked me. No one ever bold me in the same way she did.
“I will do the same thing if I were in her position. Faster maybe. A year will be enough.” She continue her breakfast. A fried rice that I cooked for her to fulfill my promise. I told her, that I am good enough to cook for her. She enjoyed it and it made me happy and proud at the same time. To see someone enjoying it.
“You are really good at cooking, but for me you haven’t completed your struggle to be a good Marxist.” Then, as always. She laughed. Sarcastic, but I do like it.
“Maybe you should stop trying to be a Marxist. Instead, you should try to open a restaurant and makes people happy through your foods.”
“You are funny and nice. You know that? But you always hiding it. You should be more open and relax.” She drunk her morning coffee then smile to me.
I starred at her eyes. Blue and bright. Like ocean that surrounding my island, there in northernmost Indonesia.
“You will ended alone all the time if you did not changed. Believe me.” She wear her underwear, put her bra, jeans and shirt before me who froze in silence without a single word to answer.
“Come. Let’s go out with me. I’ll show you something.”
I put my shoes in hurry and follow her from behind.