April 17, 2014 – Footsteps

Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.

-Alice Walker, The Color Purple

This journal is so big. How am I supposed to write secrets in something so big and hard to hide? 

Sometimes you know, I miss my old friends. I miss the memories. And I think, how would it be like to grow up in one place and you know, have a place to call home. Like Teteh, she lived all her life in Ciomas. She has a place to all home. Me, I don’t even know where home is anymore. And why was it so easy for me to move from America to Indonesia? The easiness of it is remarkable. And now, jut as I am starting to adjust to SMPN 14, Mama and Papa want to move me. Sometimes I just wish I didn’t have to move so much. I’ve moved so many times in my life that it doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s just another place to adapt to and take in.

After all, that’s all life is. A series of people coming into your life and leaving.

Nothing’s permanent. In fact, the most beautiful, most precious things are fleeting and come rarely. People come and go. But you know,

People come into our lives for a reason /  bringing something we must learn / and we are led / to those who help us most to grow / if we let them / and we help them in return…

Wicked, For Good

No one stays in our lives forever. And that is just so unfair. So cruel. I’ve left my childhood behind, across the seven seas. How to get it back, I don’t know. There is no way. I could cross the seven seas, but upon my return, I would not find the people and the things the way they once were- in my dusty photographs. And something would be different. Something would have changed.

As I walk across the busy town, people go on and about their business. 15 years ago. I’ve walked these streets a hundred and more times. Footsteps that once were are now covered by the autumn leaves littering the ground. And as I hear the crunch of boots upon leaf-littered gravel, I think I hear the echo of it buried somewhere in the leaves. But no one hears it except me. A breeze ruffles the poppies, spring flowers, and that old Magnolia tree I climbed 15 years ago. The taste of sun here and the smell of dewy grass in the early dawn is bittersweet- it carries the scent of ghosts of children’s laughter, running up and down these sloping hills.

More aromas flutter through the air. They cloud around me with every footstep that I take. And as I walk, I close my eyes and try to listen to the dim echoes of the footsteps buried underneath, buried and unheard.

The wind kisses my cheek

and lets me sleep

upon its wings

and i wave goodbye

without visiting old friends.

I think i am afraid

to retrace the steps

leading to their doorsteps.

Partly because I am scared that our footsteps have been buried, though they will always sound loud and clear to me. Partly though, I am scared that your footsteps will still be there, only bigger, with a different sound. And I am scared you will break my heart, although our footprints will always be buried deep in the ground. And they will always resonate trough my cotton-stuffed ears.

All of a sudden, I really really miss Austin. The nostalgia is taking over. It’s killing me. It’s just that, dear diary, sometimes I feel like I have no root. I come from here and I do belong here, but why do people have to treat me like I’m so different? After all, I’m just the same as everyone else. I get lonely. I fell silly; I make stupid mistakes. I trip on my own feet. I’m not perfect and neither is anybody else in this world. I just wish people would realize that.

And I’m starting to wonder whether this life is… really real. Or if it’s just a dream.

After all, if in dreams you feel like everything is real, how are we so sure that this existence itself is actually real? Or if it’s actually just a lie? Is it just our feelings? Sometimes I get scared. And sometimes I feel confident. And right now, I’m really missing my childhood city. But you know, I’m starting to love Indonesia. Sure, it has a few(okay, understatement) problems, but I love riding the angkot home and feeling the wind and the smells of grills and smoke and dust and the sunset. And I love the colors of the sky and the beauty of it. It sort of reminds me of riding the school bus back home. Except the school bus was big. And noisy. And smelled like armpits. And is loud.

Everything hushes in that moment between evening and night; in that in-between sunset moment. Although the world goes on and cars still beep and people still bustle, there’s a sweet hush in the air that you can only hear if your heart is calm and your ears are listening.

I remember how in America I’d ride the morning bus to school, when it was still chilly, and me and Glory or me and Colette would wait in front of the laundry and we would line up to enter the bus, which was warm and silent except for an occasional snore. And as we sat and talked, I’d sit by the window, often zoning out, and I’d watch the sun come up and by the time we reach the school, the sun would be up(but that morning chill would still be there) and the dark morning would turn bright. We’d shuffle off the bus and climb up the steps and push open the red school doors and enter into the warmth, glossy floors, billboards, books, and sound of children from the cafeteria. And diary, how I miss it. I really miss it. And I miss my friends and my school and getting up early for the school bus. But that’s in the past. And the past is over.

And I can’t live in the past, because then, what would become of the present?

Anyways, I think that’s it for now. I’m sleepy. G’night.

Sophia Fatima

I wrote that two years ago. Funny how it still applies to today.


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