The rosa alba (short story)

Salam. hi all.

After much consideration and some recommendation, I’ve finally decided to post my short story to my blog. Not that I had any intention from posting this short story, but just to express my inner feeling because I did write this wholeheartedly. So, here goes.

————-

No matter how much I shake this feeling away; it lingers like a fly hovering over its food. It never once seems to leave me alone. I hate this feeling with all my guts, but still parts of me kind of want it. Torn apart by it, I wonder if I can still recover from all this like everyone proclaimed. My life itself was rocked to its core by this feeling. It changes me, it reshaped me. All in a way that I still cannot fully sure either it is good or not. I want something good to come out of all this, but how can I be sure after all the suffering it brought upon me for the last couple of years. Uncertain and unknown. I desperately need an escapade, a time of solitude where I can have my own selves all for me. Where I again stood in the center of my world once again, after all this years been replaced by her.

A sudden breeze hitting my face suddenly wake me from my deep linger of my inner thought. The mee bandung I ordered twenty minutes ago had just arrived, ushered in by a frowned faced girl in her late twenties. If it is not because of this new me, that girl would have been scolded right here right now because of the late service with such a rebarbative attitude. Seriously, everyone had problems and not many had the strength and choose to hide it. Wearing that upside down smile is giving everyone else the negative aura people had inside. Like a virus, it is, it’s infecting others and resonate with their problems, plus with the possibility of creating a new one. The mitosis process of anger and problems. I speak from experience, years of torture due to this situation of mine. Perhaps, learning from this whole situation make the new me choose to see the light in this situation. At least, I have those 20 minutes to myself with a free hand. Well, that is a good thing, right?

It’s already 6:20 pm, anytime now, I think. I purposely choose this restaurant just waiting for this moment. A nice village restaurant built very close to the seaside, with a calm wave hitting its shore, a small island right in front travel-able by foot when the tide is low, and a not so frequent small fishing boats passing by, just enough to make the picture look perfect. Oh, yes, the seagulls. There are always the seagulls with their melody. How can it be perfect without it? Yet, it’s still not complete without its main object. VIP-like as it is, we have to wait for its appearance. Acting all important, right? Well, it’s worth it. It’s finally set. Bathing the beach and its admirers with a bright yellowish orange all the way to my face. Washing all my problems away. I wish the time stop for a while, so that I can soak it all in, using that opportunity to mend my broken heart. I wish that this moment will stay with me forever, so that I can just wipe away all my problems, not lamenting on it like I used to. I wish, I wish she would be here for me to share this moment with. I wish, all of this had not happened. I wish, my only true wish I could gather right now, is for her to be happy where she is.

Where should I start with this narrative? Perhaps, from those days when my heart is still mine, still whole and still naive. I was 19 at that time. Such a young age where nothing in this world seems to be of importance to me, except myself. I miss those days. Every day was filled with cheers and laughter with friends. We are not really close buddies, but we did share our moment together. They are there whenever I needed them, except when they have something else of much importance to do. Hamzah, he is special among them. Usually, whenever everyone else is busy, he will still be there for me. We will do all sorts of crazy things together, with me being the immature one between us of course. I will always be the one who laugh the most, with him, keep reminding of my own asthmatic condition, avoiding another sudden attack. Complete with his frowned face, he always warned me to keep it down. Sometimes, I purposely laugh my ass off, just to see that worried face of him, prove that there is a person who really cares for me beside my family.

All the time that I spend with him, I can recall vividly. However, of all the things, crazy things we did together, there is this one event that can never leave my mind. It was a sunny day. Such a perfect weather for us to be crazy. It just rained yesterday; I remember it being a heavy one, because I can’t stop thinking about the plan for tomorrow we had already planned months before. First, I will hide my dad’s car key. Second, we had to wait it out until my dad stop searching and gave up on finding the key. By then, he should already become really late for work. Therefore, he was forced to call in a cab, with the intention of still being at his office on time. Mom will also have to forsake the option of sending of my little brother, a 5 year old toddler to kindergarten with our family car. She will then go off to her school, bringing my younger sister together with her. We were certain that she will never let herself be late, for she is the headmistress at that school, with my sister as the head prefect. Such a reputation to uphold.

The driver? Surely it will be him. After all, he is the one who always takes the role of a matured adult. Off we go with the car as our heart pounding quickly; not knowing of what could happen next. Both of us did not have a license as we were underage at that time. Surely, as everyone knows, nobody can stop the thirst of curiosity that is emanating out from adolescence. We had many important and unanswered questions. What is the feel of driving the car of your own, how does the thrill you get when you are speeding faster than the speed limit, or when you overtake another car in front of you? We were determined that we will get all this answer today. As we are on the road, we experimented all we want. One of my experiments, however, cost us greatly.

