Like Salt and Onions (Part 1)

Cerpen Karangan:
Kategori: Cerpen Bahasa Inggris
Lolos moderasi pada: 23 April 2018

Once, my parents told me, “This world is full of mystery, my daughter. About love, we never know who the one that has been fated to be with us for the rest of our life. That person might be far away from where we are right now, but also could be so close. No mater what, if both of you are meant to be, there will be always a way. Like salt and onions. They are far away in the beginning, but ended up together inside a bowl.”

I was giggled at that time. For a teenage me, that kind of advice was nonsense. I thought, “It’s impossible! They want a country girl like me to have a husband from America or Europe? Is that what they mean by telling that?”

So, for years, I just kept that advice as a joke, nothing important.

Well, years later, after I passed my nursing diploma and bachelor with so much ups and downs, I had a chance to be a transfer student in a country that I had dreamed for long. I had been waiting a chance where I could smell the fragrance of cherry blossoms directly under its tree by my own hands, and see the orange sky of spring on the top of a hill. Also, it would be nice too, for having a small portion of sushi made by a chef of its hometown.

However, I never thought that I would have such a tremendous love story.

One spring morning, I was having a walk in the town park. Trying to runaway from my crazy daily activities as a transfer nursing student for a while was all that I wanted. The weather was perfect. Fresh breeze was flowing under the Sunday morning clear blue sky, illuminated by the bright morning sun. Pink petals of Cherry Blossoms completed the beautiful spring, and they didn’t stop falling as I walked under.

I was just accompanied by a glass of green tea milkshake. Simply, I was alone. While most of my strange friends were occupied in their side jobs, I traveled the town by myself and tried to learn more about the land I was in. I didn’t really care with the odd stares of people passing me through. The wide headscarf and cloak in dark color might frighten them, made them think whether I was a terrorist. However, as long as we weren’t harming each other, I thought it would be fine.

Nevertheless, I felt a little envious too, after I saw most of the people were coupled.

Undeniably, they were couples. Lover couples. Their young faces and fresh fashions showed me. In another meaning, I was walking inside a wrong place. Yeah…

I lifted my shoulder as I thought that I might be the only single person. Pretty sad, though… But, I didn’t really make it as a burden. I wasn’t ready to get married yet. My study weren’t done. So… Having a man by my side wasn’t my priority for that time.

And Indeed, I’m not completely ready for it right now.

Back to my story, carelessly I walked through the dozens lovers and tried to focus on anything else. I loved the colorful flowers on the ground. I liked catching the falling Cherry Blossoms. I enjoyed smiling to new people that I passed over, and it was funny to learn their face structure. Narrow eyes, tan skin, flat nose, oval face, and some otaku with their glasses. Their faces were truly something new for me…

Except for the one with square jaw that passed me just a moment before…

I stopped my steps in a second with a little shock. All of sudden, my memories jumped back to years ago, where I was used to seeing the face that I met just moments before. Short height, white face, glassed eyes, short hair, flat nose, wide eyeballs, square jaw, and fast foot steps… They were all so familiar.

“Excuse me, Ma’am!”

A voice strictly woke me up. To the more, it hit my memory. It wasn’t a strange face. It was a loud tenor voice which sent a message into my mind in instance.

“Impossible!” my head shouted. “But, I would never know until I turn back!”

Shortly, I turned my back. And, just as I thought, my heart skipped a beat after I saw that man. My jaws are dropped. In fact, he wasn’t a strange man after all. He was a familiar fair short man with glasses on his eyes, dressed up in grey trousers with short sleeve and black jeans. And he was also staring back at me, with his eyes widened in shock. Unconsciously, I almost smashed my milkshake glass as he pointed his finger.

“Aliyah…” he called my name, and his mouth widely opened. “Aliyah! Is that you?!”

I choked. A great thump hit my chest instantly as I heard him calling my name. The random situation that I felt made my body freeze. After years, he still remembered me. And in such a strange place, we met again. I didn’t have anything to say.

Feeling in need of answer, he walked toward me with his fast steps, and then stopped a couple steps after my face. I felt a greater thump as he stood in front of me. His sparkling eyes almost brought me to my tears.

“I’m sorry, but… You’re Aliyah, right?” he said to me in a soft voice. His excitement was drawn clearly in his face.

