Juli 20, 2014

The night was still young in late April–or early May–when Dimas, Ficher, and I were riding our bikes along the empty Brawijaya St., the main road of Tulungrejo, Pare. Though it was only few minutes past ten, we saw no motor vehicle. It made me feel that I was being left behind by the rest of the people in the world.

Ficher was by himself but I rode along with Dimas. In the cold dark night, our faces were still filled by the reminiscence of laughter from Jendela Mimpi Cafe. We then turned to Dahlia Street. Ficher’s boarding house was not far from the three way junction intertwining the roads of Dahlia and Brawijaya. From its yard, I could see Ficher’s friends were still busy talking in the living room.

I followed Ficher to a square next to the main house whose function, beside to dry clothes, was to park bicycles. At the far corner, next to a deep old well, there was a bathroom which was illuminated by the dull light of a dying lamp. From there, a form which had been a silhouette unexpectedly came out: Ficher’s landlord. Sarcastically, the man greeted us–or Ficher.

Mas Ficher, do your friends stay here?”

We raised our heads up to the voice. For a moment, what we could hear was only the chirps of crickets; we needed few seconds to comprehend the meaning of the landlord’s question. Meanwhile, up above, stars were shining brightly because this district had not yet been covered by smog preventing the light of the heavenly body to come to the ground.


“Well… No, sir,” Ficher answered. Anyway, he had a unique accent which perhaps was influenced by the combination of the culture of Makassar and the experience of studying Law for years. “They are just staying overnight because their boarding house is usually locked at 10 pm, sir,” he continued.

“But, I see them coming here every night,” argued the landlord.

Well, it was true that Dimas and I spent most of the nights at Ficher’s. Arrived several hours before dawn, we usually woke up 5.30 am and drank a cup of hot black coffee ordered by Ficher from a nearby shop–at certain days the coffee would be accompanied by hot steaming fried bananas. We really made ourselves at home.

We started to get the point of this conversation. He would keep arguing with Ficher until one of these things happened–either he earned extra money or he saw my friend leaving the dormitory for good. I still could stay calm although there were thousands of things in my head I wanted to say in defense to the landlord.

“The thing is, sir, these days we are practising our English so intensively that sometimes we forget the track of time,” Ficher replied.

In reality, those are the days when our nights were spent merely by hanging out at Jendela Mimpi Cafe, located in front of Elfast, which had just been opened. Studying hard all day, we sat around doing nothing at the cafe in the evening to balance our lives. But we did not really do nothing because while hung out we practised our English–sometimes we discussed grammar, another occasions we talked about anything just to make our spoken English more fluent.

Also, those days were the time when Dimas was busy decorating Jendela Mimpi with drawings using colorful chalks. Despite holding a black belt of karate and diploma in sport science, Dimas demonstrates a great talent in art. He is able not only to create wonderful murals and graffiti but also to hit jimbe–an amazing percussion musician he is. We played songs almost every night–I strummed ukulele and he gave me the beat with mini jimbe.


“But they should not stay every night. That is your room after all.” The arguing kept going. They looked like two people playing badminton but neither of them was brave enough to smash the cock–only long plain rallies. I imagined myself as the referee struggling to watch the boring match.

“Didn’t I pay full for the room, sir?”

“I understand that. But what if there is something bad happening?” The landlord seemed to lose his nerves. “What if somebody’s belonging is stolen? Since it is my house, I am the one who has to be responsible. I am the one who will be blamed.”

“The guys have already known both of them well, sir,” said Ficher, adding that we were taking the same English course. Dimas who had been sitting at the porch remained quiet. I guessed he was eavesdropping–or quietly giggling mockingly.

While the landlord was preparing another strike, I decided to let what had been kept in my head out.

“I am sorry, sir. Sincerely.” Though pretty sure that he could not see my pupils at all in the night so late like this, I looked into his eyes . “We are not hobos, sir. What makes us stay here every night is that our dorm is usually locked at 10 pm. Afterwards, we can not get in.”


I stopped for a moment to make sure what I had said could be comprehended by the landlord. Deep in my heart, I realized that I was the one who made mistake by staying at somebody’s house without asking permission beforehand. But that did not necessarily mean he could blame the one who paid for the room in public. The man would seem elegant if he talked the problem to Ficher after Dimas and I went home the next day. I had resided in three different boarding houses in Yogyakarta but never even once experienced such thing.

“Ficher told us that he has a boarding house having no curfew so we decided to come here every time we go back late,” I continued my pleidooi. “However, if his dormitory has one, we will offer him to stay at ours too, sir.”

Again, I remained silent for a while and the last words were floating under the pale light of full moon. Thereafter, I approached the landlord and shook his hand firmly. I stared fixedly at his eyes and said, “Again, I am sorry, sir!” I could sense an uneasy feeling emitting from him.

“I guess Dimas and I are better off,” said I to Ficher. I gently patted his shoulder and gave him an “it’s OK, dude!” gesture.

