Category Archives: cerpen

Cerpen Pringadi Abdi: Densha Otoko

Cerpen ini dimuat di  Berita Pagi, 30 Januari 2011

Bertemu cerpenis itu, aku tiba-tiba melihat kereta seperti keluar dari matanya. Kereta dengan gerbong-gerbong yang sesak dan penuh. Para penumpang duduk dan berdiri, tanpa membeda-bedakan kelamin, sebab tak pernah ada feminis berdada setengah terbuka yang berani naik kereta ekonomi, Jogja—Jakarta, delapan jam, dikebuli asap rokok, bau keringat, kencing, dan kentut (perihal terakhir ini sungguh keterlaluan).

“Naiklah kereta ekonomi, Lempuyangan—Senen, tak sampai tiga puluh ribu!”

Jauh-jauh berangkat dari Bintaro, naik Sumber Alam, sembilan puluh ribu dan kukira ber-AC, aku malah disambut dengan perintah semacam itu. Seumur-umur aku belum pernah naik kereta.

Setidaknya, aku mengira, ia akan memberiku petuah-petuah magis, bersemedi di Kaliurang, merenung di Parangtritis, ngemenyan di Borobudur, atau duduk di Jendelo, kafe yang sama yang pernah diceritakan Sungging Raga ketika ia mendapat ilham untuk menjadi cerpenis. Aku pun ingin jadi cerpenis.

***

“Kenapa?”

“Apanya yang kenapa?”

“Kamu jadi cerpenis?”

“Aku ingin jadi pemain bola kok,”

“Seperti M. Nasuha?”

“M. Nasuha?”

“Ya, bek kanan Timnas kita, dulu main di Sriwijaya FC sebelum ikut RD ke Persija. Dia mirip kamu….”

“Apanya yang mirip? Kelaminnya?”

“Aku serius.”

“Aku justru dua rius.”

“Hahaha…”

“Hihihi…”

“Tidak lucu.”

“Aku memang tidak sedang melucu.”

“Orang gila.”

“Dunia memang sudah gila.”

Dan akan bertambah lagi satu hal gila jika benar aku mengikuti petuahnya.

“Ada tiga syarat buat menjadi cerpenis, Pring?”

Wah, cuma tiga.

“Pertama, sering-seringlah bernyanyi di kamar mandi.”

Nah, kalau yang ini aku sudah sering melakukannya.

“Kedua, tinggalkanlah sidik jari di mana-mana.”

“Maksudmu?”

“Kamu sudah pernah pacaran berapa kali?

“Baru satu kali dan itu pun diselingkuhi…”

“Nasibmu itu, Pring.”

“Terus?”

“Belajarlah untuk berselingkuh… seperti aku.”

“Dengan mantan pacar Dadang Ari Mujiono?”

“Murtono ah.”

“Mujiono saja, biar mirip penyanyi dangdut, geal geol gendat gendut plagiat plagidut…

“Masih hidup dia ya, kapan digantung kemaluannya?”

“Nunggu SBY turun jabatan.”

“Lho?”

“Partai Cabang Rashomon Indonesia.”

“Hahaha….”

“Hihihi…”

“O, ya, yang terakhir yang paling penting, pulang ini kamu harus naik kereta!”

***

Densha Otoko, drama Jepang sebelas episode yang diangkat dari komik itu sedikit bisa menghiburku. Membayangkan perempuan secantik Hermes, dengan rambut pirang dan tinggi yang semampai, bibir tipis yang lembut buat dikecup, bisa bikin jantung deg-degan tak karuan. Kalau saja di kupe pertama, begitu masuk kereta, ia ada dan sedang diganggu pria pemabuk yang lama tak menyusu istrinya, aku bisa tampil bak pahlawan dan memamerkan otot-otot hasil binaan di gymbeberapa bulan belakangan. Aku hajar pria itu sampai giginya rontok satu per satu, kemudian kusuruh ia menelannya lagi. Duh, wanita mana yang tak langsung jatuh hati dan menyandarkan kepalanya di dadaku ini?

“Sekali lagi, Pring, tak pernah ada feminis di kereta ekonomi!”

Raga seperti tahu saja apa yang kukhayalkan. Makhluk satu itu memang pintar membaca pikiranku, termasuk menjejalkan pikiran yang jorok-jorok ke otakku. Aku beri tahu sesuatu ya, aku kenal Sora Aoi sampe Nagase Ai, itu gara-gara Sungging Raga. Oke, tapi ini rahasia ya?

Bicara tentang feminis, kami sering mengidentikannya dengan perempuan yang tak mau kawin, berpakaian terbuka, dan bisa dipakai kapan saja.  Kalaulah kau memperdebatkan arti kawin, aku bersedia menggantinya dengan kata ‘nikah’. Jadi, makhluk bernama feminis ini rata-rata bisa cuap-cuap tentang kebebasan, mengatai-ngatai laki-laki yang penuh ketidaksetiaan, pelaku pelecehan seksual, sampai perampas kebebasan hak asasi para perempuan itu sendiri. Padahal, ini rahasia ya, Pringadi Abdi Surya itu adalah laki-laki paling setia yang pernah ada di muka bumi ini, tidak pernah selingkuh, apalagi sampai meninggalkan sidik jari dan menuliskan perkataan semacam “Pringadi was here!” di suatu bagian tubuh. Dan satu lagi, jarang sekali laki-laki yang agresif kalau perempuannya tidak memamerkan onderdil miliknya. Faktanya, sekarang paha dan dada diobral di mana-mana, bukan? Lumayan buat cuci mata, apalagi di kereta.

