Category Archives: One Shot Story

Looking for Odawara

I had been examining you for several minutes.

You’re different than the other students, even though you were wearing the same uniform. I sensed serenity, peace, quietness, and an unexplainable attraction (of course) maybe subjectively just to me. You were listening to music on your Beatbox headphones, I wondered what could it be? Was it Hanaregumi – the musician I just knew from the music playlist provided in my previous flight? I loved it even though I had no idea what the lyrics meant.

I was on my way back to Odawara after visiting Gotemba. I was by myself, my family chose to visit Lake Kawaguchi-ko which I wasn’t interested in. I tried to focus on my own itenerary but you kept distracting me, well… it wasn’t your fault anyway. But then suddenly I realized, “has the train passed the station?”

I stood up from my seat, fell my paperback of Fauchon (a bakery I bought for my Lunch from Gotemba) and my bag. I screamed a little and got my stuffs back to my seat in a better position. I walked to the door to see where the train was right now, but then I realized everything was written in Japanese. I didn’t panic because I knew Japan’s tranportation was very advanced I just needed to take another train if I had missed the station. My only worry was I had a very tight schedule about what I wanted to visit in Odawara and it’s half past day already!

Okay, so I sat back to my seat and decided to ask a female high schooler sitting next to me (actually she sat on the most right side of the seat and I was on the most left so I dragged myself to sit next to her first) about it. She was wearing earphones, I tried calling her several times, “Sumimasen, sumimasen…” But she seemed can’t hear me. And with hesitation whether it’s polite or not, I lightly poked her with my index finger. She was surprised a little but took off her earphones, I said again, “Sumimasen…” She nooded with welcomeness and a smile, something that you would 99% get from asking a Japanese local about your confusion.

I tried to ask her with a very simple English, “Sumimasen, I want to stop at Odawara station.”

She nodded but seemed not fully understand what I was trying to ask.

“Have we passed it?” Okay, this might not be a simple English for her.

She looked confused. I tried to rephrase my question, “How many more stations?”

She got even more confused. I also had lost idea about how to ask her in another way but showing a Google Translation to her. She nodded with understanding and tried to tell me about it but having a hard time, she scratched her head, I felt guilty to make her put so much effort to help me. Then I gave my phone to her and gestured for her to write it down for me, she nodded again, and upon receiving my phone she again got another confusion. I realized a second later, I didn’t install Japanese characters in my phone.

At the same time, a little bump happened and once again my belogings fell to the floor. I made another scream and sigh because of that. I decided to told her before I picked my stuffs back, “It’s okay, don’t worry. Thank you. Arigato.” And decided to find another way to see whether I had missed the station or not.

“Go down at Kozu Station.” Just at the moment I wanted to turn back to my seat, you were already standing there with my stuffs on your hand. Your headphone hanged on your neck like a necklace. You put back my stuffs to the seat. I got speechless for a moment before I can respond. “Sumimasen?” The only Japanese word I am confidently can speak.

“You need to transit at Kozu Station to go to Odawara station.” You explained more. And I just remembered that I happened to be at Kozu Station too before getting to Gotemba Station.

I smiled and gave my gratitude, “Ahhh… thank you. Arigato.” You nodded and smiled back to me but kept standing there. I didn’t understand what you’re doing when you looked at me and said, “Now.”

“What?”

“Kozu Station is now.” Your English is quite good compared to even other older Japanese. So I don’t mind the grammar. I mean, mine is not perfect as well!

And one side of the door opened and I realized that we have arrived at the Kozu Station. I didn’t know why, but I hurried myself, I picked up my stuff and thanked you again before rushing out from the train even though it gave enough time even if I got off by slow walking. Maybe it’s not the train but… the nervousness of speaking with you!

After getting on my feet on the Kozu station, I tried to forget you and focused myself to find where I should wait for the train to Odawara. I found it without any problems. The queue is not crowded and I got excited that it went well… but then I realized I didn’t have my phone with me. I checked here and there, it’s not in my bag nor my pockets. I must have left it on the seat! Now, I panic! How was I supposed to contact my family now?

“Excuse me, you left your phone.” I heard a familiar voice from my back.

It was you with a giving hand with my phone on it. I felt so relieved I almost cried. I thanked you with repetition until I guessed you found it annoying. And you cut my thanking, “Odawara train is now.” I looked back again and the train’s door was opened, people already got inside. You continued your word, “Let’s go.”

