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The Eighth Letter

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The Paradox of Perfection
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The Red Gauze

I ain’t habitual in writing letter. Ain’t habitual in composing words in grace. Ain’t habitual in expressing each feelings even just an ‘a’ written in a sheet of vocal, even more than that.


Yet, I had written seven letters.  Shamely, I couldn’t send to whom I meant to. Because  I am shy. I am shy when I had to catch her eyes, feel the flare of love I couldn’t bare. I am shy when I had to hand my hand over her, wish that she grip it then started to read my letters before me. Then you must be asking, why didn’t just I send it by post. Know what? I’m a man. I feel more ashamed if I reveal my unmanliness right before her. Know what? A man should bravely stand-forth his feeling directly toward woman whom he love most. Unliked me.

           

I found them on the stack in my lowest self cabinet. Unfolded. Since I don’t want them got rampled by folding like wrinkles in my face slowly growing old. I took a glance, born a smile. And like a longing a purposely sit on side the windows around sunset, reading them one by one.

 

1/

: zane

I just need to fold the longing, to hide it under my pillow. Since tonight I am desirously  dreaming of you.

 

2/

: zane

Don’t you remember over that night, when we both written down lots verses of dream on a blank paper? Then we carefully folded it into a tiny place that is flying into the highest sky?

And don’t you remember on the night of the next fourteenth month, I brought a piece of moon to your home without knocking the door first. And place it right on your lap. For you to see how much is my sacrificing for you.

3/

: zane

For good, I’ve made it completely , a boat,  enough for both of us to ride across the ocean of life. I had prepared two angles for us angling fishes as foothold in life. Therefore we can’t get starving.

Calm down, this boat has a strong roll. It won’t easily get shake. Since I had learnt long enough to know the wave and control it down. Believe that?

 

4/

: zane

Our new home is only covering with a cement floor not a tile floor. Therefore you couldn’t lay down there. It’s not good for health. No ceilings, only old roof-tiles given by a neighbor as wedding gift. So that we can hear rain’s hum, he said.

But I’ve prepared a mattress, an old kapok mattress I bought in lowest price. No bed, no pillow, no bolster, nor even a blanket. Since you have me, who became all of them.

 

5/

: zane

We haven’ t have  a vehicle. But doesn’t mean we cannot go out for a journey. Relax,  still we can feet on wet grass on weekend. Still, we can eat fried chicken at stall next to the restaurant. Still, once a while we can enjoy the deep woods, enjoy the nature.

Up  to you. Just don’ take me up to the moon.

 

6/

: zane

I ain’t Sukab who was able to cut off twilight into a piece of postcard. Nor I Sapardi who was able to express his love towards winds, towards cloud, towards each essences of life. Since I am just your husband, an ordinary civil employee who only know how to calculate numbers and spelling each logic verses.

I wish to state a longing but can’t. I wish to enjoy a honeymoon still can’t.

Forgive me, I had gone out of town for work. Leaving you there  lonesome. Yet, it hasn’t been over two whole months we can get along intimately.

 

7/

: zane

You had already asking unripe mango just yet  these two whole month we grip our hand together , embracing body. Yet, mango isn’t in season. There are only durians, lanseh, rambutans, that even get sale on market. But you keep whining for unripe mango and threat not gonna eat rice nor have a bath, nor sleep with me again

I went to Karawang, to Bekasi . They said no mango around. I keep going to Indramayu until Ajibarang the center of banana. Still, No mango around. Till, I run out money so I can’t go home.

 

: zane

I want  to make you proud. I’ll do anything to make you happy. That’s why I’m okay even I had to walk along edge of train’s rail glancing to each yards of houses lining tidily on left and right side. No unripe mango. Not even a single mango’s tree.

Then I went home with head bent over. Disappointed.

Suddenly, at time I arrived in front of the house, you embrace me, ignoring the stingiest smell over my body. Cause for days not having bath. Unless by sweats. (and I see on the table, there is a plate of unripe mango , not knowing who gave it from)

 

No eighth letter, just seven. And seven are enough. And even are just seven, it’s enough to make me dropping tears since one by one carried out memory and journey. Since everything is my longing for her, that now is no longer around. Since… ah,  I’m not sure.

On the wall, right above our bed, is placed a pictured with two sweetest smiles to memorize. I’m still looking for second. Looking her face I could no longer see.

And I’m crying, for over again

Slowly, I get down the picture. I look at it once again. It’s time saving the longing, to neutralize the sadness. However, something’s wrong in there. Seems a paper, emerge revealing itself. And it is a paper that neatly folded and purposely slipped. Slowly, I open and read it.

 

To my dearest husband…

 

Do I still alive when you found out my handwriting? ‘

I guess not. Since you won’t have time taking care the small thing in this house. Moreover , to face our memory. Unless you want to tidy up this house to clean up your longing over me that you could no longer see.

Dear, I am already die, aren’t I ?

Fine, it’s ok. Don’t you cry back there. Cut it, change your nature that can get easily worried. A man must be strong-hearted. I admitted, that’s why I never be able to tell my sickness over. I’m afraid interrupted your mind.

 

Dear,

I want to tell a secret. Did you know? I had read all your seven letters. Secretly. Don’t get angry, Ok?

You first letter tell about a  longing? Did you write it when we were still dating?

Seemingly yes.

You said you hide the longing under your pillow. Know what?  I found that longing and hide it in the other place. Since I don’t want to appear in your dream. I more want you to come to mine and speak the longing by gambling with me. It seem impossible for that.

Your second letter moved me. Of course I remember that day. At that moment, you shyly put the ring on my finger, expressing love for the first time, although it has been over three whole months we were dating. Did you know? I was truly happy. Moreover when you embrace and kiss me warmly.

And for the moon, I’m still keeping it. Till  I’m writing down this letter, still keeping it in deep down my darkest heart. Since you have read this letter you should take it back ( I placed it on the leftist enclosure).

 

Dear,

Do you remember the absolute condition for woman your wife become? You said it back then, that the woman should be willing to live in common neighborhood. Thus, I enjoying our old house without ceilings, without bed, and our journey in each weekends ( without riding a vehicle). If there is just you, I’d be very happy.

Cause you know, I love you so.

About Sukab:

Ah… you admire him most, don’t you? Till you quote him in your letter. It’s fine. I admire him too. But not more than I admire you so. Since you are more than that, you brought moon over my lap.

 

Dear,

I laughed reading your seventh letter. Sorry, that time I was really upset. And you, then leave  for days looking for unripe mango. And just arrived, I made you jealous by not telling who gave the mango on the table from.

Okay, I’ll tell you, that mango come from our neighbor. She has mango’s tree back yard. Didn’t you notice? Therefore, I told you to be more aware to our neighborhood. Noticing them. Don’t just stick around the home for reason tired after work.  Okay?

However, I’m happy. Truly happy. Cause you actually still willing to sacrifice for me.

 

Dear …

I’m not crying while writing down this letter. Therefore, you also cannot cry while reading it.

Hah.. I’m already gone, aren’t I ? and forgive me, if the baby also gone with me.

 

Dear …

Take a good care

( Don’t I keep my promise? To love you till the day I die?)

 

Your wife, Zane, who love you so.

 

So I cry, a deep cry. Tears drop wetting the paper before I folded it like before. Then I put it back to where it was. On the secret chamber, the hiding place of love.

 

 

 

Notes:

Sukab: a character in “Sepotong Senja Untuk Pacarku” by Seno Gumira Adjidarma

Sapardi: one of the best poetry in Indonesia

 

 

 

Previous short story:
The Paradox of Perfection
Next short story:
The Red Gauze
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