***

Hanya memang, selain kebohongan-kobohongan yang dikarang-karang dalam ceritanya, Raga itu makhluk yang jujur adanya. Baru sampai di stasiun, aku sudah kebingungan. Orang-orang membawa barang berkarung-karung, kotak-kotak mie, kantung-kantung kresek. Membayangkan akan ditaruh di mana mereka itu, membuatku ingin membatalkan niat naik kereta. Tapi, ketimbang tawa sinis Raga itu meledekku, mending aku nekat naik kereta ini.

Aku mendapatkan tiket berdiri, tetapi beruntung sekali (dalam ekspresi bingungku itu) seorang perempuan—yang kukira sebaya—mempersilakan aku duduk di sampingnya. Awalnya, aku sempat curiga dan teringat dengan cerita-cerita hipnotis, copet, dan hal itu membuatku terjaga memegangi dompet.

“Baru pertama kali naik kereta, ya?” Dia memulai pembicaraan.

Memang tidak secantik Hermes, tetapi bibirnya itu membuatku suka. Aku memang menyukai tipe bibir yang mungil dan agak kemerahjambuan. Kalau dikecup, laki-laki yang semi-agresif seperti aku bisa mendaratkan ciuman dengan mudah—meladeni setiap cara yang dia inginkan. Tentu, dia tak akan bisa menguasai bibirku.

“Dari mana kamu tahu?”

“Tergambar jelas di wajahmu…”

“Baru pertama kali ke Jakarta?” Aku balik bertanya.

“Lha, dari mana kamu tahu?”

Secret makes a man man.”

“Hahaha, epigon Vermouth.”

“Suka Conan juga?”

“Ya, siapa yang tak suka Conan? Aku ingin punya pacar tampan kaya’Heiji Hattori.”

“Hitam?”

“Eksotis.”

“Seperti aku?”

“Kamu… ah, kamu kegemukan.”

“Tapi ‘kan seksi?”

“Seksi di bagian mananya?”

Aku pun tersipu. Dia lebih tersipu melihat aku tersipu.

Kereta mulai bergerak. Sesekali tubuh kami bergesekan.

“Kamu Jogja di mananya? Gejayan atau Kaliurang?”

“Kamu bahkan belum tahu namaku, tapi sudah bertanya tempat tinggalku.”

“Oh iya, aku Pringadi.”

“Waginem.”

“Waginem?”

“Ya, kamu mau mencemooh namaku?”

“Ya, apalah artinya sebuah nama.”

“Keliru. Shakespeare tak pernah bilang begitu.”

“Lantas?”

What is in a name?

“Kamu tahu banyak ya, kuliah di mana?”

“Bahasa dan Sastra Indonesia.”

“Di?”

“Surabaya.”

“Jadi bukan warga Jogja?”

“Kekasihku ada di Jogja, ah tidak pantas juga kalau aku menyebutnya kekasih…”

“Kenapa?”

“Secrets make a woman woman.”

“Ayolah, aku tidak suka penasaran.”

“Aku tidak suka rendang Padang.”

“Aku tidak suka orang Padang.”

“Aku nggak nanya.”

“Hahaha…”

“Lucu?”

“Sedikit.”

“Dia sudah punya kekasih.”

“Dia?”

“Kekasihnya tahu dia juga mencintai aku.”

“Cinta?”

“Cinta yang terbata-bata.”

“Orang belajar membaca dengan mengeja. Orang mengeja pun memulainya dengan terbata.”

“Tapi, aku mencintainya.”

“Lantas, kenapa kamu ke Jakarta?”

“Aku ingin bunuh diri.”

Dia mengangkat sedikit roknya.  Naik ke atas lutut. Sayang, cuma sedikit di atas lutut. “Dia sudah merabaku di sini, sampai ke tempat lain yang tak mungkin aku perlihatkan, Pring.” Dia menangis. Aku memberinya sapu tangan. Ia membuang ingusnya di sapu tangan itu.

“Tapi, kamu masih perawan ‘kan?”

“Penting kujawab?”

“Tes keperawanan di mana-mana.”

“Tapi, bukan dia… bukan dia yang mengambil keperawananku.”

“Lalu siapa?”

“Pacarku yang sebelumnya.”

“Hah?”

“Aku benci cerpenis.”

“Lho?”

“Mereka berdua cerpenis. Pokoknya aku tidak mau melihat cerpenis lagi mulai sekarang!”

“Memang cerpenis-cerpenis itu brengsek. Sekaligus bodoh. Akutagawa, Hemmingway, ah, mereka mengakhiri hidupnya dengan bunuh diri. Jadi, jika kamu bunuh diri, kamu akan sama bodohnya dengan mereka, Nem.” Aku menjawab sambil menjilat ludah sendiri.

“Jadi kamu bukan cerpenis?”

“Bukan. Aku PNS.”

“PNS?”

“Ya. Penyair Negeri Sipil.”

“Hahaha…”

“Pokoknya jangan mati di Jakarta. Biaya pemakamannya mahal.”

Kereta masih berjalan dengan kecepatan yang sama. Suara riuh kereta, keluhan orang-orang, mereka yang mengorok di depan kami, tapi kami tidak berteriak. Kami saling berbisik dalam jarak beberapa centi. Aku ingin menciumnya.

“Lalu aku akan tinggal di mana jika aku batal bunuh diri di Jakarta nanti?”

“Ke kosku saja.” Aku sudah mulai membayangkan adegan-adegan romantis yang terjadi jika sepasang manusia dibiarkan berduaan dalam satu kamar.

Dia mencubit lenganku genit.

“Eh, ngomong-ngomong siapa cerpenis yang kamu maksud tadi? Aku juga lumayan banyak kenal cerpenis.”

“Mereka berdua cukup terkenal sebagai cerpenis muda baru-baru ini. Aku putus dengan Dadang gara-gara kebiasaannya yang suka memplagiat karya orang lain. Aku tidak suka plagiasi. Kalau Raga, ya, dia nggak ganteng-ganteng amat sih, tapi orangnya tegas. Misterius. Suka bikin aku penasaran.”

