The Northern Territory

In the midst of my boredom and my exacerbation about life, I read this ‘Gonzo style’ and decided to try writing a fictional story. I’m not sure that my story matches the style, but at least I tried to put lots and lots of detail with a first person narrative. I think omitting the vernaculars makes it a no-Gonzo, but whatever. Haha!

I met her in a fancy cafe where we first met, on a chilly winter evening. She was as beautiful as she had always been: long, brunette hair tied into a bun with a pearly white hairpin. Almost no make up on her face, she was wearing a thick sea-green sweater that matched her fair skin. She had her laptop opened and studied the screen so seriously, it almost felt like she was inspecting a crime scene. I shivered on my knees as I made my way through her. For a split second, I thought I wouldn’t be able to at least say, ‘Hello’. I was afraid of my own decision, I was afraid that my words would hurt her, and I was afraid that she might run away from my life forever. She might do that after she heard what I was going to say, obviously. But it still pained me.

I was just about to take my first step when she glanced right at me.

That icy look on her eyes that I hoped would leave my memory.

I straightened myself up and walked across the room. People were busy chatting with each other while sipping hot coffee. The air smelled delicately nice. Fresh bagels, toasts, and cinnamon rolls were carried out from the oven. It could have been one of our lovely evenings, where every sunset that we missed were wrapped up in a kiss. I remembered the endless days and nights when she fell asleep on my shoulder, or when she threw one of her ugliest duck face when I was just about to click the shutter, or when she walked beside me in the lakeside on one sunny afternoon.

She closed her laptop and waited with hands crossed on the table. I took a seat without any warm welcome. She sat quietly still, waiting for me to start. I knew she knew what I was going to say. She was always better than detectives in investigating. She had found her letters in the drawer. She had come to my home one day where my mother said no with a mundane finality and shut the front door. She had read my message and cursed me on the phone for not having the guts to stand up. For her.

I ordered a cup of peppermint tea. She was halfway through her cappuccino. I saw her eyes and my heart melted. Its brown iris pierced me through my brain cells. I wished I could stay and embraced her with my arms. I almost wanted to hear her crisp laugh at my jokes, like usual, but I had no jokes to throw.

My words came out as intrusive.

“How are you?”

She jerked her head, said, “As if you’d care”

Not a good start.

The waiter came with my order and extra sugar. If this was going to be her tantrum, I’d have a peppermint winter.

“Why don’t you say your plea?”, she said scornfully.

I started speaking with a painful tone,

“You know why I can’t do anything more than this. I hope you’ll understand”

She seemed to hold a restrained tear.

“You promised me we could stay through the thick and thin”

I went on ruthlessly before my courage ran out.

“I don’t deserve you”

She spoke with a soft voice,

“Then who else will deserve me, K? I don’t care what people say. You will have a decent life one day, and I’ll be in the picture. With you. Can you say that to her? Of course you have your own opinion, but to me, you’re my Northern Territory”

“And what does it possibly mean?”

“Well as you’ve guessed – I can’t go anywhere. I’m in this restricted area where I have built a fence on my own”

“Then don’t”

“It’s nothing sort of what I can control”

“Listen. Go South. Or West. Or East. Don’t go North”

“Compass always tells us to go North, doesn’t it? Even if I want to go South, that little “N” word is where the needle will always point to”

I gazed at her with an astonishing look. I’ve lost my words, and arguments, and my will to combat the statement.

“I don’t want to hurt you, N. I love you and maybe you have everything that I demand, but I can’t force myself to love you this way. Not when we perfectly know that we won’t have any satisfying end”

“Then why don’t you try? Perhaps, as time goes by, we’ll see what we have for each other. Then after that, you can either leave or stay”

“What if I break you in the process?”

“That’s the risk I’m going to take”

I shook my head in disbelief.

“Why do you insist?”

“Because I feel the need to save you”

“I don’t want to be saved. You think I’m a little boy? I’m perfectly fine, you don’t have to save me whatsoever”

“I feel the need to save you. If we reach mutual agreement, I’m sure at least one of us will be saved”

“Don’t do this. I’m not going to be a good lover for you. There must be a lot of better men out there, you don’t have to invest your feelings on me”

“Then I should ask, why do you insist? Why don’t you have the guts to try? I tell you what, K, I’ve been hearing you speak to everyone about the woman you desire, and like it or not that woman seems to fit the picture of who I am”

“Don’t make me reconsider”

She nodded but looked as if she was going to cry. But I knew her better, she was stronger than that. Stronger than any women I had ever known, except when being lied upon.

“Well, K, I guess it’s time to part”

“I’m sorry. You deserve an apology”

She laughed, “Why do you have to apologize for being honest? If you stick to the decision, then that’s that. Just because we can’t be together doesn’t mean I don’t love you”

“Want a piece of advice? Don’t waste your energy on someone who will not love you back”

“Oh, you don’t? Was I the only one who fell in love? You think you’ll live a happily-ever-after life after tomorrow?”

“I’ve always loved you, N. Always have, always will. But this is something I have no control over. Please don’t say you love me”

“I’m doing this for myself”

She stood up and gave me the deadly look I wished was never casted on me.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know. I’ll go for another cup of coffee. I’ll go North. But not here, not with you”

“Can I at least say goodbye?”

“Life is short, K. Just let me love you once before we run out of time”

“I’m sorry, you know how sorry I am”

“Not as sorry as I am for you”

The door swung open and she stepped outside. I finished my coffee in one gulp and went out, caught a strong wind and chilly winter air. I thought about that woman with a sea-green sweater. Her lovely smile that used to be my personal fantasy. I knew I’d never find anyone as close to perfection as her. I felt as if there was a hole in me that suck any happiness I’d normally feel the following day.

She should be there. She should be in the picture.

