“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”

Peter Golkin

You would wake up when the sun started to rise and the glistening light of the sun rays slipped in between your windows blind. You tossed around, stretched, and said: “Hi Google, Good Morning.” It would tell you about your day, the calendar was clear and the weather was perfect to ride a bike. Google would tell you about news from around the world, you heard the familiar voices of Michael Barbaro and the news of the uprisings in Chile, Hong Kong, and the climate crisis would make you sad but you would get out of bed anyway. The news ended and Google would play you your Discover Weekly songs, you heard one or two new songs that you’d like and you would play it for the rest of the month. You like thinking of yourself as an adventurer, but really, you’re one the most predictable person you’ve ever met – same routine, stubborn choices of movies, books, and music, even favorite coffee shops. 

You dragged yourself to the kitchen, heat up water from your gooseneck kettle and laid out your coffee equipment: filter, V60, coffee grind. You opened up a bag of new coffee beans from Papua that you just bought and took two spoons and grind it. You made sure that you turned off the kettle before it gets too hot, you learned to not burn your coffee by having the right temperature of the water. You cleaned up your filter, pour some warm water into it, tossed out the excess water and started to pour the freshly ground coffee from the Arfak Mountains to the filter. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled up the room and you can’t be happier. You were happy not only because of the coffee but because you were able to be happy for such a simple thing. You took out a jar of creamer, and a box of cold fresh milk – inside your head, you planned up things that you want to Google and read while sipping your cup of coffee and enjoy several cigarettes. 

 The coffee was ready, freshly brewed, you poured it slowly to a perfect-sized yellow-colored mug with a lion graphic and your name plastered in it “CHOS”. It was a gift from one of your past lover during your college years, a mug you treasured so much you brought it everywhere with you from Yogyakarta to Jakarta to Boston and back to Jakarta again. You know it wasn’t just about who gave it to you, but also the perfection of the mug itself, the lion whom you thought symbolize who you are as a Leo, and especially the size. You love coffee but your stomach won’t tolerate it, the mug was perfectly-sized, it wasn’t too big nor too small. It fits, the way the person who gave it to you fit the timeline of your life perfectly.

 

You headed out to the rooftop and sit comfortably while looking at the rising skyscrapers of SCBD in the background of Jakarta’s polluted sky. You were in awe by your love towards a city so corrupt, some people lost who they really are on the course of their lifetime in this city. You remembered your mother and sisters asking you where do you want to live, and you hesitantly said Jakarta. You were surprised by your own answers, in your head you said Yogyakarta. But can you really ever get out of Jakarta? At least for a while, you thought. Weren’t you thought you’ll end up somewhere far? At least that’s what the only mole underneath your knees said – someone with a mole on their feet, will end up living far away from their hometown. The thought of settling down in a suburb somewhere in the United States of America crossed your mind, you would love it, you just need to find someone who wants to settle down with you. But then you thought on just how much in love you are with all the people in your life, all of them scattered in Jakarta, Balikpapan, and Surabaya, and you thought you can’t have the best of both worlds. The thought of the future kicks the anxiety in. You took a deep breath and reached for your phone, opened up Feedly and decided to read the news. 

You learned about new productivity apps, new smart wearables, someone partying with the fizzy communist, how to insult your enemies more effectively, and a bunch of must-own Nintendo Switch games under 16$. You stored all those informations on your mind, these trivial informations that you’d like to dig up so much, would always come in handy when you’re conversing. You thought about how as a repressed introvert, you’re actually a good conversationalist and you love that fact about you.

The clock hits 9 AM and you went back to your room, you changed into a sportswear – shorts, t-shirt, sport shoes. You remembered how you used to hate dressing up like that, you were so uptight about everything that you refused to went out with shorts and t-shirts and sandals or sport shoes. You guessed that America changed you, but maybe nothing change you, you decided to change yourself. You grabbed your helmet and put your laptop inside your backpack and headed outside to your bike.

There’s something about biking, or just moving in general, that you truly love. You love the feeling of being in control of your bike, the way the cool wind blows your hair, and the sting from the tropical sun. You rode your bike to nearest coffee shop, ordered a full American breakfast, and another cup of coffee. You sat down, open your laptop, and began to read again. Sometimes you would write, but you would stop as another wave of anxiety kicks in. You love writing and yet you are always critical about your writing, nothing is ever good enough for you and it bottles up into a self-loathing when you saw other people’s writing and thought to yourself: “Hey, I could definitely write better than that.”