Tiba-tiba laju kereta ini mendadak seperti berhenti dan berbalik. Kereta tidak jadi ke Jakarta dan kembali ke Yogyakarta di mana Sungging Raga akan duduk tersenyum di stasiun, melambai, dan memelukku sambil mengatakan, “Apa yang sudah kamu pelajari dari perjalanan keretamu yang singkat itu, Pring?”***

(2011)

Kepada Kamu, Bab I

Kepada Kamu.

Aku tahu napasmu masih terengah-engah bakda meloloskan diri dari satpam penjaga pintu gerbang. Dan sebentar lagi, kamu akan merasa panik, sebab buku PR Matematika yang telah kamu kerjakan semalaman ketinggalan di rumah. Tenang saja, hari ini Pak Oman tidak mengajar. Sebagai gantinya, ia hanya akan meminta murid-murid mengerjakan latihan soal-soal dan tidak dikumpulkan.

Bagaimana aku tahu semua hal itu?

Hai, Randi. Aku adalah kamu—kamu sepuluh tahun yang  akan datang.

 ~

Tepat setelah kulangkahkan kaki kiriku turun dari bis, kulihat satpam penjaga sekolah sudah memegang pintu gerbang dan mulai mendorongnya. Begitu kakiku menjejak tanah, aku langsung berlari secepat mungkin sambil kukutuk sopir bis yang berhenti tidak di depan gerbang sekolah. Ia berhenti di bawah jembatan penyeberangan, pas di tanda dilarang berhenti pula.

Aku mengerti ia malas menurunkan penumpang dua kali. Sengaja ia lewati Methodist, meski para penumpang yang ingin berhenti di sana banyak juga. Seratus meter dari Methodist ada sekolahku, SMAN 3 Palembang. Bis berhenti di tengah-tengah kedua sekolah ini.

Untunglah, dalam jarak pendek, aku adalah pelari yang baik. Dengan gesit, aku bisa menyusupkan diri dalam celah gerbang yang belum tertutup.

Selamat!

Sungguh, kecelakaan besar bila sampai terlambat. Mula-mula para siswa yang terlambat akan dibariskan di lapangan. Setelah itu, Kepala Sekolah akan datang. Ia begitu bengis. Bukan hanya dibentak-bentaki, adegan demi adegan penyiksaan akan kami lakoni. Push up, sit up, squat jump hingga merayap bak tentara di medan perang akan menjadi pemandangan menarik selama satu jam pelajaran.

Aku pernah terlambat satu kali dan bersumpah tidak akan mengulanginya lagi.

Aku menyesal bangun lebih lambat hari ini. Aku keasikan membaca novel Area X karya Eliza Vitri Handayani hingga tengah malam. Setelah itu, aku baru tertidur. Pukul enam pagi aku terbangun dan buru-buru menyiapkan diri berangkat ke sekolah. Tak sempat kusentuh nasi goreng yang sudah disiapkan Mama. Hanya segelas teh manis yang kuseruput sekadarnya.

Aku tinggal di pinggiran Palembang. Sekolahku berada tepat di jantung kota. Dari rumah ke sekolah, aku harus naik dua kendaraan umum. Angkutan Pedesaan yang berwarna hijau muda, lalu disambung dengan bis. Jika jalanan lancar tanpa kemacetan, lima belas kilometer jarak dari rumah ke sekolah akan dapat ditempuh kurang dari setengah jam. Aku merasa beruntung tidak terlambat hari ini meski sudah bangun kesiangan. Sedianya aku harus bangun sebelum pukul lima pagi lalu mandi dan salat. Tuhan,maafkan aku yang meninggalkan salat pagi ini.

~

Bel sudah berbunyi. Tanda kelas sudah harus dimulai.

Napasku masih terengah-engah karena lari tadi. Kulihat di luar ruang kelasku sudah sepi. Biasanya teman-temanku masih mengobrol di luar sampai guru datang. Artinya, guru sudah datang atau bisa jadi mereka sedang sibuk mengerjakan PR Matematika. Memang, tak ada waktu yang lebih asik untuk mengerjakan PR selain di sekolah, sebelum jam pelajaran dimulai. Apalagi kalau tinggal menyalin hasil pekerjaan teman. Aku juga pernah begitu. Namun, sekarang tidak lagi. Aku sudah menjadi murid yang baik.

Kelasku punya julukan yang unik. Anak gudang. Sebabnya sederhana, kelas kami memang bekas gudang.

Aku tidak tahu kenapa kami mendapat bekas gudang. Kuduga hal ini terjadi karena kesalahan sekolah dalam merencakan penerimaan siswa baru. Di angkatanku ada 12 kelas. Angkatan baru di bawahku juga ada 12 kelas. Ruangan yang tersedia terbatas.

Hari pertama masuk sekolah setelah libur kenaikan kelas bukannya berebut tempat duduk di ruang kelas baru. Setelah melihat daftar pembagian kelas, bertemu dan berkenalan dengan teman-teman baru maupun yang sudah kukenal, aku tidak dapat menemukan kelas. Papan nama kelas terhenti sampai 2.10. Tidak ada 2.11 apalagi 2.11.

Aku bersama beberapa teman pun beranjak ke sekretariat. Kami rapikan baju serapi-rapinya dan yang rambutnya sedikit gondrong, mohon maaf, tak dapat kami ajak ketimbang tiba-tiba bertemu Kepala Sekolah yang super galak. Kalau ketahuan tidak rapi, bisa-bisa kami dihukum lari keliling lapangan. Mengerikan.

Benar saja, baru kami menjejakkan kaki, Kepala Sekolah itu keluar dari ruangannya dan menatap kami. Dia menenteng tangannya di pinggang dan membentak kami, “Kalian ngapain di sini?!”

