The Untouchable

Your twenty sixth birthday went past, all the transient romances ceased, your adolescent lust turned into thirst for a more timeless bond.

Never before you met a soul so impeccable; whimsical words born from their fetching fingers, constant supplies of contagious laughter they radiate into the realm, modesty within all the sincere kindness they touch the Earth with, the way they cover their grace with elegance, all the exemplary talents people wish to steal,

all sublimity you can barely touch. When boundaries are higher than discrepancy, bigger than numbers, stronger than faith,

all that is solely out of your reach. Even skins, even the tip of their fingers where affection is preserved for too long,

even the whole lot of things you wish you could caress.

Are they worth the yearnings?

Premises and Prologue (part A)

One-way ticket to Boston, two heavyhearted faces, and three words never pronounced. Four days away from a newborn chapter not yet ready to be written. Outside, the Sun radiates after months of bareness and gray in the sky, but we suffer still from inherent whiteout in each of our mind.

I grab a book of poetry, make my way to your room, twenty seconds away from my studio. You’re calming still on your sofa with your headphones on, mumbling tones and lyrics I’m very much familiar with. Owls-patterned sweater overwhelms your skinny posture, matching my assorted birds-patterned midi skirt. A cup of dark cocoa I could smell, fusing with a hint of lavender-vanilla scent of your air freshener in the background. I then lay my back on the cushions upon your usual crumpled bed, begin to ponder within spilled ink of elegiac ode that comprises a universe I build privately for myself.

You’re still in your own universe also, I could see you from afar, afloat among tunes that I favor very much too. I’d like to sing with you just like the usual days, I really would love to, but time almost ceases—at least for us. All I could do is joining you here, saving you from the comfort of your own company, deliberately adding more burden to our shoulders as we countdown to the expiration of our period of coexisting together. Boston and Stockholm; 3,741 miles of separation. Unknown time limit.

You grab your book of dystopia combined with philosophical questions—the kind of stories I would never apprehend no matter how frantic you’ve always become every time you narrate me the whole synopsis. You lay next to me, quitting from the universe you’re in before, moving to the next stop of galaxy. I’m still drowning in sentimental proses you barely appreciate. And there, just like that, I burst into tears. Questions overflowing inside my brain are just too unbearably massive to withstand. You hug me.

In awkwardness, we survive twenty-three minutes of my weep, the only voices we could hear is my depression, and your mind begins to become overfilled with uneasiness. You tell me things are going to be where it deserves to be. I don’t want to. I want to make mistakes for once in my life, I want to be mistaken, I want you to be part of the sweetest mistake I would have ever done, I want to sound cheesy and full of cliché for once in my life.

My mind is already cheating all this time. My heart has undergone even so much worse of stages. My imagination and desire altogether have gone unforgiveable. Continents away from me, a clueless soul bounded with me by pledges and vows, thinking I am doing perfectly fine and all right and trusted. I am not.

But there you are all this time; taking care of my honesty, keeping my grace together. Not even trying to persuade me to quit behaving. Leaving me physically untouched. Although you leave the other parts—heart and mind—mishandled and disarrayed.

This particular room—an attester of many beautiful individuals whom you have been inside for the past half year, while never have I ever become one of them. Yet still, I own the very space for you to constantly come back and be home. And you always do, and my acceptance is always given at zero price.

I fall asleep counting memories instead of sheep, the lamp is turned on still. Shelves in countless bookstores, narrow streets in unknown cities and towns, world’s most well-known lakes and mountain, obscure musicians on fancy stages, homemade signature dishes of yours, cutleries that we share, collection of DVDs of documentary movies, and so forth. All that makes the loudest year in my constantly tranquil life. All that comes to presence because of you and your inescapable lure towards me.

00:01 AM, and another remaining day is elapsed. I am awake and staring at such perfection contained within a single individual slumbering restfully next to me, sharing a crumpled single bed once again, who doesn’t even let himself to touch me just because. With his ivory skin contrasting his ebony hair, mental fatigue disguised inside his beautiful hollow-cheeked face, and burdens of detaching placed upon his stiff shoulders. Pale-shaded lips incapable of conveying the purest truth.

And all that he knows, all that he’s very much talented at, all kinds of intelligence that tease me in the first place. All that he is.

All values that I could not disengage.

Not in three days.

