THE QUIET BOY DID BECAME A PRIEST.

Lospalos was a city of cold summer breeze when I knew him for the first time at a local middle school.

His name is Jonio. He was a friend of someone introduced to me by somebody. I barely knew him and so did him to me yet by observing him from afar had given me a perception. His facial feature made me guessing if he might have an Indian or Srilankan ethnicity gene. I should have confirmed that to him during our Biology class on genetics (but I never did until today).

Unlike many other boys who tend to be overt, Jonio always looked quiet, gentle and shown serene gesture like Siddarth Gautama after became a Budha, especially when he smiled. He had a smile that could soothe your soul.  Some girls who knew him that time told me that he was typical of ‘quiet outside, but smart inside’ person as he was also known to be a smart boy in his classroom.

According to the general opinion of our girls talk-group (which based on our random unscientific probability theory), this typical guy usually will end up continuing his study at the seminary, a school for Catholic priest-to-be. Therefore, as an advice from our girl’s talk group, do not ever think about dating this type of guy as he would turn down your expectation to make him your future husband. How silly.

That time, when a boy could study in a seminary, he would then be considered as charming and ideal future man by most of the girls in the city – since he was studying in seminary, a school for future priests, future intellectuals and religious leaders. Many Timorese famous political figures were mostly known as seminary students when they were young. So, there was a common impression that a boy who studied in seminary, if he would not end up being a priest, he might turn to a future political leader or an influential figure thus became a potential future husband if you could win his heart.

The seminary students usually would only be seen until they returned home from vacation and only appeared occasionally at the Sunday church mass with an appearance of an eloquent humble gentleman as their new look. It was indeed a style that was once not seen in some of them before they enrolled in seminary school.

But Jonio was an exception. He had possessed that eloquence and humility, even before he enrolled. After finishing middle school, I heard that he enrolled in a popular seminary school located out of the district. For us, the ordinary student, the story of seminary school as a dream school has been just like a fairy-tale. Many people would love to go and study there, but only a few were selected. It was said that the admission to seminary school was strictly selective and rigid. Thus to past the admission test (document check, written and oral test) was already an initial achievement prior to study there.

That was how I believed that the unscientific prediction in our girl’s talkgroup was proven correct. Jonio would be a priest and no girl should dream of dating him and Jonio had never been known or heard to have a crush to any girl or dating since the mid school (or maybe he did but we never notice).

If the invisible label ‘You are now a charming guy for being a seminary student’ can be printed in a salenda, then one day, I thought, when he returned to the city for the vacation, sometimes at Easter or Christmas, he too would have that scarf wrapped around his neck with a lot of congratulations and admiration stares from the girls.  And with this title wrapped in him, despite his charm, those girls would also realize afterward that one day he would be a Catholic priest (who will not marry and live a celibate life). Would he be a priest or would he not?

On a Christmas Eve, I finally befriended him. Thanks to his friend who befriended me so we got acquainted with each other. We were not so close as friends, but it was nice to know him in person and despite his quiet personality, he actually had a good sense of humor and also a good listener. Perhaps because of being a seminary student, he remains to be a quiet, humble and polite boy I ever knew in my teenagehood generation. I never caught or heard him cursing or speak badly to others (maybe he did some and I had not known yet).

After finishing the high school at the seminary school, I heard that he still willing to continue his study in higher seminary school and became a novice of a well known religious community in Timor-Leste.

On one occasion, I had a chance to meet him when he was delivering the child and youth Sunday school service in a village of Uailili in Baucau. I met him again at his seminary school where I dropped by as a visitor. He just had finished lunch with his friends. They had rice, red bean soup and spaghetti with tomato sauce for lunch.  Among them, there was another three familiar faces of my former schoolmates in high school. I went to meet and greet them. We were surprised to see each other as if that day was destined to be a reunion day for the four of us. They told me how they managed to survive in the seminary with  those red bean soup and Italian pasta as the popular menu.

Meanwhile, in a corner of a corridor, I found Jonio  smiled, joked and laughed more when he was with his other seminarist colleagues. Yet when I greet him, I felt that he suddenly turned back to the quiet and polite boy like he usually was.  Seeing him there made me wonder if he would keep going on with his journey to be a future priest or he might change his mind in the middle of the road. Some ex-novices or ex-seminarist friends I knew who quitted in the middle of the road, later reasoned that God did not choose them – as Jesus said ‘for many are called, but few are chosen’  (or maybe it was they themselves who did not want to be chosen, who knew). Would God choose Jonio? Well, it may be or may be not. Only God and Jonio would know.

