Dear Nina (1)

Hey there, Nina.

What’s it like in the USA?

*****

On the first day I met the girl, I knew right away my life was going to change.

Akhir 2013 bukanlah saat-saat paling menyenangkan dalam hidup saya. Saat itu, saya baru pulang dari Swiss, dan menyesuaikan kembali dengan ritme hidup di Indonesia. Ternyata susah bukan main. Saat itu, saya baru menyelesaikan kuliah S2 dan masih menunggu sampai ijazah resmi saya keluar. Ternyata hidup berlari kencang dan tidak menunggu. My friends were already in higher stages of their lives. Karir, keluarga, dan hal-hal lain yang mereka capai ketika saya tiada. Mereka sedang bergerak di dalam siklus hidup mereka, dan saya tidak termasuk di dalamnya.

Kosong, begitu perasaan saya ketika itu. Jobless. Penniless. Also always felt like I didn’t belong.

Then she came into my life. With a sincere friendly smile that she always cracks between those chubby cheeks.

Saat itu novelnya masuk shortlist sebuah ajang penghargaan. Berawal dari sebuah ucapan selamat yang saya sampaikan kepadanya di Twitter, kami akhirnya bersepakat untuk bertemu muka. Then, after a 3-hour warm conversation, we found ourselves dating. She touched my life, I touched hers.

Honestly, I didn’t have to let her in. She just banged on my door then waltz right into my heart.

She helped me through the jobless days until the start of my career was finally settled. Setelah itu, kami secara perlahan menyatukan lingkaran-lingkaran pertemanan kami. Tidak lupa, berbagi cerita-cerita masa lalu, baik yang menyenangkan maupun yang berusaha kami lupakan. Semua pengalaman lucu yang bersama-sama kami tertawakan maupun kisah-kisah tragis yang akhirnya membuat kami dewasa.

IMG_20150626_141815

After spending seconds, then minutes, then hours, days, weeks and months looking into those deep gray eyes of hers, I finally realized that there’s a hole in my heart she has been covering. Ruang-ruang di sela-sela jemari itu pun tak lagi kosong berkat genggaman yang selalu tak ingin lepas. Masa depan juga tak terasa terlalu menakutkan lagi dengan adanya seseorang yang ingin melangkah bersama.

*****

This is Nina’s first week living in the USA. Last Sunday, June 21st, 2015, those chubby cheeks were wet with tears as she said goodbye to me at the airport. All I could do was holding her close and telling as many comforting words as I can. From all the things I could say, my choice fell into these words:

Relax, have fun, and always be proud of yourself!”

I said that because I knew she earned the life that’s coming to her. She’s been working hard to secure the place at the University of Michigan. I also realized I will miss that familiar little smile, but I know she will come back with a million new stories to tell and colors to paint our lives.

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