Afterwards, what was stored in my memory was that I pushed Dimas’ bicycle by hand from the yard; Dimas himself was walking along beside me, still struggling hard to hide his giggling. The living room which had been crowded became still.

And Ficher… Pushing his bike, he followed us. Then we drove to Jendela Mimpi through Brawijaya and Kemuning St. The next day, we became roommates because Ficher moved in to our room.



Over the fence

Mei 19, 2014

I have never rented a bicycle ever since I arrived here about two months ago. In Pare, everyone rides a bicycle to go to their English classes. I choose not to rent one.

Right now, I am staying in a dormitory named Samudra. Located about one kilometer from Elfast, I have to walk for about 10 minutes to the course everyday. I see it as a work out to exercise my fat belly. Besides, I am always eager to do it because I have to step my feet along a small irrigation canal separating beautiful large green rice fields from the bumpy narrow road of Kemuning street. Also, the fresh air of dawn is too good to be passed. Baca entri selengkapnya »


Maret 6, 2014

Barangkali terlalu berlebihan untuk menyebutnya badai. Apalagi saya kurang paham mengenai klasifikasi angin. Namun yang jelas pagi ini angin bertiup teramat kencang. Pohon-pohon cemara di pinggir tebing tak henti goyang. Kabut pembawa dingin terombang-ambing dipermainkan oleh si udara yang bergerak. Meninggalkan jejak berupa putih translusen di Cemoro Kembar, Gunung Lawu. Pos 5 masih berjarak beberapa ratus meter vertikal lagi.

Seolah tak mau kalah, hujan ikut ambil bagian. Di pojok terpal, untuk menampung air Benny menaruh beberapa botol air minum kemasan yang sudah dipangkas bagian atasnya. Akhirnya saya mampu menghayati kalimat “hujan adalah berkah” sebab air meteorit itu turun persis ketika persediaan pemuas dahaga kami semakin menipis. Baca entri selengkapnya »


Januari 25, 2014

Akhirnya kami berlima berbalik arah, kembali menuruni punggungan yang dipenuhi tanaman rumput gajah. Langit telah gelap pekat namun kami urung jua sampai di Danau Ciharus. Hujan semakin lebat, kabut tipis yang nakal menghalangi mata melihat. Tanda-tanda alam itu seakan berusaha memberi pesan bahwa berjalan di malam hari tak akan membawa kami ke mana-mana. “Kalau kata gue sih kita nge-camp dulu di sini,” usul Novel, kawan baru dari Bandung.

Sepakat, tidak satu pun suara protes. Memang begitulah seharusnya ketika tersesat di gunung. Harus satu kepala. Tiap anggota tim harus rela meleburkan egonya ke dalam satu suara bulat. Banyak cincong hanya akan menghasilkan perselisihan. Saya jadi teringat kisah dua orang pendaki Gunung Merbabu, jauh bertahun-tahun yang lalu, yang berselisih paham soal jalan sesaat sebelum mencapai Sabana Pertama. Salah seorang memilih jalur kanan sementara yang lain bersikeras ke jalur kiri. Kata sepakat tak tercapai malah golok yang berbicara. Perselisihan mereka meninggalkan kenangan yang sampai sekarang masih dapat disaksikan para pendaki Merbabu: memoriam. Baca entri selengkapnya »


Januari 20, 2014

Monas menjadi penanda bahwa sebentar lagi kereta yang saya tumpangi dari Bandung akan tiba di Stasiun Besar Gambir. Kereta Argo Parahyangan itu meluncur di bawah langit Jakarta yang kelabu. Ia perlahan melambat sebelum sepenuhnya menghentikan laju. Para penumpang yang semula duduk berbondong-bondong keluar dari gerbong. Bergegas  mereka–dikejar entah apa–mencari pintu keluar untuk masuk ke dalam dunia masing-masing. Barangkali sudah tak sabar ingin menuntaskan urusan yang telah ditunda perjalanan selama tiga jam.

Saya sendiri segera melangkahkan kaki ke sana, ke monumen raksasa perlambang lingga-yoni yang dibangun pada masa orde lama. Monas memang cuma selemparan batu dari Stasiun Gambir. Sudah bertahun-tahun saya mendamba memasukinya, sejak ayah membawakan oleh-oleh kaos putih bergambar Monas dahulu sekali ketika saya bocah. Selama ini saya hanya bisa melihatnya dari jauh; dari kaca jendela kereta Taksaka dalam perjalanan mudik, dari kaca jendela bis Damri yang mengantar saya ke Soekarno-Hatta. Baca entri selengkapnya »

Lewat Pos Cemara

Desember 20, 2013

“Tutupi pakai mantel!” Pinta saya pada Eka ketika hujan mendadak turun dengan lebatnya, hanya beberapa ratus meter dari pos ketiga Gunung Slamet, Pos Cemara. “Aku ambil flysheet dulu. Kita bikin bivak.”

