Apakah merayakan sesuatu harus terpaku pada ulangan tahun?
Pertanyaan ini muncul di benak saya waktu saya melihat status Facebook teman lama. Isinya singkat saja: “Finally, it’s 12.5th anniversary! Woo hoo!”
Tentu saja status tersebut diikuti ucapan selamat, hampir semua ucapan tersebut diiringi pertanyaan, “What does it mean?” Lebih banyak lagi yang hanya mengklik tanda hati, senyum, “wow”, seperti saya.
Kebetulan saya ‘harus’ melihat status tersebut, karena kami hendak bertemu. Pertemuan yang istimewa, karena dia adalah teman dekat saya sewaktu kuliah dulu.
Kami sama-sama duduk di satu jurusan, mengambil mata kuliah yang sama pula dari tingkat pertama sampai tingkat akhir. Nasib kuliah jauh dari rumah, ditambah tidak ada teman sebangsa di jurusan saya, sehingga jarang sekali saya bertemu mereka usai kuliah. Kadang saya yang pergi ke sana, karena hampir tidak pernah, mereka punya keperluan datang ke sini.
Sampai teman saya ini datang.
Saking lamanya tidak bertemu, saya membuka lagi akun-akun media sosialnya. Untuk catch up, sekedar tahu perkembangannya selama ini.
Walaupun tujuan itu runtuh, begitu kami bertemu di hari Jumat malam, di sebuah restoran yang buka sampai larut malam. Kami berpelukan cukup lama, sampai beberapa pengunjung lain melihat.
Begitu duduk, kami saling berebut memulai pembicaraan. Kami dulu sama-sama rebel with clueless causes, alias sering mangkir dari urusan perkuliahan. Lalu menjadi dekat saat ‘terpaksa’ mengerjakan final year project bersama-sama sampai hasilnya memuaskan supaya bisa lulus.
Kami tertawa mengenang kebandelan kami, sambil sesekali bertanya kabar teman-teman lain, yang sudah belasan tahun tidak saya jumpai. Dia pun mengaku sangat jarang bertemu teman-teman kami, apalagi dia sempat pindah negara selama beberapa tahun.
Akhirnya saya bertanya:
“So, what brought you here?”
Dia tersenyum sambil menyeka bibirnya dari bekas minuman. “I’m doing some business here. Visiting our branch office, see how they do. I know what you’re thinking, me doing business? What are the odds?”
Dia melanjutkan, “So I figure, since I don’t know anyone here, in person, then I suddenly remember you. I don’t have any other Indonesian friend in college, so I took a shot at looking you up, and there you were, listed as one of my Facebook friends I didn’t realize I’ve had all these time!”
Saya masih tertawa. “Oh the benefit of being a random Facebook friend!”
Dia pun ikut tertawa. “So yeah, I messaged you, didn’t expect you reply, and here we are. Cheers?”
Kami bersulang dengan cangkir teh. Lalu saya bertanya kembali, “I was really surprised to see your message on my Facebook. Then, well, I’m sorry for saying this now, but I took liberty in going through your Facebook posts …”
“… hey, that’s okay. I did the same. Facebook, Instagram. I need to know if my friend turned a serial killer or not after around 15 years.”
Saya melempar sebatang kentang goreng sambil tertawa. “Nah, I’m too chicken to hold a gun. Aaanyway, I couldn’t help asking you this. I saw this update on your page, “Happy 12.5th anniversary”, or something like that. If I’m not mistaken. What was that?”
Dia tersenyum. “You and million other people. Oh, boy. Do you mind if we order more tea? Feel like I need some time to tell you more about this.”
Kami meminta agar teh kami yang sudah dingin diisi kembali. Lalu dia mulai berbicara.
“First thing first. Do you remember Adam?”
“Adam? I know quite a number of Adams in my life, you have to be more specific.”
“Adam … Adam! He took Art Management course with us in our last year. The one we, oh God, hahaha, the one we ganged up on because he botched our project presentation?”
“Oh, oooh! That Adam! I remember! That annoying prick! Hahaha. What about him?”
“Well, don’t laugh, although I’ve a feeling you will, but we … are … together. Have been. For, well, some time now.”
“What? You and Adam? Wait. What? No, come on! Weren’t you two sworn enemies then? I mean, at some point we were already okay with him, but you and him … Whew!”
Dia tertawa cukup keras, membuat beberapa mata lain menatap meja kami. “Yeah. Oh man, those years! But, in a very strange twist of fate, we met again. It was when I moved overseas. I met him again there. And you know how it is when you are in foreign land, then you meet someone from your home land, you feel like … home. And it was like that with him. He’s changed. I have.”
“So you were with him ever since?”
Dia menggeleng. “I went home. Not metaphorically, but the real, physical form of home. Ha! I felt like it was the time to start something new. So I decided to open my own business, with a few friends, at home. He was still overseas. And you know how it is to start a new business. All your time was occupied. For a few years, all I had in my mind was my business. Dated a few times, but none really mattered.”
Saya tertawa sampai nyaris tersedak. “Ha! None really mattered! Oh man, you are something!”
Dia terkekeh. “We were young once, come on! Nah, but I’ve never had it clicked with anyone since I came home. Then came the crash.”
“Well, in short, I had to sell my business. Some family problem.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.”
