I am reminiscing you; and the little boy who often stole some change from the left pocket of your pants that would hang behind the door in the front room; his pride in bringing home for Mom, his three brothers and as many sisters, a plastic bagful of bananas or oranges from the money he’d stolen; the one afternoon you once asked him about the vanishing money; how he could bring home oleh-oleh for the family; the childish lies and made-up stories; and the relief he felt when you did not pursue the truth hidden in his pinkish heart. (You didn’t lose your trust in this boy. Maybe you knew, he only wanted to learn to be like you. And as far as I know, never did once you lose trust in him.)
I am remembering you; and those muddy streets, noisy morning market, quiet walks you walked together on the way to your office and his school; the so many words unspoken; the surroundings that renewed the boy every day; the neat uniform you wore and your well-kept pomade-glazen hair.
I am recalling you; and those magenta boxes of dried raisins you sometimes bought him at Bang Toto’s kiosk after you two had had to pass the swinging bridge across the Banjir Kanal and cross the old doubletracks; the red guitar you bought for him, and know the reason why some days latter he discovered that his first own guitar was so terrible like a sin; so ugly he wanted you to get him another; your being speechless when the boy finally destroyed it. (You did not lose your temper at the outrage.)
I am bringing you to mind; and the old scooter you used to have and how the boy got irked by your slow ride and the fact you never used gear one; the ridiculous pain inflicting his pinkish heart every time he returned from school to find your old sky blue Opel Kapitan parked in the open garage; his wishing that your bulky jalopy would vanish in thin air, so that he would not see its grinning grills; the euphoria he felt when Mom got Rp 250,000 in exchange of the crap.
I am evoking you; and the Khong Guan assorted biscuits you’d bring home for him, brothers and sisters and over half a dozen relatives who depended on you; and the taste of the Orang Tua herbal wine you occasionally bought, including the dizziness one late rainy night, when the boy ignorantly drank up to the last drop.
I am recollecting you; and that boy turning into an ingrate with but little pride of his first motorbike, his Wora-Wari; the times it’d turn itself off from overheating. (He got it from you not long after he started to learn to live and dechiper the way of the world; the family TV, among the first in your neighborhood, that perched on the cupboard in his kos-kosan before the fateful barter into a lousy typewriter.)