I reacted automatically with, “Okay.” and moved to the train. Feeling relieved and confounded by the things just happened. It took me around 3 minutes before asking, “Are you going to Odawara too?” You stood next to me, all the seats were already taken.

You nodded slowly. Standing right beside you made me realize that we’re on the same height, well… you’re taller just a little even though I was older around 2 or 3 years, I guessed.

“You lived in Odawara?” I asked

“No.”

“Oh… okay, are you visiting a friend?”

“No, no friends in Odawara.”

“So, why are you going to Odawara?”

You took some seconds before answering, “Help you?”

I became speechless once more. I already heard about Japanese friendliness in helping tourists, but seriously? I felt so burdened and guilty, you probably needed to do something else.

“Oh my, no… no… it’s okay. I can go by myself. Thank you but you don’t need too-” I tried to explain, even though I was not sure if you’d understand.

“You need.” You showed a smirk, a really lovely smirk. “You are clumsy.”

“What?” I pointed at myself, “Me? Clumsy? No. No. No. No. I am fine by myself.” My pride hurt a bit, I always thought that I was quite independent especially in travelling. You smirked even more seeing my response, now with a chuckle on it, you seemed amused.

“It’s okay, I want to visit Odawara too.” You stopped my blabbering of rejection of your assistance with a smile so warm and sweet. And your next words made me had an unexplainable feeling on my tummy and chest, “You don’t want to be with me?”

You must have used the wrong sentence. You must have.

I took a deep breath to calm myself down. I needed to keep my cool. I nodded, “I want.”

And the both of us showed “okay” smiles together. And it felt like we’d been old classmates. Especially because your English is pretty good, communication was pretty smooth. I asked about the music you’re hearing, you let me hear it a moment before I decided that I didn’t like it. It’s Japanese Rock genre which was not my cup of tone. You asked me where I came from, and I blurted out with uncensored mockery about it compared to Japan which was like a pool of fresh water vs. whatever the opposite was. But you somehow seemed interested in it. Especially when I said, “It felt like you’re living in a primitive era. No rules. Nothing is truly organized. It’s a messy place and people can be messy and no one can really blame you.”

Then, we arrived at Odawara. I told you the only place I wanted to visit was the Miyukinohama beach in Odawara, I was so curious about the beach in Japan which I haven’t visited. But then you put more into our schedule. We walked into a street decorated with many pink balloons in shape of the sakura flower on our way to the beach. We took time visiting the Odawara Castle for a moment. We had snacks on some food stalls. We bought a 300 Yen transparent plastic umbrella because it was so cheap I couldn’t help it. I didn’t really remember the other attractions we visited, but the Miyukinohama beach. It took us almost 20 minutes by foot. It’s already dusk, we followed the direction from Google Map. It took us to a really quiet place before we arrived.

The Miyukinohama beach is on the edge of the island (of course), it was located after a bridge or some railways that looked like a wall on as its gate. Upon arriving we’re really surprised by the view of it. It has nothing but the sand, the wave, the already darkened sky and the both of us. No one else was there.

I was not expecting this, I thought it would be amazing. I feel ashamed that I had wasted your time to get to this place. It was really stupid.

I looked at you and with a ready apologize, but before I could utter it. You screamed loudly to Leo’s words in Titanic, “I am the king of the world!” with a brave smile. You looked so happy and free. It showed me your side of wildness and youth. I wondered what’s more of you, but the day was ending and also our togetherness. I was losing time.

“What you call ‘this’ in your language?” You asked, circling both of your hands to around us.

“This? Pantai?”

“Empty is pang-tai?”

“Ah, no… pantai is beach. Empty is kosong. Hampa.”

“Ko-song? Ham-e-pa?”

“Yes, ham-e-pa.” I loved your Japanese accent so much.

And we spent some time at the Ham-e-pa Beach. Looking at the lonely waves. It was literally just the both of us. But I didn’t feel lonely at all. I looked at my phone for a moment and replied to my family’s message telling them I was doing fine in Odawara. Actually, I was doing more than fine! I wondered if you felt the same, but there’re questions we’re not supposed to ask. Because some answers may be considered as promises. And promises could be a threat.

It was a long and poignant silence before the words slipped out from my mouth, “Let’s go.”

“Where?” You asked, still enjoying the beach. It’s almost 9 and my hotel is in Tokyo. It’d be almost 12 if I didn’t get back now.