There is a group of this Harley Davidson rider whom appeared out of nowhere, grabbing my attention. Being cheeky and childish as I am, my mind is quick to form a taunting words and my mouth are quicker to pronounce them. It happens just that instant, and the honking begins. We were escorted out from the road and into a back alley. I’m frightened, he was furious.  Out of our car, we were told, shaking, then we found both of us stand against the wall as they surround us. There were many things being spoke that time, but what I remember most is “you cute cheeky little bastard”. We giggled then, and we still laugh hilariously months after. Thankfully, it got resolved rather quickly; a policeman came around and disperses them. Unfortunately, we were caught red handed, for driving without license. Due to our misbehavior of creating a ruckus, we were remanded for a night in jail. God knows how my parents reacted. God knows how we laughed so much after everything settle down weeks after that.

As our friendship flourish, we thought nothing could ever break our brotherhood bonds.  Then, Hamzah starts noticing about this one particular girl that I frequently steal a glance at. At first, he openly confronted me about it. I denied having a crush for her each time. However, as he keeps on pestering me about it, I’m forced to admit it. Yes, I had a crush at that sweet-voiced girl, with her cute large black eyes. Who can deny the beauty of that violet-blue draped scarves wrapped so modestly around her head, with that calm face and bewitching smile every time she’s happy. She is perfect for me. Hamzah helped me to get to know her. He is very supportive. I remember having the shock of my life when he managed to track down the perfume that she is wearing. Chanel No.5, a perfume that gave fortune to its producer, quickly becoming the most favorite perfume for ladies ever since its introduction in 1921. Hamzah’s girlfriend knows all about Marilyn Monroe, so, he said that of course she will know when that perfume particle dissolve in her olfactory mucous layer in an instant. Apparently, it was also the favorite perfume of her idol. How she managed to sniff the perfume from Insyirah is unthinkable for me. I don’t even want to know how for that matter.

We set up a double date. I remember being my most awkward that night. Gone are all the cool act that Hamzah and I had practiced for the whole week before. Hamzah, as usual play the role of the alpha male. I didn’t mind that one bit. Sure, people say all true man wannabe will want to be adored by everyone as the alpha male. Not me, however. I’ve taken notice of how people really are when they are behind our back. My father is like that. Adored by many with their mask on, but not when it’s off. Sure, when we are in our prime time, we had everyone by our side. Yet, it’s just a mirage. The mirage of life where we perceived what we want, be that as it may, if we really take a close look upon it, all that’s left is the dryness of the hot desert sand, fast in drying our heart of love. Still, that night is magical. It quickly draws our fated heart together. The bond that is fated to be there securely welded our heart together as the night goes on. If Hamzah would pick “Count On Me” by Bruno Mars as the theme song for our friendship, I would say that “All Of Me” by John Legend perfectly describe me and Insyirah love story. When I send her the lyrics, I remember she cried so much that night. It puzzled me, but for some reason I know that I need to wait for her to open up. Then, weeks later, she starts talking about it, it changes everything. It re-polarized my whole world, my whole priorities.

‘Cause all of me
Loves all of you
Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections
Give your all to me
I’ll give my all to you
You’re my end and my beginning
Even when I lose I’m winning
‘Cause I give you all of me
And you give me all of you, oh

Polycystic kidney disease. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD or PCKD, also known as polycystic kidney syndrome) is a cystic genetic disorder of the kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is one of the most common life-threatening genetic diseases, affecting an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. PKD is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts (hence, “polycystic”) typically in both kidneys; however 17% of cases initially present with observable disease in one kidney, with most cases progressing to bilateral disease in adulthood. It’s not uncommon for people to have polycystic kidney disease for years without developing signs or symptoms and without knowing they have the disease. PKD was grouped under the causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Recent professional guidelines classify the severity of chronic kidney disease in five stages, with stage 1 being the mildest and usually causing few symptoms and stage 5 being a severe illness with poor life expectancy if untreated. Stage 5 CKD is often called end stage renal disease (ESRD), and that’s what’s written on the label that was hung on the side of her hospital bed.

It pains me to see her that way then, and it still pains to me now remembering it. Gone was the beautiful smile she always wore when we spend our time together. That cute and cheeky attitude was also flushed down the drain together with the medication prescribed to her as she throws out so frequently whenever she can’t hold it in anymore. I spend most of my time with her. Comforting her, try to have that crack of a laugh just a bit more so that all this pain doesn’t seem to much for her. At all time, I was always thinking about her. I pity her. Every day, she will say that she is sorry, and that she is truly thankful for me, indebted to me. I don’t want her to say that anymore to me. It adds a burden on my shoulder, but, I can’t say it to her. I can’t say no to her anymore.

Hamzah and I had a huge fight in the morning before her big operation. Hamzah insists that I have already forgotten him. That friend never leaves each other, side no matter what. I don’t have time to explain, I don’t want Hamzah to know about Insyirah illness. All I’m thinking that morning is that it is a big day for Insyirah and me. She had a donor. A donor whom only wish is nothing else but for the best of her. So that, the smile will never fade again. So that the time I could spend with her lengthen. So that we could realize the entire dream we draw together. That donor was me. The result to test if I compatible with her or not came back positive. I didn’t wish to tell her actually, but my euphoria causes my tongue to slip. I’m afraid that she will not accept it, but she smiled upon knowing it. She smiles the cutest smile I had ever seen her smile. I’m relieved.

