14

(cerita sebelumnya bisa dibaca di sini dan juga di sini)

Why not?

Kami berdua berdiri, beranjak dari rumput di pinggir kolam hotel. Sesekali kami mencuri pandang ke arah satu sama lain, lalu tersenyum dan tertawa kecil.

Satpam petugas jaga hotel membuka pintu menuju ke arah lift sambil mengucapkan selamat malam dan tersenyum ke kami. Kami mengangguk, membalas salam dan saya buru-buru menahan pintu lift sambil menunggu teman saya merogoh tasnya, mencari kunci kamar.

Argh. Clumsy me. Adam always takes care of this stuff, never me with my messy bag!”

Satpam menghampiri kami.

“Permisi. Lantai berapa?”

Sebelum saya menjawab, teman saya buru-buru berkata, “Lantai dua puluh lima.”

Satpam mengeluarkan kartu yang dia sentuhkan ke layar di lift, lalu menekan tombol angka 25 di layar. Dia mempersilakan kami masuk, dan lagi-lagi sebelum saya sempat berkata, teman saya berterima kasih kepada satpam tersebut.

All these years, and you never told me you can actually speak Indonesian?!”

Dengan aksen yang semakin dibuat-buat, dia berkata, “Satu, dua, tiga, apa kabar, belok kiri, terima kasih … Dude, I travel in this region a lot. I have to pick up a few words to get by. You have no idea that I was this close to saying “Sawadee kap” to the security guard just now. Then I realized where we are!”

Spontan saya tertawa keras, dan mau tidak mau dia ikut terkekeh.

Ding!

 

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Pintu lift terbuka. Saya mempersilakan dia keluar lebih dulu.

Turn right, and … here we are. 2511. Dua puluh lima sebelas.”

Saya bertepuk tangan kecil. “Impressive!”

“Thank you!”

Saya berdehem. “Listen, I had fun tonight. And here I am, walking you to the door.

Ah, being a true gentleman, I see. And what made you think I’d invite you to my room?”

“Wait. I thought …”

“What, you thought …”

“I mean …”

“Aren’t you tempted?”

“You cheeky bloody bastard!”

Kami pun tertawa, sebelum kami sadar sedang di lorong lantai kamarnya, dan buru-buru mengecilkan suara.

I was teasing you! Oh God, you’re still so easy to be fooled!”

“Hey, hey. Watch out.”

“But seriously, thank you. It’s good to see you again after all these years.”

“And thank you for listening. Thank you for your story, too. It gives me hope that, well, maybe, and just maybe, romantic kind of love still exists after all.”

“Maybe? Love does exist. It does. Romantic kind of love, it’s present. If you haven’t been able to find one, get one or be in one, it’s not your time yet. This kind of thing, you can’t rush it.”

Saya mengangguk kecil sambil menghela nafas panjang. Saya tersenyum.

If it helps, well I don’t know if it does, but back then, I had a crush on you.”

Saya tertawa. “Really?”

 

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“Well, you’re the only foreigner in our batch. Not just a foreign exchange student, but a full-time foreign student. It’s not my fault or your fault that you have that extra quality by default.”

Saya masih tertawa. “Ahahaha … Pity crush, I see.

Dia masih tersenyum. “At first I thought so. But then, it was not.”

Saya terdiam sejenak. “Wait. Really? Oh wow.”

Dia menggangguk sambil tersenyum lebar.

Oh wow. I don’t know what to say. Thank you, for telling that to me almost twenty years later.”

“And I believe it was not mutual?”

“Well, being a rebel you were, you definitely caught my attention. Otherwise we wouldn’t end up being in the same group again and again all through our college years, would we?”

“Ha! Yeah, you’re right. And thank God the crush didn’t last that long!”

“I guess I’m sorry? But hey, it’d be weird if we ended up together!”

Kami tertawa.

But this kind of thing, I wouldn’t know if you didn’t tell me. You would think that I work and live surrounded by people who can express themselves freely, sometimes often being in-the-nose a little too much, I’ll get the same bug. Yet, when it comes to matters of heart, I am always tongue tied.”

“What makes it hard to say what you want to say?”

“I don’t know. I guess looking back, I am being selfish by protecting myself. I’m scared of getting hurt or being rejected, thus I stay silent. I’m terrified to make moves, thus I torture myself by overthinking. It’s funny. You do that when you have a crush on someone, yet you don’t do any service to the other person, the object of your affection. You don’t do anything to them. You’re busy meeting false need of yourself.”

Dia mengangguk. Pelan-pelan dia duduk di depan pintu. Mau tak mau, saya mengikutinya. Sekarang kami berdua duduk selonjoran di depan pintu kamarnya.

Remember earlier in the restaurant, you told me that the big, or one of the main reasons you came back was that you don’t want to be looking back in regret later when you turn 70, of not doing what you wanted to do?”

Saya mengangguk.

Now, do you want to look back in regret later when you turn 70, of not saying what you wanted to say to whoever the person or the people that you set your heart to?”

Saya tersenyum.

You really have a way with twisting words, don’t you?”

“As I said earlier, life experience happened. For sure I never regret telling Adam how much I love him, and how much I hate him the next day after I said I love him, only to tell him that I still love him.”

“Do you ever regret being with him?”

“If you ask me right now, the answer is no. If you ask me when I am down in misery, because he falls sick, or because I am sick, the answer is still no.”

“How come?”

“Because I know I will regret more if I keep wondering what would happen if I didn’t say yes to his proposal then.”

Saya menatap muka teman saya yang bersemu merah. Kami sama-sama tersenyum.

You know, I just realized, regardless if you’re 40 or 14, when it comes to getting your heart broken, the pain still lingers, if not feels longer.”

“That’s true.”

“And yet, you always crave for the feeling, of falling in, then falling out …”

“That’s also true.”

“Because we just want to be wanted. Be desired, be needed by the other person. We crave for the connection. I crave for that.”

Teman saya mengangguk. “I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying “everyone has their own battle”?”

 

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Giliran saya yang mengangguk. “And that’s how I see it sometimes. Some people find it hard to conceive a child. Some people struggle to make ends meet. Some people have disabilities of any kind. And I guess for me, the battle is to find a life partner.”

“And yet, you know what everyone has in common? They live. The live through the battle, fight until the fight becomes a habitual thing to do, every day.”

“And that means I have to keep swiping right?”

Dia tertawa. “Whatever the means, I don’t want you to give up. Cliche, but have faith. Someone is out there. You just need more time than others to find. But eventually you will.”

Saya menghela nafas.

There is something I haven’t told you yet.”

“Oh, boy. Here we go.”

 

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