“Will you come here?” Sent.
I put my phone at the table. It was a pale morning. I was siting alone at my apartment and drinking a bad coffee. I turned the TV on but with no interest to watch it. I took a book from shelf and trying to read but ended jumping from a page to another. It was a weird feeling that morning. Found out that now you are alone and no one there with you.
I check my phone again. No reply from her, yet. Maybe she’s on her way to go to her work. Nowadays, everyone needs to work. This is capitalism, a simple term that never came easy when you were trying to explain it. Women who were part of me, always failed to understand.
I open my laptop and checking my movie folders. I watched all these movies before, so no interests. I decided to lit up a cigarette. Indonesian kretek maybe will help me.
“Thank you for not smoking last night.”
It was yesterday morning. She stop by after a tired day of working kindly came after a pitiful message from me, begging her to come. I wanted her to be here with me.
“You need to take care your health. Smoking and drinking beer regularly will not bring any benefits to you. You are getting old and now you are not in your twenties. So maybe, you can consider changing your life style. Do sport more, eat healthy foods and try to limit yourself from smoking and drinking.”
That line was a deja vu for me. She was not the first one who told me to think about my health. Someone was always telling me for many times to quit smoke and beer but for years. But I could not stop it.
“Having a healthy life wont hurt you. Instead, it will bring more benefits. Lost some weight so you can enjoy and after your goals.” She just order an online taxi. She need to go now and I can’t do anything to hold her here.
“You can help me to do that?” I asked her.
She smiled. That question, to be honest just a metaphoric question. Someone has tried for years to help me to stop smoking and drinking but nothing changed, so why do you think I will changed now? For similar reasons, for my own interest?
Sorry. But I was and still stubborn. Too arrogant to see that their efforts are gesture of love. That’s why she left me.
* * *
“You need to take time. Embrace your lost before find another woman and fall in love again. You need it. You can not pretend that it did not hurt.”
I cooked for her a skipjack abon. We both need it. To bring back memories of our childhood how our Mom raised us with good foods. A woman who taught me dozens of recipes and inspired me to learn how to cook so I can have these kind of foods every single time I need it or missing home.
“I know you love her so much. I can see it. You became a different man during your time with her. You grew up and got closer to us. It’s been a while to see you around us. She succeed to made you a family man.”
I did not respond it. My sister was right.
“It’s unfair for those women if you started a new relationship without moving on completely. Remember, you have two sisters. Do not play with women’s feeling simply because of your anger and sadness towards her.”
She showed me photos of France. Beautiful scenes from countryside.
“Maybe she also need time. It must be very tiring and painful for her to deal with yo for so many years and left you now. I know you well. You’re not that easy. So, don’t force yourself.”
Embracing a lost never been an easy thing to do. At least, for me. I still could not believe that after years spent with her, ended so fast. I was not ready. Maybe because she was my first true love, regardless that I was in relationship with many others before her. But her goodbye left me in pain. Something that I can’t easily wiped out with beer or immersed myself in work.
“Maybe you need to reconsider those offers. Pursuing your study further now will be a good option. Or maybe you take that job in Netherlands or England. Europe will be a good place for you to recover.”
My sister did not know that having job in Europe was actually part of my plan with her. She did not want to stay in Southeast Asia. So, moving to Europe was an option for two of us before we decided to have children. We both agreed that raising children in Europe is better than anywhere here. Good educational quality was her main consideration. She also thought her English can be better if we stay there.
“I don’t know. Haven’t thought about it. Let’s see.”
“Now you have a chance to make up with your life. No ties and it means you can after your goals. I know you’re struggling with life in Jakarta. You’re not belong here. You supposed to be somewhere out of this country. Europe and you are perfect match. You are smart and Europe will help you to grow. To be someone better than who you are now. Maybe, you will find someone there. Then, you can move on.”
I did not say anything. Instead, I put my shoes and said goodbye. I need to go now. Someone was waiting for me at the beer house.
* * *
“Good morning.” She was smiling. So lovely. It was the first thing I saw that day.
“Good morning, Mom.” I got up, kiss her and went to bathroom. Took a shower before last checking my baggage. I will fly out of Vietnam to go back to Indonesia. I’ve been there for three weeks. It was a break after I conducted a research in West Papua.
“We will have breakfast first, before catch a bus for you. What do you want for your last meal in Vietnam?”
“How about Hue’s noodle?”
Ten minutes after, we were driving to the bus station and had my last meal before leaving. Yes, it was my last. I never came back again after that.