After another ten years or so, we met again, but only in a virtual world of social media called Facebook -an online book where you can find many faces of everyone in the world include your own face.  Jonio’s rank in his religious community study had raised from a novice to a Brother. We had a cliché conversation about ourselves, about his study or merely greeted each other for the birthday celebration that was notified prior by Facebook. How wonderful it is that today Facebook makes you know more about your friend’s personal identity which in the past was just as discreet as a personal underclothing.

Somehow, in the following years, we did not talk more except clicking thumb up symbol as our ‘like’ reaction when one posted a nice picture or words on the Facebook personal wall. Suddenly, it feels odd to ask the same old thing or many random trivial things to your friends through a virtual world.

Last year, I saw that he was in Manila, Philippine, one of the Catholic majority country in Southeast Asia. He studied there with his community fellows. Sometimes, he also posted some nice touristy places they visited in Manila. Mostly beaches with beautiful clear blue water and white sand like Cristo Rei beach in Dili. Anyway, I felt proud and wondering about him as well. Would he keep going ahead with his study? Only he knew.

This year, I saw him already ordained as a deacon in Manila and he looked contented when he did his liturgical tasks. On one post, it is shown him Christiniazing a Filipino baby in a church. I did not know why, I suddenly felt emotionally surprised,  touched and proud at the same time seeing him gracefully conducted his service.

Last month, I read another post about his official announcement of ordination in Fatumaca, Baucau. I could not go even though I really wanted to. I wished his ordination mass would be held in Dili. Then after a few weeks, he posted another announcement that there would be a thanksgiving mass for his ordination to be held in his home town. Again, I could not go because it is too far from Dili. I would miss out again to see him holding his first mass in his hometown for the first time and witnessing another remark of his journey in a religious path.

Well, I could only extend my virtual congratulations and best wishes in the Facebook comment box that already crowded with many other people’s congratulations words. And so, the quiet boy I used to know in the middle school had officially become a priest and yes he did.

Deep inside my heart, I do know and I would like him to know that I felt so happy and proud of him and wish him for the best in his journey being a priest. May he continue to be the chosen one.

                  ***

Salenda = a Timorese typical woven clothes scarf

To fr. J.

Gentlemen’s Hangout in Maubisse.

Two men on sunbathing chat in Maubisse, Timor-Leste

‘My Brother’

‘Yes’

‘What a beautiful morning, is it not?’

‘Yeah. It is indeed.’

‘The sun rays are nicely warm.

‘Yeah. It is.’

‘Let’s do sunbathing with these lovely babies of ours.’

‘Sure, my brother. They will love it.’

‘My dear brother…’

‘Yes.’

‘Something is bothering me.’

What is it? Do tell me. 

‘I received a news that a relative from my wife’s family has just passed away.’

‘Oh poor you… Sorry to hear that. So why it bothers you?’

‘I do not have enough money to submit for my family clan’s contribution. May I ask you to lend me some? Please do help me’

‘Oh man… No worry. I’ll see what I can do for you later. But now, let us enjoy this beautiful sunbathing first.’

Maubisse (Timor-Leste), September, 2017.

Nina’s Death

Monday night, at around 8 pm

Nina just passed away

After hospitalized for seven hours

For drinking certain milliliters of poison 

From a bottle of  battery water.

The medicals tried their best

But ended up unsucces.

‘Nina passed away?’ The father asked. 

‘My Nina passed away?’  The mother asked.

‘No, this is impossible!’

‘This cannot be!’

‘Ninaa, our beloved Ninaa…No…’

‘You cannot do this to us, your parents. 

You cannot leave us like this, oh my dear, my only beloved daughter. 

How can you  do this to us, my dear?’ 

‘Lord, have mercy on us.’

***

Nina, an adolescent girl. She was the only girl among her two brothers sibling. She was on her last semester of bachelor at a local university in Dili. 

On the night of her death, the whole family and relatives were shocked. They said on her last day she did not appear to act odd at all. 

In the morning she still went to the nearby shop to buy electricity credit cards for pre-paid electricity at their house. Everything seemed normal.

She did not say anything strange or harsh to anyone either. She went on quiet and serene. They said she had been a quiet girl since she was a little girl and the most quiet girl in the family. 

Now, the family are all shocked and confuse on why she ended up her life that way. They said, they have no idea why Nina did so. She did not say anything at all during the day before she was hospitalized. 

Now, they said they do not know why at all.