I couldn’t reply that, because the answer meant our separation.

“Thank you.” You suddenly said that. “How do you say it in your language?”

“Terima kasih.”

“Te-ri-ma ka-si?” You repeated after me.

“Hai!” I used the “yes” in Japanese.

You smiled and looked at me deeply before you repeated once more, “Te-ri-ma ka-si!”

“Sama-sama” I replied, even though I didn’t understand. I should be the one who thanked you. Your help. Your time. You.

“Sama-sama.” You repeated that word with the correct pronounciation.

Another silence. Probably around 10 seconds before you broke it with, “Let’s go.”

Now I’m the one who’s asking, “Where?”

You stopped to think for awhile before giving out the answer, “Odawara Station?”

And we left the Ham-e-pa Beach, walking another 20 minutes to the station. I opened the umbrella we bought on the road even though it wasn’t raining for fun. The wind blew so hard I couldn’t hold the umbrella properly so I decided to close it back. But then you opened it back for me and showed me the right way to hold the umbrella when the wind was blowing hard.

Strangely, 20 minutes ended so fast. We arrived at the station quicker than I wished it to be. And the train also arrived faster than I expected it to be. They all meant the same. Goodbye.

But I’m against it! This won’t be a goodbye, this would be “see you again”. I braved myself, “Hey, let’s visit Hakone next year. I will be back to Japan. Let’s visit Hakone. Together.”

I could hear the train announcement calling from every angle. You didn’t answer me right away. I could see hesitation. I was right, you shook your head and said, “No.”

I became speechless. This was indeed a goodbye.

“I want to visit the primitive era. Not Hakone. Can I?” You asked.

I deleted goodbye from my head. I smiled so wide, I almost hugged you. “Of course. Yes. To the primitive era. When?”

“Next year? Today?” You meant around these dates.

“Sure. Yes. I will show you around.” The train passed. I felt glad. I have more moment before another train arrived.

But another train arrived in an instant.

“See you again.” I said, moving inside the train. “Sampai jumpa.”

“Sen-pai jum-e-pa?” You repeated with hesitation.

I nodded and waved my hand to you. You waved back. The train’s door closed. But I knew it’s not a goodbye. I would meet you again next year in my country. But how? When? I didn’t know.

Wait! I didn’t you know your name, your contact number, I didn’t know anything. I panicked and got off at the next station and took another train back to Odawara station. But I couldn’t find you anywhere. I looked around in despair but there’s no clue about you. You must had been gone, I gave up and took the train to Tokyo with regrets. I should have asked more about your basic personal details in the beginning. Your name. Your phone number. Anything.

I checked on my phone to see the time. It’s almost 11 pm. I messaged my family that I’d be late before I put my phone back into my pocket. And then, it’s when I realized there’s a small paper inside of it. I didn’t remember I had any paper with me. It was a plain white paper with writings in it.

“Ohayo clumsy, why you don’t ask about my name and phone number? You should send me a message saying sorry. Here’s my number and email.”

And on the back of the paper was what I needed the most to connect with you! And a bonus of big big words of “SEE YOU AGAIN!” highlighted on it.

*Inspired by true story

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The Day After Yesterday

For me, nothing’s better than an event when two people meet to open a story.

Because a meeting opens up a lot of opportunities,

I mean, have you ever heard of the many worlds theory by Hugh Everett III or Schrödinger’s cat? Yup, exactly my point. And yes, guess what… that’s precisely how this starts.

A snow, countable. Two leaves.

And us. In an almost fancy restaurant.

We meet. Under a tree.

I remember the day, it is the day after yesterday. You know, a more beautiful way to say, today. I reckon birds. Three are colorless. Two are of rainbow feathers. The rests are featherless.

Contrast.

In every respect. Like you and me.

I am always prepared about things. You are spontaneous. I calculate things. You don’t. I prefer healthy food. You eat recklessly. And I often get mad about that, because those food you eat could make you ill.

And when you are sick, I feel sad.

And I don’t like being sad. Especially if it’s because of you.

I also hate to sweat and be in a hot place, but you are not, you actually like it for reasons I can’t process.  I am short tempered. And you are freaking patient. I just don’t get it, how could you be that chilly.We are different in almost everything but one, you love me. And I love you too.

That’s… most probably the only thing we have in common.

And, I dare to bet on it.

