I was little and didn’t understand much how the world spins.
My father was never my greatest best friend. Contrary to what most people think of him as my father, he was the monster I had to fight as a child. No day without cruel arguments, at times involved physical contact that modern parents wouldn’t dare today. He once spat his food on my face because I was complaining about the food mama made for us. One night he threw my phone across my bedroom because I refused to pick up mama when it rained. I guess, looking back on all that, I deserved the lessons he tried to make me see.
I didn’t grow up with luxuries most kids of my age had, especially when it comes to support, mentally and financially. In this department I was not so blessed with the fact that my biological father didn’t quite believe in the things I wanted to do, or he did, but chose not to show it. He was not one of these people on my front, always stood on the opposite. I never understood why he always got in my way, made me question everything that I’ve already planned. That left me in great rage, trying to make sense of it all.
I remember one of the awful memories I had as a stupid teenager. When my anger kicked in, I stated something I could never say to his face, on my Friendster page: I want to kill you, dad.
The Universe never slept. Everything that moves in this gigantic universe agreed. They granted that wish a few years later.
So he did slip away from my life forever, four years ago the day before my first thanksgiving when I was 23,000 miles away from where he drew his last breath. He disappeared when I was about to build the life I wanted him to see. The next thing I know he will never be in every happy, sad life event I want to share with him. But I’m still luckier than many other kids.
It took me some time to finally be able to forgive myself for how wrong I was all that time. He was the bestest best friend I could ever ask for, from whom I’ve learned immeasurable amount of lesson. But perhaps growing up sometimes means you’re supposed to question less about how everything goes and learn how to fully accept it, life and all that shit. Wanting to keep someone we love alive in great pain sounds almost like the most selfish idea to me.
He left. I got my life back on track, things were starting to pick up the pace.
Ever since, I have been spending more time in this head than in the reality (friends, ex-girlfriends and strangers confirmed), attempting to reflect on all the journeys I had with him, rewinding the moments of truth he once revealed to me as a smartalic.
And some of them are these blurry pictures of him on our Vespa:
“Pick up mama! Family first.”
“Sometimes you need to die to help others. Wait and see.”
“I don’t worry about your grades. I’d be worried if you don’t know how to find your way home.”
“Give more. Sometimes more than what you can possibly afford.”
“Money is just a tool,” his eyebrows raised,”helps you to get somewhere.”
“Not all cops are bad. There are some cool folks in everything in this world. Have faith.”
“God is everything we’re made of. Just much greater.”
“Don’t do anything you want because you want people to like it, do it because you really want to.”
“Poor boy, why do you compare yourself again? you’ll never win.”
“Upgrade your brain and heart, not face. Your face will take you to camera, but brain and heart will take you further.”
“All the things you find on the street are the best lessons you could ever find. Listen harder ok?”
He went on and on while cleaning my ears with his D.I.Y. coconut leaves by sawah. Sometimes on the hill. Other times while picking up mom somewhere on Vespa in the rain under the tree by the dark road in Lombok or Alas. We got soaked until we saw her bus.
He’s been speaking in a language I couldn’t seem to understand. As a kid, I’d usually nod it off but today, I see it much clearer. In my world where home could mean a bag I carry wherever I go with everything I need in it, I’ve begun to see how far a life led by heart could take me.
I wanted you to know that I’ve been building the life that I wanted. In that process, whenever it rains, my heart breaks and smiles at the same time. Thank you for your presence in my most difficult times. I know I’ve never lost you.
I can’t remember dreaming about you but some nights ago you appeared in my dream and I had you for a few seconds before I awoke. You were awake from your long sleep and stared at me, held my right hand. Your hand was so cold and eyes were tired. I don’t know where you’ve been in that dream.
In every chance, I’ve returned to all places he brought me to in hope to relive the moments I had. I’ll have Jackson singing in my head. Aduh pak, we’ll have to celebrate life once in a while with you at your house.
You have led me to a path I’m glad to be in, to live by my own rules, to learn from as many kind people as I could find in the world and to give more than I could afford. And most importantly, to challenge myself with the things nobody believes I could. Thank you for challenging me.