Quickly, I covered my mouth with my hand to hide my dropped jaw. I nodded my head as the answer. I wasn’t able to talk. Slightly but real, I felt something poured out of my heart. A huge longing feeling transformed into a gigantic joy as I saw him smiling widely. For instance, I had got something that I lost for a long time in my loneliness.

“My God…” he gasped, and shortly his laughter of joy broke the ice. “Really? We meet again?! In this place?! This isn’t a dream, right?!”

Uncontrollably, my laughter fell out. My free hand hit his chest hardly. He stared at me in shock. And moments later, we laughed together. At that time, I felt a single drop of tears falling down through my cheek. It was tears of joy, and great gratitude. That moment was felt like a dream came true.

Times later, we went together to a halal shop nearby. He was a newcomer in this country, so he needed my help to show the way to reach there. All the way, he couldn’t stop mourning that our meeting was gigantic, and I kept hitting his arm for that.

“All this time, I think that you’re in somewhere in our country, working as a nurse in our country boundary,” he said as we sat together in a bench under the cherry blossoms.

“And I think you’re in a boat now, sailing the oceans,” I replied with a small laugh.

“So, how long we don’t see each other?” he asked.

“About 7 years, maybe,” I answered.

“That’s quite long,” he murmured.

“What were you doing in that time?” I asked.

“As you see,” he answered, and then sighed. “I worked in a hospital in our district for 3 years. And then, I took a bachelor for two years, worked again for two years in another hospital while having english course for a year, and now I’m here next to you.”

“Oh wow…” I sighed as he finished. His story was mesmerizing me, though.
“You didn’t go back to the sea?”

“No, I didn’t…” he said. The light in his eyes suddenly went low. “Since my father died, I thought that it would be better to have a job nearby my family. My mother was so sad at that time, and my younger sister had to stay in her boarding school. So, you can see. I was the only hope.”

“Ah,” I choked. “I’m sorry to hear that. I never know that your dad had died.”

“No problem…” he said with a bitter smile. His face looked down to his feet. “He was a strong man, though. And maybe, our God didn’t want to see him suffering any longer.”

I was speechless for a while. I recalled the time when he told me about his diabetic father. The last that I remembered was the illness had taken his sight.

“It’s hard to lost someone that we love,” I said and touched his shoulder, trying my best to shake off his sorrow. “I know how it feels. However, let’s pray that your father rests in peace inside His heaven.”

“Aamiin,” he wished. His smile got better, and then he stared at me. “Thank you so much.”

“Don’t mention that,” I said as I took my hand back. I smiled back at him, felt quite relieved that finally he wasn’t as blue as before.

“And then, about you…” he quickly change the topic and set a new atmosphere. “You told me that you want to be a nurse in our country boundaries… but now, you’re here. What had happened?”

I laughed sarcastically at his question. I couldn’t believe he remembered about me telling him that kind of dream in the past.

“Well, my parents didn’t let me,” I said sourly.

“That makes sense,” he mocked. “They won’t let a virgin girl like you to go to that kind of place.”

I smirked at his comment, and he laughed joyfully to see my sour face.

“But, seriously,” he said after stopped laughing. “You also told me that you want to go somewhere in Europe or Australia, but… Why here?”

“Yeah,” I sighed, then leaned my back to the bench and looked up to the tree branches upon me. “It was my dream, but I thought Japan is more interesting.”

“Just that?!” he asked loudly.

I looked at him, and then grinned as the answer.

“You are really something…” he said as he shook his head. “You aren’t changing, you know?”

“What do you mean?” I asked, truly had no idea what he was talking about.

“Yes, you are still as same as Aliyah that I know,” he answered. “You’re funny, yet unpredictable.”

I stared at him in an empty state. I couldn’t get what he meant by ‘unpredictable’. Getting me like that, he sighed, and leaned to the bench just like me.

“Unpredictable is…” he said softly while looked up to the sky. “I couldn’t differentiate whether you are just like what I thought or… different…”

I stayed quiet. I had no idea what he was saying.

“Do you remember our last meeting, that evening after my graduation ceremony,” he spoke again. “I remember the time when you walked away, with your violin on your back…”

I was still quiet. I saw his eyes, and I could see that his memory were running back. A thin smile was drawn on his lips, signaling that it was a melancholy thing to remember. I hate to say this, but I did know what he recalled, and I vividly remembered that.

Cerpen Karangan: Lisa T
Facebook: facebook.com/lisa.suryani.21
An amateur story writer in scattered mind while trying to focus on what she tries to achieve

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