Yup, like I said before, everything happens the day after yesterday. Under half light and half darkness. I can recall, we are having dinner, you have your large portion of sirloin steak and fries-such a weird and unhealthy menu-while I am eating my salad, chewing slices of tomato, lettuce, and tomato. Then, abruptly, you show me a shiny little rock embedded on a circular shaped thing. It is a ring.

And suddenly there’re also flowers. Smells good, like Baby’s Breath, or Azalea, or both, or I actually don’t really know. After that you don’t ask anything, neither do I. You softly pinch my cheek. I blush. You smile. The time stopped. We enter the eternity.

We converse using our eyes.

And, (I’m blushing even more now) lips.

The ring is now a part of me, as a symbol that two things so damn different, could join together. Though we will fight, and we will probably scream at each other (or it’ll just me who will do and you will just suffer for it, hmm… so much for being patient).

I know we will survive. Because I love you, and you love me.

And nothing could break love.

And I have a fat faith that we won’t ever do nothing. So, that nothing won’t stand a chance to come between us. Now, although it happens the day after yesterday, the today of a long time ago. Funny, it’s still so fresh in my head.

The snow, the birds, the ring, your sirloin steak, my salad. Us.

And love.

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Love Is Like The Rain

Do you remember how we met? It was the heaviest rain ever, but the both of us were feeling the same drought, inside. So we decided to play this game. A game we believed could grow an oasis for the both of us.

Yes, we pretended to fall in love with each other…

It was at an old library. I saw books, all written with the nonetheless ink of blood. Of course, not literally.

Dust on the corner of the unreachable shelf, and the shadow behind the darkest wooden chair. Those were us. Plain to hurtful, none of us could move from the sad position we’re set on.

What were we doing? What were you doing? What was I doing? Are these even the right questions for the situation? I can’t even tell. Can I?

Well, I don’t think so, and if by any chance I could read mind, I would say you’re on the same side with me. But, even with that logic, we managed to act well for the role, a lover.

I guess we really had at least something for each other, or we were just too crestfallen

The petrichor filled the air, and while added by the smell of decaying books, it was a sedative. But it’s not poisonous, no, of course no compared to the risk we’re taking from getting into this game.

Next, to be concise, we passed the day, that rainy-phony day. And I must say it’s not bad, we’re having such a great fun. We talked about a lot of things and we listened to each other.

We were connected.

But there’s a problem. On the next day, we both felt lost. We didn’t feel the same anymore with each other. I bet you felt the same.

So, we decided to go back to the library. We tried to find something we thought we accidentally dropped there. But we found nothing.

By the coming of the night and another heavy rain, we gave up. No, we didn’t give up on each other,

We gave up on lying to ourselves and put an end to this silly game…

We didn’t just abruptly leave each other after we realized that ending. We chose to stay at the library first, enjoying the truth. Actually, we didn’t even feel wounded, maybe it’s because we know that love was never there for us. So, we searched for some books to finish the night. But rather than reading, I was writing my thought on a blank paper inside a random book. ,

love… is like the rain.

You can’t say it is raining,
if there’s only a drop of water falling from the sky…

Yes, you can’t say it is love,
if there’s only a day you feel so…

It should be countless

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Close Too Far

Dear my heart,

do you remember the time when we used to walk home together, or to sit down on a lazy bench while we’re on a school break? Do you still remember the time you talked about how boring mrs. Lee’s teaching is?

“I think she has picked the wrong job.” You said.

“You think so?” I responded.

“Yeah, she’ll better be an insomniac therapist. She’s just lullabizing. And that suits her best.”

And we laughed our ass off. You know what? I really miss that time, especially the sound you made when you laughed.

And I hope you haven’t forgotten this one too.

Usually, after the school bell rang, you ran to your class, I ran to mine. But before I got into my class, I turned back my head to see you once again. I found you did the same silly thing.

Weird, isn’t it? I always think that it wasn’t a coincidence, was it? Now, I really wish when I turned back my head, you’re still there. But you can’t. Not anymore.

And, oh… do you remember how we used to walk home together? Do you want me to tell you what’s the coolest thing about it? Here it is!

We didn’t hold each other’s hand, but I felt like we’re connected, closer, tighter, and deeper than how the skin interactions can make.

Did you feel the same?

I hope so. I really hope so, because frankly I must say that I still feel the same, now, even when you are already… gone.

I miss you a lot. And it kills me inside. I just really miss you. Every memory I have about you, strikes me brutally, constantly.