But I do not believe them.

Nina has a secret she kept or the family has a secret to keep. 

Nina…

May her soul rest in peace.

Dili, 2 July 2018.

The White Cloud

Long time ago, when I was still a child, I loved to see the white cloud floating up in the sky. I was curious on how that white cloud could always float that way and did not fall.

When I heard people saying that the cloud falls back to the earth as rain, I continued to not believe that the rain is the cloud that turned itself.

Today, when crissing this cloud and looking at them through the galass window, I still admire how this cloud that from the down there my eyes saw as a solid form can be penetrated by the aiplanewithout destroying it.

This cloud keeps floating as usual. Perhaps, it is the same with my hope that I shall have.

On the Sky of Dili-Oecusse, 6/2018

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The Hot Wisdom Tea

Every morning, the universe pour the hot wisdom tea from its teapot to my small tea glass.  

I have to wait till it gets warm before I could sip it slowly to finish. 

Sometimes, I also have to blow it so I can inhale its smell.

If I drink it at one gulp, then I will not truly feel its  sweetness.

Batugade, 22/6/2018

FOR THE WORLD CUP

‘Hey listen,
I like Argentina.’
‘You like Brazil?
‘He likes France.’
‘She likes Germany.’
‘We like Italy…’
‘You like Mexico?’
‘They like Portugal.’
‘Each of us with our preferences, right?’


Every night, here we gather
In front of a TV screen belongs to a decent neighbour.
Watching the soccer match starts
scanning who the players are
judging how well they perform
betting which team will won at last
Yelling when one shoots the goal
Cursing when one cannot make it
Counting the time slot, analyzing the penalty, describing the match. Dramatically.
‘It is fun. It is intense. Stimulating. Dissappointing’. Everybody comment.
For almost a month will we bound to this gathering
As this is the month of World Cup
With a hot Timor coffee served in the plastic cup
By the mumbling wife of the TV owner.

VZ

Villa-verde, 19/6/2018.

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“A Very Small Boat”

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This ocean is very wide

And I am a very small boat

From this shoreline I look

The waves sometimes slam with anger

The waves sometimes are silent and do not care at all

Listen to the singing wind

Sometimes it screams

Sometimes it whispers

Seeing the farewell of the sun

Remaining with myself’s company in a solitude

I am a boat, a very small one and alone.

Lecidere, April 2016

 

“A Very Small Boat” https://medium.com/@vitaliaze/a-very-small-boat-c766fbd7654b

Message from the Earth

Gambar terkait
Geraldo a young 25 years old angel was looking at the Earth-Time-Counter screen when Chiquito another 24 years old angel came to him.
‘Counting time again heh?… Why do you love to spend your time with that stuff? Come with me. Let’s go explore some other place in this Universe of Heaven.’ Chiquito said looked at Geraldo impatiently.
‘Today is 31st October in Earth Siquito…’ Geraldo replied.
‘Yes… and tomorrow will be 1 of November. I know how that Earth-Time-Counter works. So… what?’ Siquito asked.
‘You know what. We both always receive the message from the Earth on 1 November Siquito.’
‘Yeah…we always do. And what should we do with that?’
‘Do you remember what our Great Teacher said in our Life-on-Earth class?’
‘Which one?’
‘That the message we receive from earth is prayers from everyone who lives there as the human being.’
‘Ah… that one. yes..I remember now. What is the matter with that?’
‘I am wondering with the family who sent the message to both of us. I often heard the woman called my name, your name and then she will cry alone. Usually, it is in the early morning or midnight of their earth time. Sometimes I can hear her husband speak a lot of things with me in his loneliness as if I am there with him. Don’t you want to know why they become so?’
‘Hmmmm… perhaps in the past we also took part in their life?’
‘That can be possible. The Great Teacher said the prayers from the earth are the message that reconnects people on earth and angels in heaven. All angels are once sent to earth to live as the human being before return to this Heaven as an angel again.’
‘Maybe we can go the Library to find out our life as human being in the ‘Book of Earth People’?’
‘Yeah… that’s good thing to do. Come on.’

Geraldo and Siquito then went to the Library to find out the Book of Earth People. It took them quite long to find out their names as the human on earth as there are millions of similar names. Siquito almost gives up with the searching but then Geraldo came up with the idea to find out about the family who sent the prayer message. It is easy for them to find out about every human being on Earth as they have access to see it like accessing a worldwide platform of atlas of the world.