When the sun moves right above your head, you headed home, took a shower, wash your hair, put on a lotion, make sure you sprayed every inch of your body with perfume and meticulously choose your outfit. You love looking like you’re about to go for a meeting: preppy and formal, with a hint of casual. You would combine collared shirt, blazer, pants, with a baseball hat, or sneakers.

You would head out to Post in Pasar Santa, sometimes you would buy books, only to end up in your nightstand for months without you reading it. Sometimes you would just hang out, you love the coffee there, the laidback atmosphere, and the companions you meet in Post – you always think that people who loves to read, are the best kind of people. You would stay until late, sometimes you’ll have dinner, sometimes you’re too exhausted for it, but either way, you would be happy. Coffee, books, the outdoor, meaningful conversation, those are your perfect day.

We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.

– Ernest Hemingway

Alternate timeline, or universe.

You would always wake up earlier than her. You used to sleep really late at night – anxiety, insecurity, and bad thoughts filled your head and you wouldn’t be able to wake up in the morning. You were always late to the office, and your commute to the office were always filled with random bouts of panic attacks. But now you would wake up earlier than her, you would kiss her forehead, caressed her wavy hair, and pinched her soft cheeks. You would continue to bother her until she woke up, or sometimes you would quietly leave the room and made yourself a coffee, because you need your alone time. That morning, you wanted her to wake up together with you.

She would make an annoyed sound. Half-asleep, she would drag you back to bed and you would clung yourself to her. You never really like how warm her body can be, you would feel suffocated at night and put a pillow between you and her. She would make a fuss about it, she thought you distanced yourself from her. The truth was, you did try to distance yourself, not only from her, but from almost everyone. Sometimes when she’s still asleep and you already woke up, you would study every inch of her face – her round nose, unruly eyebrows, soft cheeks, wavy hair. You thought she looked like a bear, a really soft one that you’d like to cuddle all day long. You would be overwhelmed by fear, fear of loving someone too much, fear of knowing that one day, she would eventually realized you’ve treated her like shit and she definitely didn’t deserve you. Sometimes she would wake up and found you crying, she thought you were crying about your past lover – the one you left for her, but you weren’t. You were always crying about her, you were always crying about how unfair it was to be loved by someone this much and not being able to return it.

You let her think that you were crying about your past lover.

But that day was a perfect day, your favorite way to spend the day. She’d wake up and offered to make breakfast, you would say yes because you like to be treated like a king, and she loved to take care of you. While she made breakfast, you would snuggle in bed, sometimes you’d play your Playstation, sometimes you went back to sleep.

When the breakfast is ready, you let her scooped up the foods to your plate. You thanked her, maybe she didn’t hear it, you know you’re appreciative and affectionate, but those are the sides of you that seems foreign to her. Your fear always bring the worst side of you and you feel sorry for her, for you, and for the fact that both of you are always in a wrong timeline.

She would ask you where’d you want to go, she would say: “let’s be productive”. That’s how your day always went with her, in a coffee shop, sitting across from each other, she would always be in her laptop, doing things, because she’s always doing things – you tried to recall the time when she’s resting – just with books, or just simply having a cup of coffee, but you can’t recall that time – she was always on the verge of moving and doing something. You love that about her, the energy to do things, even when she’s tired and sad and in depression.

Sometimes she would stopped typing in her laptop and asked you questions.

How do I this? How do I do that? Do you know about this topic? What do you think about this?

You’re opinionated, and you love how she always ask for your opinions.

You took the 7 train from Jackson Heights to Long Island City, you’d hop off at Vernon Boulevard and walked to Black Star Bakery. She told you about this place, she loved it here, whatever place that she loved, you’d love it too.

You would spend hours in a coffee shop with her, until she’s hungry, you’re never hungry, you don’t appreciate food the way she does. You eat just about everything, sometimes you’d get into an argument over choice of foods or restaurant. You hate how she sulks over bad foods, you hate when she’s sulking in general.

Just when the sun about sets, you left the coffee shop and walked to Gantry Park. You marvelled at the sight of Manhattan when the sun is setting and the lights of Manhattan glimmered up. Chrysler and MP looked elegant from the distance, you felt small in New York, another lost and lonely soul in the concrete jungle. You found it funny how you think of New York as your home. It never was, no matter how knowledgeable you are about the train routes, how you hate Times Square the way New Yorkers do, and how you walk very fast with an annoyed face in the roads of Manhattan.

At night, you would probably went back to Jackson Heights and eat Thai foods or Korean foods, bought some wine or soju and headed back to her home. The street of Jackson Heights were starting to get quiet, but your stomach is full, your heart is warm, and you were holding her hands – and you would be happy, for wherever you are in the world, as long as you’re holding your hand you know the world is such a beautiful place to live in.

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