The Untouchable

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

Never before you met a soul so impeccable; whimsical words born from their fingers, constant supplies of their contagious laughter radiated into the air, all the sincere goodness they touch the Earth with, their grace covered with elegance, all the exemplary qualities everyone wish to steal,

all sublimity you can barely touch. When boundaries are as high as 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,

and a whole lot of other things you wish you could caress.

Are they worth the aching?

Premises and Prologue (part A)

One-way ticket to Boston, two heavy-hearted 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 still suffer from the 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 unwinding still on your sofa with your headphones on, mumbling tones and lyrics I’m very much familiar with. Owl-patterned sweater overwhelms your skinny posture, matching my assorted bird-patterned midi skirt. A cup of dark cocoa I could smell, fusing with a hint of lavender-vanilla scent from your air freshener in the background. I then lay my back on the cushions upon your usual crumpled bed, begin to swim in a sea of spilled ink that comprises a universe I build privately for myself.

You’re still in your own universe as well, as I watch you from afar, afloat among tunes that I very much fancy 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 on dystopia tangled 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 your 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 carefully.

In anything but awkwardness, we survive twenty-three minutes of my weep, the only voices we could hear is my overdue grief, and your mind begins to be swollen from uneasiness. You tell me things are going to be where they deserve to be. Well, I don’t want them to. I want to make mistakes for once in my life, I want to be mistaken, I want you to be a part of the greatest mistake I could have ever done, and 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 urge 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—a witness of many beautiful individuals whom you have been inside whom for the past half year, while never will I ever become anything resembling 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 sheeps, 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 underground stages, homemade signature dishes of yours, cheap cutleries that we share, collection of dusty 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 indescribable pull 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 detachment placed upon his stiff shoulders. His pale-shaded lips were incapable of conveying the purest truth.

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

All the haunting things I cannot separate myself from.

Not in three days.

On the Surface of a Perforated Sphere

Over a glass of your gin and tonic and another one of sparkling lemon water of mine, we teased each other’s senses once again that evening. Casually and unpretentiously. But still, the kind of conversation that would intrude my mind for days or possibly more, partly because: 1. Your lazy accent had always been my strange sort of muse; 2. Your judgment towards socio-political facts had even been gone more boldly since the last time we had this kind of encounter—despite possible cause of simply different drinks 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 unfortunate consequences. Repeating the same cycle of melancholia, followed with acceptance, and then hunger for coming back.

Have we never learned anything?

Oh, we have. We always have. But we have also always decided to forget the lesson that we’re the sorts of variables that could never coexist altogether in any equation, no matter how much we always want to believe in possible new ploys to overthrow that prime issue of our affinity.

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, someone that had recently been responsible for your constant source of fun—fulfilling part of your appetite 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 silly.

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.”

The kind of compliment that puts your head in the cloud nine,

but not today.

None of us is a scarce entity, nor exceptional. If even each of us were indeed a one-in-a-million kind of soul, with 7.5 billions of individuals we have on Earth right now, 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, or potentially to any other 7,498 humans out there if you happen to come across any of them before meeting me—in the case where you happen to be the worst of this version. Seven point five billions of souls exist today, and really, one in a million kind of soul won’t be my preferrable line of flatteries considering my fancy in anthropology. Who said I feel confident in competing with the other 7,499? A million is merely a faux hypothetical statistic we invent in attempt to tell someone how much we praise them—as if there’s little opportunity for us to meet the other 7,499 people as such.

But there is always such opportunity, isn’t there?

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 tell-tales and political quizzes that brought us into endless midnight talks? Why the yellowish skin of yours, and the fuzzy edges of your thick hair, and the light-coloured freckles under your eyes?

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

Wouldn’t stand a chance of meeting any other person with such traits and qualities,

unless, probably, if I happen to land on

the other side of the Earth.

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

But even if I do, there’s just so little possibility for that person to share a mutual fascination with me;

I mean, what are even the chances?

Yet the answer will surprise 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 acting. When calculations do not make the best sense, yet once I begin to accept that this might be just a cryptically pleasant work of the universe, it becomes slightly digestable that way.

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 the probability of 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,

legacy,

concepts,

numbers,

judgment,

reasoning,

abstinence,

discrepancy,

circumstances,

pursuit of settlement,

chastity;

if only we both reckon that this very moment of our intersection exists to be treasured, despite the likelihood of the awry epilogue.

Epiphany

The most genuine smile you had never worn,

until last evening.

And I felt particularly very lucky to have been the addressee.


Our days and nights are replenished with our multifaceted conversations just like usual. Canada’s newly elected national bird, car insurance deals, your brand new pair of masculine espadrilles, Hwang Kyo-ahn, Empire of the Sun’s Two Vines, your new hair dyes in chestnut, and so forth. Although mostly it is me consuming the knowledge you shared, rather than expressing my own opinions or emotions, being the opposite of what you’re always vigorously doing and being utterly good at.

Some days I fear of being the cause of boredom between us—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 someday perfectly remember your voice and every peculiar accent of yours while you might perhaps already forget mine—which I wouldn’t even be surprised about. But the fact that you’re staying, bearing with myself, constantly coming back with new tell-tales every day, delights me. Maybe, you’re in need of a person who would actually believe all the hypothesis that you invent, while I’m simply in need of:

a perpetual supply of your presence.

Either way, we’re symbiotically pleasing each other all along.

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

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

A crave worth never having.

Forbiddance and Fainthearted

Nothing on Earth complements each other’s charm 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 find their way onto my back, fondling my stiff shoulder until I dare myself to lean on yours, slowly and cautiously.

I will then stare at your pale skin with the look of a four-year-old witnessing their first white Christmas of snow flurry. Full of adoration, and just a hint of slight dismay, fear not to have them again.

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

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

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

for it is unattainable to alter the pillars.

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”

Heart & Soul

At the elegiac words of your ode, even ache could be somewhat flawless. Your je ne sais quoi turns twinge into pleasure in disguise, like fading colours of daybreak in the border of the city and the sky. As fine as white and washed-out ivory, but less romantic than the contrast of urban lights and evening horizon. You define pain as if it is just a peach rosebud. A patisserie that is closed every Saturday. A loverboy two thousand miles away promising to be back home.They would eventually grow some happiness just yet, you believe.

Continue reading “Heart & Soul”