Nama beliau Lukman. Tapi, jangan bayangkan sifat Lukman yang ada dalam surat di Alquran. Lukman yang ini adalah seorang pelatih Taekwondo yang tersasar jadi kepala sekolah. Sabuk hitam. Tidak satu pun siswa sekarang ini yang berani melawannya. Kalau pun nakal, nakalnya kudu diam-diam. Dulu, ketika Lukman baru menjadi Kepala Sekolah, pernah ada beberapa siswa nakal yang menantangnya. Bukan satu, melainkan tiga orang. Ketiga siswa itu diundang masuk ke ruangan Kepala Sekolah. Dan mereka berkelahi di sana. Hasilnya… ketiga siswa itu keluar dengan  muka babak belur. Rambut mereka pun ditokak.

Ada lagi cerita, suatu hari beliau sendiri yang merazia seisi sekolah. Beliau berhasil menangkap sejumlah anak yang merokok di belakang WC. Hukumannya? Mereka dibariskan secara khusus di lapangan upacara. Kemudian, mereka ditempelengi satu per satu. Plak… Plak… Plak. Setelah itu, mereka pun dihukum membersihkan WC yang baunya naudzubillah.

Dan kini, Lukman yang lebih menakutkan dari Dementor itu ada di depan kami.

Aku hanya bisa diam dilontari pertanyaan itu. Chandra yang maju. Baru saja aku berkenal dengannya. Yang kutahu dia anak PKS, Patroli Keamanan Sekolah. Tinggalnya di Kertapati—daerah yang terkenal bagaikan Texas karena tingkat kriminalitasnya yang tinggi.

“Permisi, Pak. Maaf, kami ingin ke sekretariat,” kata Chandra dengan sopan. Tak lupa ia pasang senyum iklan pasta gigi dengan sempurna.

“Oh, kamu…” Lukman tampak mengenal Chandra. “Ada apa?”

“Kami baru lihat pengumuman pembagian kelas. Kami ditempatkan di 2.11. Tapi, Pak, kami cari-cari tidak ada kelas 2.11. Kami ingin bertanya, ruang kelas kami di mana, Pak?”

“Oh, 2.11 ya… coba tanya Pak Oman…”

Percakapan itu berakhir begitu saja setelah dia mengalihkan tatapannya dari kami.

Kemudian kami mencari yang namanya Pak Oman. Ternyata dia seorang guru. Kami sama sekali belum mengenalnya karena dia tak pernah mengajar anak kelas 1. Dia hanya mengajar Matematika untuk anak kelas 2. Dan ternyata dialah wali kelas kami.

Sebenarnya, aku selalu diam karena aku tak memiliki kepercayaan diri untuk bicara. Di depanku, Pak Oman. Melihatnya aku ingin tertawa. Tapi kutahan. Rambutnya dipotong persis Zinadine Zidane. Botak di tengah. Aku jadi berpikir jangan-jangan Lukman yang menokaki Pak Oman sehingga tampil demikian. Aku tak tega memiliki pikiran lucu seperti ini mengingat dia tampak ramah karena selalu tersenyum.

“Kelas kalian ada di setelah 2.10.”

“Di sebelah 2.10 kan cuma ada gudang?” ujar Chandra.

“Di mana teman-teman kalian yang lain? Maksud saya, anak-anak 2.11 yang lain.”

“Sebagian sih masih di depan papan pengumuman, ada juga yang sudah di kantin, Pak.”

“Kamu, Chan… jadi ketua kelas, ya? Tugas pertamamu, kumpulkan anak-anak di sebelah 2.10 sekarang.”

Aku tidak tahu apakah ditunjuk langsung menjadi ketua kelas adalah keberuntungan atau malah kesialan. Chandra yang kurus dan tak lebih tinggi dariku itu masih tersenyum dan menganggukkan kepala. “Baik, Pak,” katanya. Hari itu kusadari satu hal yang membedakan kami berdua, yakni mental.

Bersama kami, Pak Oman menuju ke 2.10. Anak-anak 2.10 sudah duduk di bangkunya masing-masing seperti ada lem yang lengket di sana. Aku paham, mereka tak mau bangku yang sudah ditandai susah payah diserobot orang lain.

Chandra datang bersama gerombolan siswa. Mereka pasti calon teman sekelasku. Sebagian besar tak kukenali, sebagian kecil aku hanya tahu nama dan sebagian kecil sekali yang pernah berbincang denganku. Satu tahun di SMA tak membuatku memiliki banyak teman.

“Oke, sudah semua ini?” tanya Pak Oman.

“Segini yang ada, Pak.”

“Baiklah. Kelas kita di sini.”

“Di sini?”

“Iya. Di sini. Di gudang.”

“Hah? Di gudang?”

“Kelas adalah keluarga. Dalam keluarga ada gotong royong, ada pembagian tugas. Tadi saya sudah menunjuk Chandra jadi ketua kelas. Kalau ada yang tidak setuju, bilang ke saya, nanti kita adakan pemilihan. Chandra nanti menunjuk wakil, sekretari dan bendahara, ya? Tapi sebelum itu… sebentar…” Pak Oman mengeluarkan serangkaian kunci. Dia memilih-milih kunci. “Nah ini dia…” Dia buka pintu gudang itu dan pemandangan ruangan penuh debu dengan meja, kursi bertumpuk, bersarang laba-laba ada di depan kami. “Berita baiknya hari ini tidak ada kelas. Namun tetap ada pelajaran. Pelajaran pertama adalah merapikan kelas. Silakan kalian bersihkan ruangan ini senyaman-nyamannya… karena satu tahun ke depan, ruangan inilah  yang akan menjadi ruang kelas kalian.”

~

            “Ran, kau sudah kerjakan itu… PR Matematika?” tanya Anton, teman yang duduk di sebelahku. “Semalam mati lampu, aku tak sempat mengerjakan.”