I turned left and caught the glimpse of a familiar silhouette.

She used to say that she wanted to go to places she had never been. She wanted to kiss me in front of Eiffel Tower. I said it was cheesy and I’d prefer eating spaghetti in Rome.

“We’ll fly together, won’t we?”

“To where?”

“To the sky, of course! See where the wind blows. Do a random trip. Somewhere on this earth, everyone has their own place”

“No planes for me. I’ve got a fast car”

“I’ll go faster than you”


I ran.

It was the painful scream that I heard last.

A violent stab of loneliness hit me as I drew nearer to the crowd, and in that painstaking juncture when the world stopped, I couldn’t help but regretting that I really had run out of time.

Her brunette bun was already in disarray.


A Dim Light

Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” is playing on the background.

I shed the third stream of tears I’ve had in the past three days. Technically, that means I’ve cried once a day in average. Sad, isn’t it? I’m not asking to be pitied. I have this constellation of my own that I need to sort out, one by one. Or maybe I don’t have to sort anything. Or maybe the constellation of problems is not actually there.

I’ve grown tired of being tired.

I can feel the wind blows into my room. Cold, chilly wind pierces my already dried skin, but I’m strangely sweating, and the cold never bothers me anyway. If coldness could somehow turn into punishment, I’d gladly accept it, just so all this mess can be cleared and I finally will have the privilege of receiving clarity.

Maybe there was a shot in the dark and I was just caught by surprise.

I make up my mind thrice a day. The inconsistency annoys me to the point that it almost doesn’t annoy me anymore. Only an increasing pitch of voice. I’ve been hearing those same voices of treachery inside and outside me. I thought I would go crazy, just because. But I stay sane, confused as ever.

I wake up everyday with a forced smile and I will do anything just to stay occupied. But my body does not do anything, while my head’s filled with thoughts I would rather not hear at all. Sometimes it gets into me, so deep until I cry for the seventh time in a day. And then I’ll get myself a hot chocolate, ice cream, or my arsenal of Japanese KitKat just to make me happy. Perhaps I’ll go out somewhen and treat myself to good company provided by good people, but they are my chloroform. I will then go to bed with a fulfilled heart, but when I wake up, the scars open up and I’ll realize that dope does not last forever.

Well, nothing lasts forever.

I am miserable as ever.

I should be grateful. I should stop complaining. I should just go out and do something. But do what, exactly?

On top of that, I want to shut my ears. I want to shut my ears to the talks I don’t want to hear. Don’t they realize that that toxic lingers more in me than they ever predicted? Can I grow out of sensitivity? Can I, just for some heavenly split seconds, be unable to feel? I’ve been wanting to go to an isolated island or travel alone to a random destinations. I want to know how it feels to be free. I want to let myself be free.

People flock into you when you are a lighthouse. But when the light goes dim, you can only rely on yourself. No one else. Anymore. You never learn anything about yourself because you always have another human there informing your growth rather than growing on your own. Some may fool themselves into thinking they just work better in life when they’re with someone, or some people, but if you peel back the psychological layers, there is some terrible “I’m afraid of being alone” pathology going on there.


I’m hoping for a mirage that is as real as it seems. I may make mistake and walk away, and be eternally sorry for everything. But I was born to make mistakes, not to fake perfection.

And this circumstance is a part where I am being imperfect.

Can we all, myself included, just accept it and move on?


Learning To Let Go

If there’s something I’m grateful for having in this early 2014, it’s the nudge and realization that we eventually do need to let go of some things, people, feelings, and memories.

There’s a constant regret that I always have ever since that happened. I might even go as far as saying that it was one of the biggest regrets I’ve had in my life. So far, I have no satisfying closure. I only do what I could do best: to show the world what they’re missing. It’s my only panacea to the wound that cannot be healed.

I was always in a constant denial when it comes to this particular matter. And in case you wonder, it’s not about romantic relationships. But it hurts. It still hurts, like an incarcerating cage of guilt that follows you around. Some scars here, some bitterness there. There’s a wish that I wished would be granted, to turn back time, to clarify, to explain the complete story, and to take back the privilege that was once mine.

After the discussion, I asked, “So you agree then, that I have no chance to come back and start again?”.

The answer was clear. No. I don’t have that chance. It’s been a saturated situation, and going back is not a viable option.

But there are people out there who had no prejudice against me, from the start. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to do those stupid things. It was a chaos, where endless tantrums were thrown. I know it was a mistake, but shit happens, and life sometimes gives us its lessons through the harsh way. The silver lining was pointed out by both parties: I expanded my acquaintances, I learned to dive into a lot of exciting things, and I tasted the other parts of life I might wouldn’t have done unless that happened.

Maybe some things fell apart so other pieces could start assembling better things in the same place.

“You can’t make all people love you. Selalu akan ada orang yang mungkin gak bisa dibikin suka sama lo. Yah tapi liat aja Marsh… segitu banyaknya lo dapet bunga sama hadiah waktu wisuda, itu nunjukin banyak yang sayang sama lo kan. Banyak orang yang udah lo jadiin temen selama lo di kampus ini. Mungkin kalo itu gak terjadi, lo gak akan punya temen sebanyak itu. Shit happens tapi yaudahlah”

There’s no better words for me than this quote below. This may be the time for me to let go of the thing I wish I never did. Maybe I have to let go of some parts of my life, just so I can live a steady future free of worries, while trying to reach bigger and better goals. Walaupun semuanya tetep kerasa perih. There are hopes and dreams that stopped blooming in the middle of time, that I cannot modify to be how I wanted it to be in the past.

Because… truth be told, what else can I do besides letting go?

People change, even the ones you thought you knew the most. And even though it hurts to see them go, you have to move on, for the memories are all you have, and things might never be the same.