Like on one day, I suddenly remember the reminiscence when we were in college, we walked home together. I always wonder if you know that I purposely walked slower? Made my steps shorter so I could spend more time with you? At times, I’d look at you, admire how beautiful you were, and enjoy making you upset by letting you walk in those new shoes you just bought that bruised your foot.

“Don’t wear them if they hurt.” I said, worried about your foot.

“I can’t, I look good in these.”

“You look good in anything, silly, and when you’re wearing nothing on your foot.”

And your upset face turned absurd. A priceless expression I must say. And I laughed while remembering it, but tears keep flowing out from my eyes at the same time. I must have been crazed out by you. Or the memories of you.

Damn it. Damn it.

I really miss you.

I hope I can do those memories once again, or better to make new ones. But this wish I am having is not realistic. I really hope so. But I know it won’t come true. I’ve lost my chance. You’re married now, your childern are having different father, yeah, I’ve lost my chance. And I really regret it.

I supposed to tell you before you’re this far, yet close to me. Now, it’s impossible to say the thing I always wanted to tell you. I lost my chance, but you know what?

“Trust me, I still love you. Inside, outside, all-side.”

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The Familiar Stranger

It was a very common morning. Anonym woke up at 07.15, gathered some spirit before he could actually get up from the bed and thus really awakened at 07.21. First thing he did was to check on his Blackberry to find if there’s important message sent to him. And after that he went downstair and prepared to take his breakfast, but because that day he had none, he took a glass of oatmeals instead.

The next routine was to take a bath. It was his therapy and therefore always took more time than any other activities he does every weekdays. When it was done, he then went out to work, on foot. It took him approximately 5 minutes to reach the spot where he needed to wait for Bemo (a public transportation originated from India, can bring 8 people, three-wheeled and very shaky). Fortunately, that day he needed not to wait too long, before it consumed 5 minutes, the bemo had arrived sound and safe.

Anonym took his step and entered that ‘everyday’ carrier, yeah, very ‘routine’. Like usual, anonym had his mind flying everywhere all the way to his office. But on that day, an almost fallen tree chucked out his mind-journey—–well, that, or what’s the Bemo driver spoke in that scene.

“Scary how a tree could fall down like that, isn’t it?” asked the driver.

“Yeah, it is,” replied anonym.

It was truly near to the end destination of the bemo (before he took another public transportation named Transjakarta) before the driver asked another question.

“So, how is it? Have you got yourself a job already?” The driver probably didn’t know, but that question deeply moved anonym who in that instant also realized that several months ago, it was the same driver who drove him to his job interview before he got the job he was having now.

“Yes, I have.”

“Oh, that’s great!”

“Not really, what’s great is the fact that you by any chance still able to remember me.”

“That’s not something big, i remember all my passengers. And you’re one of them.”

“That’s just…” anonym couldn’t find the right words to express his excitement when he realized more that the shirt he was wearing was the same as what he wore on that day he had his interview.

“I remember everyone, i remember everyone,” he said again, repetitive. Anonym could see his wrinkled face formed a smile. He is friendly and such a nice man, thought anonymous, and he is only become a Bemo driver? That’s so unfair.

Okay, please stop here.” Anonym knew he had arrived to where he needed to take another ride.

“Yes, thank you,” the driver spoke while taking the money anonym gave him.

“See you again,” said anonym tried to be as warm as possible. And separation must occur.

Then, after that, anonym continued his ‘routine’-which on that day felt more different because of the encounter with the driver. All along the way, the thoughts about the driver couldn’t go away from anonym’s mind. All the ‘how could’, ‘why’, ‘what if’, and stuffs played in that small area in his brain. He remembered how he had just had a quarrel with his brother last night over a stupid problem, about how he regreted over the job he choose, about when the last time he had a conversation with a driver, about why God isn’t fair and let nice people on a lower position and rude people to become bosses, about how irrelevant all of his thoughts and the meeting with the driver was. Yeah, all of them. Even, writing it felt so complicated.

But, though it’s weird, it’s true. And even it seemed trivia, on the other side felt so important.

How many percent of chance you can coincidentally meet someone on your way to work, and he is actually the driver of your public transportation, and you are sitting in the front beside him, you found out that he was the same driver you met several months ago on your way to a job interview, you were wearing the same shirt, he remembered you, and after the work is finished, you went home, took another ride, and you meet the same person and feel connected to him?

Coincidental, or, God is trying to tell you something?

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