            Belum juga aku meletakkan tas, Anton sudah mencoba memintaku menyerahkan PR. Aku benci sekali menyontek. Aku juga benci diconteki. Tak apa-apa aku mendapat peringkat rendah di kelas, perkara kejujuran dalam mengerjakan ujian itu prinsip.

            Sebelum memasukkan tas ke dalam laci, biasa kuperiksa dulu isi laciku. Biasanya ada sampah. Teman-teman yang iseng sering memasukkan sampah ke dalam kelas. Motifnya, tak lain tak bukan, pemilihan kelas terbersih setiap minggunya. Untuk mendapatkan penghargaan itu, banyak yang bermain curang dengan sengaja mengotori lawan. Kelas kami pernah menang setelah para pengawas melihat kerja kami yang mengagumkan dalam mengubah gudang menjadi ruang kelas yang sedikitlayak ditempati.

            Aku melongok ke dalam laci, tidak ada sampah. Ada satu benda lain. Kupikir itu sebuah amplop. Merah jambu warnanya.

            Apakah ini surat cinta?

            Kusembunyikan surat itu cepat-cepat ke dalam laci, tapi masih dalam genggaman tanganku. Kuperhatikan sekelilingku. Anton masih duduk di sampingku. Dia menunggu PR-ku. Sampai, syukurlah, Yogi berteriak di depan setelah berhasil menangkap basah Bara yang ternyata sudah selesai mengerjakan PR. Anton segera menghambur ke Yogi, dan mengambil posisi tepat untuk menyalin pekerjaan Bara. Di antara kami, Bara memiliki tulisan yang paling rapi. Pasti, Anton akan memilih menyontek Bara ketimbang aku.

            Kukeluarkan amplop merah jambu itu dengan hati-hati. Kuletakkan di samping tas di atas meja. Aku buka pelan-pelan. Dan benar surat isinya.

            Tuhan, masa mudaku datang! Akhirnya aku mendapatkan surat cinta dari seorang gadis.

            Kucek amplop itu. Tak ada nama pengirim. Hatiku makin berbunga-bunga karena ternyata amplop itu memiliki aroma yang lembut.

            Kubuka dengan hati bergemuruh suratnya.

            Kepada Kamu.

            Kubaca paragraf pertama dan dahiku berkernyit luar biasa. Lahir lipatan-lipatan lebih banyak dari sebelumnya karena isi surat itu yang tak masuk akal. Siapa yang jahil begini kepadaku? Atau siapa yang berani menguntitku sepagian ini sehingga segala yang dituliskannya benar?

            Tunggu, dia bilang… aku tak membawa buku PR, dan Pak Oman tak datang hari ini.

            Segera kubuka tas dan kuperiksa isinya. Astaga, aku benar-benar tak membawa buku PR!

            Kemudian pintu diketuk. Aku kaget. Chandra ternyata.

            Dia senyum-senyum sendiri di pintu sebelum berkata, “Teman-teman, ada pesan dari Pak Oman. Pak Oman tidak bisa datang hari ini.” Sontak saja teman-temanku bersorak. “Eitss… ada lagi, Pak Oman nyuruh kita mengerjakan latihan soal di bab II ya…”

            Tapi ini bukan kali pertama Pak Oman tidak masuk kelas. Meski baru dua minggu pengajaran berjalan, Pak Oman sudah tak masuk dua kali. Dan dia selalu meninggalkan tugas yang tak pernah dikumpulkan. “Nanti dikumpulkannya menjelang ujian saja. Saya ingin menguji kedisiplinan kalian.”

            Disiplin dari Hongkong! Paling-paling tak ada yang mau mengerjakan tugas itu, dan sebagian kecil yang rajin akan menjadi bahan contekan sempurna menjelang ujian nanti. Percayalah!

            Aku kembali  ke surat dan mendadak bulu kudukku berdiri. Hal yang ditulisnya benar-benar terjadi. Kubaca kalimat selanjutnya dan itu menjadi kalimat paling tidak masuk akal yang pernah kubaca dalam hidupku.

            Hai Randi. Aku adalah kamu—kamu sepuluh tahun yang akan datang!

            Omong kosong.

Cerpen Haruki Murakami: The Wind Cave (Segera Diterjemahkan)

When I was fifteen, my younger sister died. It happened very suddenly. She was twelve then, in her first year of junior high. She had been born with a congenital heart problem, but since her last surgeries, in the upper grades of elementary school, she hadn’t shown any more symptoms, and our family had felt reassured, holding on to the faint hope that her life would go on without incident. But, in May of that year, her heartbeat became more irregular. It was especially bad when she lay down, and she suffered many sleepless nights. She underwent tests at the university hospital, but no matter how detailed the tests the doctors couldn’t pinpoint any changes in her physical condition. The basic issue had ostensibly been resolved by the operations, and they were baffled.

“Avoid strenuous exercise and follow a regular routine, and things should settle down soon,” her doctor said. That was probably all he could say. And he wrote out a few prescriptions for her.

But her arrhythmia didn’t settle down. As I sat across from her at the dining table I often looked at her chest and imagined the heart inside it. Her breasts were beginning to develop noticeably. Yet, within that chest, my sister’s heart was defective. And even a specialist couldn’t locate the defect. That fact alone had my brain in constant turmoil. I spent my adolescence in a state of anxiety, fearful that, at any moment, I might lose my little sister.

 

My parents told me to watch over her, since her body was so delicate. While we were attending the same elementary school, I always kept my eye on her. If need be, I was willing to risk my life to protect her and her tiny heart. But the opportunity never presented itself.

She was on her way home from school one day when she collapsed. She lost consciousness while climbing the stairs at Seibu Shinjuku Station and was rushed by ambulance to the nearest emergency room. When I heard, I raced to the hospital, but by the time I got there her heart had already stopped. It all happened in the blink of an eye. That morning we’d eaten breakfast together, said goodbye to each other at the front door, me going off to high school, she to junior high. The next time I saw her, she’d stopped breathing. Her large eyes were closed forever, her mouth slightly open, as if she were about to say something.