“It’s okay. It’s over now. Then I was back to climbing corporate ladder, again. Thankfully the ladder is quite short this time.”
“And that’s when Adam came in the picture again?”
Dia meminum teh kembali, dan mengangguk. “Not immediately. A few years later, I attended a wedding ceremony. It was my colleague’s. And it turned out, Adam is the cousin.”
“Oh, come on! This is so out of cheesy novel!”
“You haven’t heard the cheesiest part yet. So we reconnected. He just came back, actually. He ran his own company. Still. And before we realized, we started going out together. At first I thought, why not? I mean, I’m getting older, the pool of dateable materials is getting smaller …”
“… because you’ve used them all up!”
“Hahahaha. I guess. But you know what it feels like to reconnect? Like you ride a bike again after years not doing that. You do some adjustments, but before you know, you’re already at ease.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s what it feels like. And then?”
“And then, we already go out for, I don’t know, 2 years? Something like that. Then one evening, after we finished watching some movies in cinema … Please don’t ask me what title, I don’t remember. I’m not like you, okay? So, we walked out of the cinema, then instead of going to carpark, he wanted to take a long walk. Then we walked. We talked. Then he said that he wanted us to live together.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that. He sounded serious, so I responded seriously.”
“Well, he asked me a yes/no question whether I agree if we should live in together. So we sat down. I looked at him for some time. I just looked into his eyes, holding his hands. I told him, “25 years”.”
“He actually gave exactly the same response. “Huh? What?” Then I repeated the words “25 years”. Then I told him, “I want us to live together for at least 25 years. I want to be in this relationship seriously. Maybe you don’t notice, but I’m not getting any younger. And I hate to break this information to you, but so are you. So I figure, that, if two soon to be broken and brittle bodies can be together to support each other for a long time, then the answer is yes.”
Saya terdiam, tercenung cukup lama. Setelah menghela nafas panjang, saya cuma bisa mengucap “Wow. That was … wow. Where did that come from? You copied my essays back in college!”
Dia tertawa. “I know, right? I don’t know where those words come from. Things that your heart tells you to say or do, sometimes they just burst out all of a sudden.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. But coming back to my question, so what’s the 12.5th anniversary is about? Do you mean you’re halfway to the year limit?”
“Yes. It’s easy to figure out, right? But there’s more than that, actually.”
“When I finished saying all those things just now, he just smiled. He smiled so wide I thought he would make fun of me. Then he hugged me, and told me, “You know what? A quarter of a century does not happen immediately. Twenty five years begin with 25 seconds, 25 minutes, 25 hours, 25 days, 25 weeks, and so on. So why don’t we take it one step at a time. Start by living together, next to each other, for 25 minutes. If we could survive, then we move on to 25 days. How?””
“Oh, my, indeed. And a week after that, I started moving in.”
“So you’ve been living together for 12.5 years now?”
“Some 13 years by now. You’re looking at Facebook posts from last year.”
“Ah, okay. And did you really survive those years?”
“Are you kidding? Of course not. There were moments when we screamed at each other, threw things at one another, and said things like “Screw this 25-year plan! I didn’t ask for this!”, or “Why bother sticking to our plan? We only have each other, so go, just go!” But in the end, we didn’t leave.”
“What made you stay?”
“Him. Us. And I kept thinking, if at least I won’t make it to 25 years, then halfway there would make me happy. And, of course, I usually close my eyes for 25 seconds.”
“If I could think about the good things we had for 25 seconds immediately, I knew we still had good things going between us.”
“I can’t believe this. It feels like straight out of those pages in book of relationship guide.”
“Oh, eeww! You shall not read them. No so-called relationship rules ever work the same between different people.”
“Do you think you’ll still have what it takes to reach that crucial 25?”
Kali ini dia yang terdiam cukup lama. Sambil menghela nafas panjang, dia berkata, “Remember the part when I said we’re not getting any younger?”
“There were times we fell sick. I developed some allergies that, at their severest moments, I had to be hospitalized. Adam fell sick repeatedly, too, over the years. So, we just have the two of us, and nobody else. Whenever I or Adam fall sick, I just keep wishing, “one more year, one more year”. But we manage beyond the halfway point, so it’s all good. If we won’t reach the milestone, I don’t care. At least I have spent those wonderful first half with him. And that’s all that matters.”
Sekarang kami berdua terdiam. Tenggelam dalam pikiran masing-masing. Riuh rendah pengunjung restoran lain mulai mereda. Kami melihat satu sama lain, dan entah apa yang memulai, kami mulai tertawa. Dia mengambil tissue untuk menyeka air mata yang menetes bersama gelak tawa kami.
Dia berkata, “I’m so sorry, I brought the whole evening to such a mess with my story.”
“Are you kidding? That’s a wonderful story. Someday I may write about it on my blog.”
“Go ahead, make me famous, I don’t care. Hahaha!”
“Yeah. Well, the legendary 25 and half of it.”
“So, what about you, Mr. Nauval? I haven’t heard anything about your love life.”
“Because there is nothing to talk about, almost non-existent, in fact.”
“For what I understand, everyone has their own love story to tell. No love story is also a love story to tell. To each is their own love story to have. So?”
Saya tersenyum. Sambil memberi kode ke pelayan untuk menuang isi minuman ke dalam cangkir, saya mulai bercerita.
“Well. So, here goes.”