Meanwhile, in Earth, a woman was crying silently inside her zinc house. Tomorrow will be 1 November. The day she believes to be The Day of All Angels as what she had learned from the Sunday mass preach. She believes that tomorrow, her late two sons will be visiting her in the form of angel. She wonders how would they look like now if they are still alive. They may have became a well built and handsome young boy. They would be tall, had black hair and sharp eyes and thick eyebrow like the Bollywood stars she usually watches from TV series. She can imagine if they are with her now, she would cook their favorite food, asking them to help her in her kiosk and their father’s kiosk at the market. She would ask them to fix every broken thing in the house. She would ask them to advise their little brother on how to be a well-mannered man. She would see them studying in the university in Dili or one of them may have got a scholarship and study abroad or just studying in Indonesia and the school fee would be paid by their elder sister who is now residing in Dili. Oh… how she miss hearing their manly chatters in the house.
The imagination of them made her think about the past years where they were born as little babies. Things were difficult as food is scarce and money is a luxurious thing during the difficult years of the 80s. She and her family were just returned from their village located near Matebian mountain and surrendered to the Indonesian government. Her husband had to leave her to find a job in another city leaving her with the little daughter and her family to sustain themselves with little money he left. Days kept going and the money left is about to go. She had to find a job to sustain her household. She works in rice-field and got a little share of rice for her family and to sustain her second pregnancy. She had a baby boy, her first baby boy and he is adorably cute. She felt happy though life was still difficult for her. She continues to work in the rice-field and had her relatives looked after the baby. But on the eight-month, the baby passed away after had a high fever. She felt a deep sadness for the lost. Her husband returned from the other city and he too felt sorry for the lost. He wished he could be always there with her wife.
Starting new page of her life after the loss, one day she found out that she was pregnant again. She was so happy and she tried not work too hard. She had another baby boy, the second baby boy. She believed the baby was the reincarnation of her first baby. This time she dedicated all her time to be with the baby though she had to try to live frugally with little money which sometimes not enough to buy a bag of rice. Her husband then came and brought her to move to the other city where he lives. The baby grew healthily. But one day, at his tenth month, the baby has a high fever and has to stay during a week in the hospital for treatment. She felt a huge fear haunting her again. Deep in her heart, she asked the God to not take away her baby. But life had another response to her request. The hospital tried to refer her baby to a bigger hospital in another city that took two hours trip. On the way, the baby passed away. She lost her baby again.
It’s been a while when she sat at the back of the shelf and crying but then she quickly has to stop when somebody calling said ‘Kiosk’, a code word means to buy something. It’s a customer. She then rubbed her teary eyes with the handkerchief before she met the customer. There, two young boys with age around 25 and 24 years old stand there looked at her silently for a moment.
‘Yes.. .what do you want to buy?’ She asked them.
‘Two coca cola and a pack of biscuit.’ One of them said. The woman picked the mentioned stuff and handed to them. They both sit on the verandah in front of her kiosk* and eat. It was a hot midday. She stands from the window of the kiosk and looked at them. She felt as if her two late sons are still alive, they may age like these two boys. She saw how they eat the biscuit. She could feel that they were hungry. Without knowing why she felt pity for them.
She then went into the house. She came back with two plates of rice with stir-fried vegetables and fried chicken. The two boys still sat there. She called to the two boys, offered the meal and hand over the plates to each of them, asking them to sit there and eat. The two boys felt shy and rejected the offer at first but the woman kept insisting and then they accepted it. She smiled when she saw how they eat the food wholeheartedly. She felt as if her two late sons are there with her at the moment. She then went back to continue baking the bread to sell. After a while, the two boys finished eating and they handed back the plates. They say thank you to the woman. They stand there in the window of her kiosk just to look at her made the dough for the bread. They observed how she made a phone call to somebody from distance that she called with a lovely name. The woman is talking about how she missed her two late baby boys and how they would look like if they still alive.
After the lady finished her phone call, the two boys called to her to excuse themselves and say farewell to the woman. The woman says goodbye to them. But before they left, the boy who is a bit elder tell her:
’Please do not be sad mom…. We both are always watching you from the heaven…’
The woman stood freeze for a while as if the world has Just stopped. She felt blank. She tried to call them back but they had disappeared nowhere to know. She did not know what to do next. She wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. In her euphoria, she took a box of candles and light the candles in the Oratorio and started to pray for her two angel-son’s soul.
Dedicated to Two Brothers in Heaven VZ
*Kiosk = small grocery shop
**Oratorio = a miniature praying house
VZ, Dili, 31 Oct 2017