On the Surface of a Perforated Sphere

Over a shot of your 252 and a glass of plain lemon water of mine we exchanged our notion that evening. Casually and unpretentiously. But still, the kind of conversation that would intrude my mind for weeks or possibly more, partly because: 1. Your queer accent had always been my strange sort of muse; 2. Your judgment towards unhappy facts had even been growing more liberally since the last time we had such discussion—despite possible cause of simply different shots you had; and 3. Your wavy edges of hair draping behind your trilby hat fit you like never before.

The other part was just because, it’s you and me again. Trying to befit our fortune and deal with the infelicitous consequences. Repeating the same cycle of melancholia, followed with acceptance, and then hunger for coming back.

Have we never learned anything?

Oh, darling, we have. We always have. But we have always decided to also forget the lesson that we’re the sorts of variables that could never coexist altogether in any equation, simply because we believe in possible new approaches to overcome that biggest issue of our affinity.

Whether it’s actually realistic or not.

Oceans away from where we were, a soul that was supposed to be half of me was undergoing their life on a casual daily basis, being clueless about what I was suffering, not even having time to care, not even asking.

A quick stroll away from where we were, a soul that had recently been responsible for your constant source of fun—fulfilling part of you I could never afford—was waiting for you to knock on their bedroom door; being clueless about what you were suffering, not even having time to care, not even asking.

And there we were, getting stuck in the same final question as always. And our approach towards it would be you unconsciously staring at my face, which I reply with the exact same of motion; and for seconds we’ll begin to notice again how the freckles in our eyes are mirror images if only we could stand close enough to also notice that they’re perfectly aligned.

And that stops only when one of us giggles, and looks away, and laughs at our constant trait of being folly.

Because our skins don’t even know each other. Unlike yours and hers. Or much fewer parts of mine and his. Our different set of boundaries defines it all.

And you appreciate that, and I appreciate you for appreciating that.

But hey, our eyes.

The only entities that communicate the most when our voices no longer do.

“So what are we going to do now?”

“I don’t honestly know.”

“We never did, do we?”

“We always did. We chose to ignore all the time.”

“Then?”

The guy in the live band sang Transatlanticism in the way we never heard of before, and just like that, we knew the only answer for our ponder rightaway.

To be close, no matter what we are, no matter what we can or cannot do,

or become.

I need you so much closer.

A Conditional Probability

“You’re one in a million kind of soul.”

Such compliment that wraps it all,

before today.

None of us is a scarce entity, nor exceptional. We could develop a society consisting of 7,500 human beings of our kind, of souls with mutual similarities. “I find a better version of myself in you,” you said, to me, and could be to another 7,499 humans out there—in the case where you happen to be the worst of your kind. Seven point five billions of souls coexist today, and really, one in a million kind of soul won’t be my favorite line of flatteries considering my sophistication in statistics. A million is merely a faux statistic we invent in attempt to emphasize how remarkable someone has become—as if there’s little opportunity for us to meet the other 7,499 people as such.

But there is always such opportunity.

Sometimes given, unanticipatedly.

Just like here, now. And here I am, left alone speculating. Why does the universe drag us into this? Why this rendezvous? Why now, here? Why your pinstripe sweatshirts? Why all obscure movies and historical stories and political issues that brought us into endless midnight talks? Why the yellowish skin of yours, and the fuzzy edges of your thick hair, and the slight freckles under your eyes?

Why a whole lot of these and other things that both of you share in common?

Wouldn’t be my chance of meeting any other person with such qualities,

unless, probably, if I happen to land on

the other side of the Earth.

Which I did, which led me into this, which I regret having said about.

But even if I do, there’s just so little possibility for that person to share a mutual devotion with me; I mean, what are the chances?

And the answer surprises me.

It also surprises me how easily things could fall into time and places, without even us planning, without even a single warning, without asking. No matter how cautiously I’ve been behaving. When calculations do not make perfect sense, yet once I begin to accept that this might be just how cryptically pleasant works of the universe, it becomes particularly conceivable per se.

Let your body sink into me

Like your favorite memory

Like a line of poetry

Or a fucking fit of honesty

You know it saves me to think even for a little while

I owned the set of shoulders that you came to rely on

I hear your voice resembling that guy on the radio as I submerge myself in guilt, as I try to sleep the provoking thoughts about us away.

In case our timing is right

In case you need more from me

Than a bit of advice

Or a tongue full of sympathy

But they reappear—always—with every daybreak, with every crepuscle we endure,

and with all the time in the world that we have.