Dengan sigap Eka, Arta, dan saya membentangkan kain berukuran tiga kali tiga meter berwarna hitam itu lalu mengikatkannya dengan tali rafia kuning ke tiap sudut. Dalam beberapa menit saja kemah darurat bikinan kami siap. Lengkap dengan alas berupa mantel hujan dan parit-parit kecil untuk mengalirkan air. Baca entri selengkapnya »


November 18, 2013

Jika saja di Garut saya dan kawan-kawan tak berurusan dengan calo dan supir nakal barangkali kami tak akan pernah berkenalan dengan Pras, Mulki, Garry, dan Astri. Dan entah bagaimana pula nasib mereka: kehujanan di Pondok Salada; meringkuk kedinginan di bawah pohon sejenis cantigi; berlindung sia-sia di antara rumpun bunga abadi yang tak sanggup membendung derasnya terpaan angin gunung?

Menjelang pukul sembilan pagi ketika itu. Akhirnya kami duduk dalam elf yang akan mengantarkan ke Cisurupan, jalur paling umum untuk mendaki Gunung Papandayan. Seorang bapak paruh baya yang tidak jelas calo atau supir mewanti-wanti kami sesaat setelah keril diikat erat di atap mobil, “Pokoknya jangan mau kalau disuruh pindah.” Kami mengangguk sebab tanpa disuruh pun jelas sekali kami tak akan mau diusik dan disuruh pindah dari bangku elf yang sudah terlanjur nyaman ini. Tadi, sembari menunggu Zeni tiba, kami tiduran selama beberapa jam di atas ubin teras mushala Terminal Guntur yang dingin dan keras. Baca entri selengkapnya »


Oktober 26, 2013

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

Suara merak yang membahana seantero Cikasur membangunkan saya dari mimpi yang juga tentang merak. Saya tergeregap, membuka ritsleting tenda, lalu melongokkan kepala keluar. Sekujur tubuh masih dalam balutan kantong tidur. Saya mendapati diri tengah berada di sabana mahaluas.

“Mereka kalau mau terbang heboh, Jo,” ujar Berto, kawan dari Himpala Unas Jakarta, yang kemarin sore telah melihat kawanan burung berperawakan anggun itu. Tenda consina magnum-nya bahkan sudah dihiasi sebatang bulu merak yang tercecer dan telah kehilangan “mata”. Ia lanjut memanasi saya, “Kalau berjalan, Jo, ekornya goyang-goyang.” Baca entri selengkapnya »

Ke Sabang

September 27, 2013

Halaman-halaman jurnal itu saya bolak-balik di bawah lampu temaram ruang tamu rumah. Buku itu bersampul keras dan tebal. Ia semakin tebal dijejali oleh berlembar-lembar tiket bis, kapal, karcis masuk obyek wisata, beberapa lembar foto karya fotografer amatir, serta log-book aktivitas penyelaman dari Rubiah Tirta Divers. Tuntas sudah perjalanan, saatnya sekarang untuk menuliskan catatan.

Siang diselingi rinai ketika itu, hari keberangkatan. Adek mengantarkan saya ke perwakilan bis Antar Lintas Sumatra (ALS) di Jalan Bypass, Padang. Ia yang menyupir. Kami agak terburu-buru sebab salat Jumat di Padang baru selesai menjelang pukul 13.00, sementara menurut tiket saya sudah harus hadir di lokasi pemberangkatan paling lambat pukul 13.30. Dalam riuh saya menata ulang keril. Keringat masih mengucur deras begitu pintu depan mobil saya tutup. Baju abu-abu itu basah. Saya berusaha tenang meskipun dalam hati cemas. Adek mulai memacu si roda empat menjauh dari rumah. Pukul 13.30 semakin dekat dan kami masih di tepi Banda Bakali. Baca entri selengkapnya »


Agustus 22, 2013

Adalah sebuah kesalahan tidak menggunakan baju berlengan panjang ketika mendaki Gunung Singgalang. Miang dari hutan pimpiang, bambu hutan berdiameter kecil yang mendominasi bagian awal pendakian, cukup untuk membuat gatal bagian tubuh sial yang tak dibalut kain. Bersandar pada sebuah tiang listrik, saya usap-usap gatal pada lengan.

Tengah hari saat itu. Adek, Teguh, dan saya baru saja menyelesaikan trek pimpiang. Kami bertiga berhenti sebentar demi menghormati orang-orang yang sedang salat jumat. Hening hanya beradu dengan merdu suara burung. Kepik menjerit-jerit ditingkahi hembusan angin. Sejuk sebab panas mentari meluruh ditapis kanopi hutan tropis. Udara segar merasuk ke dalam paru-paru, juga sagun bakar yang bersatu dengan air segar, semua mengalir beriringan menjejali kerongkongan. Baca entri selengkapnya »


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