I remember seeing Hamzah speed away on his motorbike after the fight. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will explain everything. After all, tomorrow would be the day where Insyirah will start getting better with her new kidney. I remember as spent my last hour before operation together with Insyirah beside her bed that my Samsung S4 rang so urgently. Me and Hamzah was really close buddies that we put each other as a contact person in case of emergency. That day, the call is for that reason. Hamzah involved in an accident. He is badly injured. He is in need of a kidney replacement and I’m listed as the person who is compatible with him. We already had it tested way back; after all we are close buddies. I cried in front of Insyirah. I didn’t know what to do. The two people closest to me in my heart were in need of a kidney. I can only give one. I remember having my head tucked in by Insyirah, and slowly she whispers.

“Thank you for everything, thank you for trying. I’m fine now. I will meet my parents after this. Save Hamzah. Your lives are indebted to him. I insist, I don’t want your kidney anymore. Let me have my rest.” She whispers so calmly.

I raised my head to see her face. Those words are like a storm suddenly raging in my heart. She smiles. Smile with a physique of determination.  I know that I can never change her mind when she put up that kind of smile. I don’t know what to say, all I could do is to look her in her eyes since I don’t know if I could ever see her again. She chooses the end road, a road where I couldn’t follow. She called for a doctor to cancel the operation on the ground that the patient was now refusing treatment. She gestured to me to say what I supposed to say. My lips didn’t move. How can I say it in front of her? It’s like announcing her death sentence, sealing her fate in the dark. Then, her lips moving, muttering words that I dreaded. It’s sealed, the appointment was made. I was escorted out of the operating room to be prepared for the operation, while Hamzah was on route rushed to the hospital where I was. Every minutes count, every seconds count. I gazed my last upon her before the door close.

She was sitting upright in her bed, with morning sunlight raining on her. The flower I got for her blossomed beside her bed. Calm, I remember feeling that her face was so calm. She quickly looked outside the window with a gaze that is too hard to interpret. She turns away her face from me, maybe to hide her tears. Her hand sits graciously on her lap. Winds occasionally blow her violet scarf, making it flows so beautifully. Her last picture I had in my mind.

The operation finished. I had some complication during my operation. For an unknown reason, I was in coma for 3 months. Doctor said, perhaps it was related to my mental state at that time. However, he was so relieved that I finally woke up. But, I didn’t want to wake up. Not like this. Not by knowing that she is no longer here, I didn’t have the chance to say a proper goodbye. I want to be beside her as she passed away. She had no family and relatives. I don’t want her to go by herself. Not by knowing that Hamzah was also already gone. Why didn’t he wait for me to wake up. Why didn’t he stay here for me like he used to. Quickly, I grab my phone and tried to call him. The number was already out of service. My heart sunk. Is there some deeper part of the earth than the Mariana’s Trench, because it felt like my heart sank deeper than that?

I learned to accept the fact that now I’m alone. It’s very hard to do. I find it hard to let anyone anymore to enter my heart. It’s so painful to be torn apart like that. I don’t want it to happen ever again. I don’t want my old scar that never heals to be opened up again. I became a loner in the vast sea of mankind. Years had passed since then. Hamzah is nowhere to be found. Here I am, sitting at the place where we had our first double date together. The restaurant that is the witness of my life journey unfolds. A journey which I still didn’t see the end. I reflected so many times here, it is part of me now. The only thing I love that never leaves me.

“Hey cute, cheeky little bastard”, suddenly someone said. I am startled by it. The voice sound so familiar. I turn my head around promptly. It was Hamzah. Holding his daughter, with his wife beside him. He smiled, but I can’t reply back. I’m too shocked by his sudden appearance. He promptly explains his sudden disappearance. He lost his number in the accident, and he was posted outstation in Germany for 4 years. He can’t come home until everything is settled there. He left me a note actually beside my bed, which I miss unnoticed. After all, I only woke up 1 month after his departure. It makes sense. I smiled.

Suddenly, I smelled Chanel No.5 perfume. My eyes seek for the source of that aroma. There she stood behind. She wears a purple purdah, covering her face, a matching hijab with nice toned design, with a long dress called jubah, black in color. Who is she, she gave this air like Insyirah did. Then, Hamzah introduced us.

“Meet Jannah, Nur Jannah Humairah.” Hamzah said.

“Hi”, was all I could utter. Will everything change with this new development; even I don’t have a speck of clue for what’s in the future. However, since now I’m not alone anymore, I will embrace everything. Maturely, with confidence and self-pride. Insyirah, I will never forget your sacrifice. I cherish everything I had with you, you are my first love. I will move on now, I’m sure that’s what you want. For me to be happy, as happy you are now with your parents, over there.

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