 

And the next time I saw her she was in a coffin. She was wearing her favorite black velvet dress, with a touch of makeup and her hair neatly combed; she had on black patent-leather shoes and lay face up in the modestly sized coffin. The dress had a white lace collar, so white it looked unnatural.

Lying there, she appeared to be peacefully sleeping. Shake her lightly and she’d wake up, it seemed. But that was an illusion. Shake her all you want—she would never awaken again.

I didn’t want my sister’s delicate little body to be stuffed into that cramped, confining box. I felt that her body should be laid to rest in a much more spacious place. In the middle of a meadow, for instance. We would wordlessly go to visit her, pushing our way through the lush green grass as we went. The wind would slowly rustle the grass, and birds and insects would call out all around her. The raw smell of wildflowers would fill the air, pollen swirling. When night fell, the sky above her would be dotted with countless silvery stars. In the morning, a new sun would make the dew on the blades of grass sparkle like jewels. But, in reality, she was packed away in some ridiculous coffin. The only decorations around her coffin were ominous white flowers that had been snipped and stuck in vases. The narrow room had fluorescent lighting and was drained of color. From a small speaker set into the ceiling came the artificial strains of organ music.

I couldn’t stand to see her be cremated. When the coffin lid was shut and locked, I left the room. I didn’t help when my family ritually placed her bones inside an urn. I went out into the crematorium courtyard and cried soundlessly by myself. During her all too short life, I’d never once helped my little sister, a thought that hurt me deeply.

After my sister’s death, our family changed. My father became even more taciturn, my mother even more nervous and jumpy. Basically, I kept on with the same life as always. I joined the mountaineering club at school, which kept me busy, and when I wasn’t doing that I started oil painting. My art teacher recommended that I find a good instructor and really study painting. And when I finally did start attending art classes my interest became serious. I think I was trying to keep myself busy so I wouldn’t think about my dead sister.

For a long time—I’m not sure how many years—my parents kept her room exactly as it was. Textbooks and study guides, pens, erasers, and paper clips piled on her desk, sheets, blankets, and pillows on her bed, her laundered and folded pajamas, her junior-high-school uniform hanging in the closet—all untouched. The calendar on the wall still had her schedule noted in her minute writing. Itwas left at the month she died, as if time had frozen solid at that point. It felt as if the door could open at any moment and she’d come in. When no one else was at home, I’d sometimes go into her room, sit down gently on the neatly made bed, and gaze around me. But I never touched anything. I didn’t want to disturb, even a little, any of the silent objects left behind, signs that my sister had once been among the living.

I often tried to imagine what sort of life my sister would have had if she hadn’t died at twelve. Though there was no way I could know. I couldn’t even picture how my own life would turn out, so I had no idea what her future would have held. But I knew that if only she hadn’t had a problem with one of her heart valves she would have grown up to be a capable, attractive adult. I’m sure many men would have loved her, and held her in their arms. But I couldn’t picture any of that in detail. For me, she was forever my little sister, three years younger, who needed my protection.

For a time, after she died, I drew sketches of her over and over. Reproducing in my sketchbook, from all different angles, my memory of her face, so I wouldn’t forget it. Not that I was about to forget her face. It will remain etched in my mind until the day I die. What I sought was not to forget the face I remembered at that point in time. In order to do that, I had to give form to it by drawing. I was only fifteen then, and there was so much I didn’t know about memory, drawing, and the flow of time. But one thing I did know was that I needed to do something in order to hold on to an accurate record of my memory. Leave it alone, and it would disappear somewhere. No matter how vivid the memory, the power of time was stronger. I knew this instinctively.

I would sit alone in her room on her bed, drawing her. I tried to reproduce on the blank paper how she looked in my mind’s eye. I lacked experience then, and the requisite technical skill, so it wasn’t an easy process. I’d draw, rip up my effort, draw and rip up, endlessly. But now when I look at the drawings I did keep (I still treasure my sketchbook from back then), I can see that they are filled with a genuine sense of grief. They may be technically immature, but they were the result of a sincere effort, my soul trying to awaken my sister’s. When I looked at those sketches, I couldn’t help crying. I’ve done countless drawings since, but never again has anything I’ve drawn brought me to tears.

My sister’s death had one other effect on me: it triggered a very severe case of claustrophobia. Since I saw her placed in that cramped little coffin, the lid shut and locked tight, and taken away to the crematorium, I haven’t been able to go into tight, enclosed places. For a long time, I couldn’t take elevators. I’d stand in front of an elevator and all I could think about was it automatically shutting down in an earthquake, with me trapped inside that confined space. Just the thought of it was enough to induce a choking sense of panic.

These symptoms didn’t appear right after my sister’s death. It took nearly three years for them to surface. The first time I had a panic attack was soon after I’d started art school, when I had a part-time job with a moving company. I was the driver’s assistant in a box truck, loading boxes and taking them out, and one time I got mistakenly locked inside the empty cargo compartment. Work was done for the day and the driver forgot to check if anyone was still in the truck. He locked the rear door from the outside.

About two and half hours passed before the door was opened and I was able to crawl out. That whole time I was locked inside a sealed, totally dark place. It wasn’t a refrigerated truck or anything, so there were gaps where air could get in. If I’d thought about it calmly, I would have known that I wouldn’t suffocate.

But, still, a terrible panic had me in its grip. There was plenty of oxygen, yet no matter how deeply I breathed I wasn’t able to absorb it. My breathing got more and more ragged and I started to hyperventilate. I felt dizzy. “It’s O.K., calm down,” I told myself. “You’ll be able to get out soon. It’s impossible to suffocate here.” But logic didn’t work. The only thing in my mind was my little sister, crammed into a tiny coffin and hauled off to the crematorium. Terrified, I pounded on the walls of the truck.