On the Fence

We could complicate things by simply having the guts to confess to each other that the fondness we find towards each other is mutual. We could perplex the boundary between right or wrong by unwisely choosing to juxtapose our feelings and logic; senses and intuition; chances and risks. We could obliterate the boundaries between us,

faith,

concepts,

numbers,

judgment,

reasoning,

abstinence,

inheritance,

discrepancy,

circumstances,

pursuit of settlement,

chastity;

if only we’re both reckoning that this very moment of our intersection exists to be treasured, despite the likelihood of the distasteful prologue.

Epiphany

The most genuine smile you had never worn,

until last evening.

And I was particularly very fortunate to have been the addressee.


Our days and nights are replenished with versatile discussions just like usual. Canada’s newly elected national bird, car insurance deals, your brand new pair of Nike LunarGlide, Hwang Kyo-ahn, Empire of the Sun’s Two Vines, my new hair dyes in ebony, et cetera. Although mostly it is me consuming the knowledge you shared, rather than explicating my own opinions or emotions towards those things, being opposite of what you’re always doing and being utterly good at.

Some days I fear of being the cause of boredom—since you’re always the storyteller and never have I ever not been the quiet, yet curious kid with hunger for bedtime stories. It almost feels as if I would sure perfectly remember your voice and every peculiar accent of yours while you could perhaps easily forget mine—which I wouldn’t even be surprised about. But the fact that you’re staying, sticking with myself, constantly coming back with new subject matters every day, exalts me. Maybe, you’re in need of a person who would actually believe all the hypothesis that you smart ass invent, while I’m simply in need of

perpetual supply of your presence.

Either way, we’re symbiotically livening each other here.

Such a sweet companion you are to the desolation that I consciously create around myself. If my lust towards ease is Yin, you’d be the Yang that balances it with the obscure sort of sparks you offer. Arousing, but sedating at the same time. Happy pills to my daily dose of anxiety. A lucrative supplement.

A secret worth holding back. A truth worth never told.

A crave worth never having.

Forbiddance and Fainthearted

Nothing on Earth fortifies each other’s resplendency better than my ebony hair and your ivory skin do.

Sometimes, with the slight fragrance of peppermint and a hint of vanilla scent from behind our necks. Your fingertips will then begin to roam onto my back, fondling my stiff shoulder until I dare myself to lean on yours, slowly and cautiously.

I then will stare at your pale skin with such look of a yearling witnessing their first white Christmas of snow flurry. Full of adoration, and a slight dismay, fear not to have them again.

A little caress here, a little clinch there, then time pauses for us,

as if it offers some momentary interlude for us to dwell within guilt and queries.

For it demands more than mutual devotion for two individuals to cohere,

for it is unattainable to alter the principals.

For not a single truth about us will ever remain

forever.

iii

Puji-puji tentang rumput yang disapa oleh kado kiriman dari langit, pipa-pipa di ujung atap rumah yang diminta bernyanyi riuh bersama anak-anak awan, rambut-rambut yang basah setelah dirangkul tanpa jeda oleh malaikat dari angkasa yang mengharap pertemuan dengan Dewi Bumi. Ruang-ruang di antara rusukku kini dihias dengan krisan dan bakung tempat kupu-kupu bermain hompimpa sehabis gilirannya kilat dan gemuruh.

Setelahnya,

diam-diam kukirim doa dan salam paling bersahaja untuk Sapardi Djoko Damono dan Cholil Mahmud yang telah berkisah tentang hujan yang sentimentil di bulan Juni dan Desember.


 

ii

Di udara kita menyaksikan salam-salam berbungkus kertas kado keemasan beterbangan—sayapnya dari gula-gula kapas yang menguar dari uap bibirmu saat mengeja gramatika tentang utopia pada turun salju sebelum subuh—menunggu disambut tangan-tangan gadis yang ruang-ruang di antara rusuknya berisi harap-harap yang kekal mengendap.

Continue reading “ii”

Predawn

Half of the daytime I own your ease. Transient minute of caressing your coiffure; a brief moment of fingertips gently crossing the skins; and a momentary glance of your head falling to my shoulder; how’s it feel to dwell in constancy of not to leave anywhere and just settle down for a moment, to let the passing seconds fleet around you? I might have just asked a question you would never be able to resolve.

Continue reading “Predawn”