English,  Ocehan

Less Than An Hour Dialogue with Him

Right after Maghrib, just a day before the eve of Eid al-Fitr I received a call. It was not directed coming to my cell phone, it was my older brother’s phone. I could not think any longer when the last time I heard an incoming call ringtone which popped up the name of this so-called beloved person. It seemed to be a year, or even three years ago, he used to call me without knowing what the reason was. I didn’t do anything but letting the notification disappeared eventually.

My arrival in Kandangan, the city of my hometown, was a little bit appropriate moment to fix the gap. I bet my brother knew how hard it was to make the situation like it was before. He obviously wanted me to meet him, but I couldn’t give the answer as if I preferred to not meeting him.

“It’s your one and only chance to meet him, after this, I don’t think that you will have time to do so,” said my brother, convincing me to accept his offer. Still, I have had a doubt about what’s going next. Is it going to be awkward? How about the past? Hasn’t he changed yet? What should I say? Those questions have been on my mind for an hour before I truly said ‘yes’.

He brought me to the uncommon area where there were only a few homes existed. The huge and tall palm trees which covered the surroundings made the night darker. That one-floor home was not looked fine to be called a family home. It seemed to be like a guest house for a single. But it’s true that it’s the place where the person who used to live together with me for 12 years.

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I knocked the door while looking at the gap checking he was staying home. Just in few seconds, he opened the door and let me in. I sat down in silence on –I guessed- second sofa bed that was available for four people. The dialogue started with the brief question asking each other condition. “Is everything all right?” he asked. I just nodded and stayed calm without having the desire to reply him by words.

At that time, I only involved in some topic while my brother took the major part in the dialogue. I could assume that it was my characteristic. Not only because I had been apart from him for years, but also I couldn’t forget what he had been doing in the past. There was abundance of dilemmas to decide, the option to forgive or not to.

Living in that small home, he was not just alone. There were a woman and a daughter who occupied the home altogether. He didn’t look happy nor sad at the same time. But one thing for sure, he has got older, almost reaching the 7th decades of his life. His pale face reminded me of the past when I was 10 years old waiting him going back home after a pretty hard-work. Still, he deemed me as his little son in elementary school like years ago.

“How’s it going? What about Vietnam?” he tried to break the silence while I was feeling surprised that he knew about it. I didn’t tell him anything, even just for asking a permission. No, as I said before, we didn’t make any communication. “Glad to be there,” I replied, in short, trying to not see his eyes directly.

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Without any distraction, he told everything about him at the moment, about his job, his acquaintance, his electricity bill which increased recently –due to electricity subsidy withdraw- and his daughter who would start her first day to kindergarten. I have had no idea what to reply. I said nothing, hoping that the time went so fast. Thus, I didn’t need any kind of reason to end the dialogue.

I’m so grateful that I could be who I am today, to be a more independent individual. Living and studying a thousand km apart without parents are kinda easy. I get used to doing everything on my own. However, every time I think about returning the favor to them, my mind always refuse to do so as if I was the worst victim in a tremendous tragedy.

This -less than an hour meeting- has left something behind, particularly about how I should be sincere to forget, forgive, and trying to live the current life. I might not be a good son, but I always try to not hurt anyone. Hence, I prefer to leave an incoming call unanswered or deny the invitation to meet than to hurt one’s heart with my phlegm.

It might be my last moment to meet him. At least till the next couple years.


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