The truck was in the company parking lot, and all the employees, their workday done, had gone home. Nobody noticed that I was missing. I pounded like crazy, but no one seemed to hear. I knew that, if I was unlucky, I could be shut inside there until morning. At the thought of that, I felt as if all my muscles were about to disintegrate.

It was the night security guard, making his rounds in the parking lot, who finally heard the noise I was making and unlocked the door. When he saw how agitated and exhausted I was, he had me lie down on the bed in the company break room and gave me a cup of hot tea. I don’t know how long I lay there. But finally my breathing became normal again. Dawn was coming, so I thanked the guard and took the first train of the day back home. I slipped into my own bed and lay there, shaking like crazy for the longest time.

Ever since then, riding in elevators has triggered the same panic. The incident must have awoken a fear that had been lurking within me. I have little doubt that it was set off by memories of my dead sister. And it wasn’t only elevators but any enclosed space. I couldn’t even watch movies with scenes in submarines or tanks. Just imagining myself shut inside such confined spaces—merelyimagining it—made me unable to breathe. Often I had to get up and leave the theatre. That was why I seldom went to movies with anyone else.

When I was thirteen and my little sister was ten, the two of us travelled by ourselves to Yamanashi Prefecture during summer vacation. Our mother’s brother worked in a research lab at a university in Yamanashi and we went to stay with him. This was the first trip we kids had taken by ourselves. My sister was feeling relatively good then, so our parents gave us permission to travel alone.

Our uncle was single (and still is single, even now), and had just turned thirty, I think. He was doing gene research (and still is), was very quiet and kind of unworldly, though an open, straightforward person. He loved reading and knew everything about nature. He enjoyed taking walks in the mountains more than anything, which, he said, was why he had taken a university job in rural, mountainous Yamanashi. My sister and I liked our uncle a lot.

Backpacks on our backs, we boarded an express train at Shinjuku Station bound for Matsumoto, and got off at Kofu. Our uncle came to pick us up at Kofu Station. He was spectacularly tall, and even in the crowded station we spotted him right away. He was renting a small house in Kofu along with a friend of his, but his roommate was abroad so we were given our own room to sleep in. We stayed in that house for a week. And almost every day we took walks with our uncle in the nearby mountains. He taught us the names of all kinds of flowers and insects. We cherished our memories of that summer.

One day we hiked a bit farther than usual and visited a wind cave near Mt. Fuji. Among the numerous wind caves around Mt. Fuji this one was the largest. Our uncle told us about how these caves were formed. They were made of basalt, so inside them you heard hardly any echoes at all, he said. Even in the summer the temperature remained low; in the past people stored ice they’d cut in the winter inside the caves. He explained the distinction between the two types of caves: fuketsu, the larger ones that were big enough for people to go into, and kaza-ana, the smaller ones that people couldn’t enter. Both terms were alternate readings of the same Chinese characters meaning “wind” and “hole.” Our uncle seemed to know everything.

At the large wind cave, you paid an entrance fee and went inside. Our uncle didn’t go with us. He’d been there numerous times, plus he was so tall and the ceiling of the cave so low he’d end up with a backache. “It’s not dangerous,” he said, “so you two go on ahead. I’ll stay by the entrance and read a book.” At the entrance the person in charge handed us each a flashlight and put yellow plastic helmets on us. There were lights on the ceiling of the cave, but it was still pretty dark inside. The deeper into the cave we went, the lower the ceiling got. No wonder our lanky uncle had stayed behind.

My kid sister and I shone the flashlights at our feet as we went. It was midsummer outside—ninety degrees Fahrenheit—but inside the cave it was chilly, below fifty. Following our uncle’s advice, we were both wearing thick windbreakers we’d brought along. My sister held my hand tightly, either wanting me to protect her or else hoping to protect me (or maybe she just didn’t want to get separated). The whole time we were inside the cave that small, warm hand was in mine. The only other visitors were a middle-aged couple. But they soon left, and it was just the two of us.

My little sister’s name was Komichi, but everyone in the family called her Komi. Her friends called her Micchi or Micchan. As far as I know, no one called her by her full name, Komichi. She was a small, slim girl. She had straight black hair, neatly cut just above her shoulders. Her eyes were big for the size of her face (with large pupils), which made her resemble a fairy. That day she was wearing a white T-shirt, faded jeans, and pink sneakers.

After we’d made our way deeper into the cave, my sister discovered a small side cave a little way off the prescribed path. Its mouth was hidden in the shadows of the rocks. She was very interested in that little cave. “Don’t you think it looks like Alice’s rabbit hole?” she asked me.

My sister was a big fan of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” I don’t know how many times she had me read the book to her. Must have been at least a hundred. She had been able to read since she was little, but she liked me to read that book aloud to her. She’d memorized the story, yet, still, each time I read it she got excited. Her favorite part was the Lobster Quadrille. Even now I remember that part, word for word.

“No rabbit, though,” I said.

“I’m going to peek inside,” she said.

“Be careful,” I said.

It really was a narrow hole (close to a kaza-ana, in my uncle’s definition), but my little sister was able to slip through it with no trouble. Most of her was inside, just the bottom half of her legs sticking out. She seemed to be shining her flashlight inside the hole. Then she slowly edged out backward.

“It gets really deep in back,” she reported. “The floor drops off sharply. Just like Alice’s rabbit hole. I’m going to check out the far end.”

“No, don’t do it. It’s too dangerous,” I said.

“It’s O.K. I’m small and I can get out O.K.”

She took off her windbreaker, so that she was wearing just her T-shirt, and handed the jacket to me along with her helmet. Before I could get in a word of protest, she’d wriggled into the cave, flashlight in hand. In an instant she’d vanished.

A long time passed, but she didn’t come out. I couldn’t hear a sound.

“Komi,” I called into the hole. “Komi! Are you O.K.?”

There was no answer. With no echo, my voice was sucked right up into the darkness. I was starting to get concerned. She might be stuck inside the hole, unable to move forward or back. Or maybe she had had a convulsion in there and lost consciousness. If that had happened I wouldn’t be able to help her. All kinds of terrible scenarios ran through my head, and I felt choked by the darkness surrounding me.

If my little sister really did disappear in the hole, never to return to this world, how would I ever explain that to my parents? Should I run and tell my uncle, waiting outside the entrance? Or should I sit tight and wait for her to emerge? I crouched down and peered into the hole. But the beam from my flashlight didn’t reach far. It was a tiny hole, and the darkness was overwhelming.

“Komi,” I called out again. No response. “Komi,” I called more loudly. Still no answer. A wave of cold air chilled me to the core. I might lose my sister forever. Perhaps she had been sucked into Alice’s hole, into the world of the Mock Turtle, the Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts. A place where logic did not apply. We never should have come here, I thought.

But finally my sister did return. She didn’t back out like before but crawled out head first. Her black hair emerged from the hole first, then her shoulders and arms, and finally her pink sneakers. She stood in front of me, without a word, stretched, took a slow, deep breath, and brushed the dirt off her jeans.

My heart was still pounding. I reached out and tidied her dishevelled hair. I couldn’t quite make it out in the weak light inside the cave, but there seemed to be dirt and dust and other debris clinging to her white T-shirt. I put the windbreaker on her and handed her the yellow helmet.

“I didn’t think you were coming back,” I said, hugging her to me.

“Were you worried?”

“A lot.”

She grabbed my hand tightly. And, in an excited voice, she said, “I managed to squeeze through the narrow part, and then, deeper in, it suddenly got lower, and down from there it was like a small room. A round room, like a ball. The ceiling was round, the walls were round, and the floor, too. And it was so, so silent there, like you could search the whole world and never find any place that silent. Like I was at the bottom of an ocean, in a crater that went even deeper. I turned off the flashlight and it was pitch dark, but I didn’t feel scared or lonely. That room was a special place that only I’m allowed into. A room just for me. No one else can get there. You can’t go in, either.”

“ ’Cause I’m too big.”

My little sister bobbed her head. “Right. You’ve gotten too big to get in. And what’s really amazing about that place is that it’s darker than anything could ever be. So dark that when you turn off the flashlight it feels like you can grab the darkness with your hands. Like your body is gradually coming apart and disappearing. But since it’s dark you can’t see it happen. You don’t know if you still have a body or not. But even if, say, my body completely disappeared, I’d still be there. Like the Cheshire Cat’s grin staying on after he vanished. Pretty weird, huh? But when I was there I didn’t think it was weird at all. I wanted to stay there forever, but I thought you’d be worried, so I came out.”

“Let’s get out of here,” I said. She was so worked up it seemed as if she were going to go on talking forever, and I had to put a stop to that. “I can’t breathe well in here.”

“Are you O.K.?” my sister asked, concerned.

“I’m O.K. I just want to go outside.”

Holding hands, we headed for the exit.

“Do you know?” my sister said in a small voice as we walked, so no one else would hear (though there wasn’t anyone else around). “Alice really existed. It wasn’t made up. It was real. The March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the Playing Card soldiers—they all really exist.”

“Maybe so,” I said.

We emerged from the wind cave, back into the bright real world. There was a thin layer of clouds in the sky that afternoon, but I remember how terribly glaring the sunlight seemed. The screech of the cicadas was overpowering, like a violent squall drowning everything out. My uncle was seated on a bench near the entrance, absorbed in his book. When he saw us, he grinned and stood up.

Two years later, my sister died. And was put in a tiny coffin and cremated. I was fifteen, and she was twelve. While she was being cremated I went off, apart from the rest of the family, sat on a bench in the courtyard of the crematorium, and remembered what had happened in that wind cave: the weight of time as I waited for my little sister to come out, the thickness of the darkness enveloping me, the profound chill I felt. Her black hair emerging from the hole, then her shoulders. All the random dirt and dust stuck to her white T-shirt.

At that time, a thought struck me: that maybe, even before the doctor at the hospital officially pronounced her dead two years later, her life had already been snatched from her while she was deep inside that cave. I was actually convinced of it. She’d already been lost inside that hole, and left this world, but I, mistakenly thinking she was still alive, had put her on the train with me and taken her back to Tokyo. Holding her hand tightly. And we’d lived as brother and sister for two more years. But that was nothing more than a fleeting grace period. Two years later, death had crawled out of that cave to grab hold of my sister’s soul. As if her time were up, it was necessary to pay for what had been lent to us, and the owner had come to take back what was his.

Years later, as an adult, I realized that what my little sister had confided to me in a quiet voice in that wind cave was indeed true. Alice really does exist in the world. The March Hare, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat—they all really exist. ♦

(Translated, from the Japanese, by Philip Gabriel.)

 

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Cerpen Kompas Semester II 2017-compressed

Mengandung Bidadari

Kau hamil. Tujuh bulan. Aku yakin kau sedang mengandung bidadari.

Aku sudah pelajari baik-baik Hukum Mendel. Dari ketiga saudara perempuanmu, hanya kau yang memiliki alel dominan. Dan aku berani bertaruh anak pertamamulah yang akan mewarisi kedominanmu itu. Tidak hanya secara genotipe, tetapi juga fenotip. Ia akan memiliki wajah secantik kau. Ia juga akan memiliki sayap. Itulah alasan yang kutanyakan dulu ketika kita kali pertama bertemu, “Aku tahu mengapa kau memakai pakaian setertutup itu… pasti kau sedang menyembunyikan sayapmu, bukan?”

Continue reading Mengandung Bidadari