What do you see during the concert of pop music at heart of the city?
Is it the setting of the stage where the blinking lights are all around?
Is it the unstoppable speech of the host?
The native and foreign singers who sing with their beautiful voices?
The dancers who shake themselves in an amazing style?
Or, the crowds who surface like ants?
As for me. I am not only looking at these things.
Eyes of mine supposed to only look straightforward, yet they draw me to see a five-year-old boy holding a bunch of five balloons and selling them around.
Then, a father holding her little daughter buys a pink balloon from the five-year-old boy who sold the balloon. The father gives the balloon to her daughter. The little girl laughs out excitedly.
After that, a woman came along and took the little girl from her father. She kissed her daughter with laughter.
The three of them stand right in front of me holding the pink balloon they just bought and watching the concert of pop music at the heart of the city.
Now, I am the one who cannot see that concert of pop music at the heart of the city.
Largo Lecidere, Dili, Timor-leste, August 29, 2017
It was the last day of June 2013.
I was full of excitement as a teen.
Waiting for my Sriwijaya flight at the Nicolau Lobato Airport in Dili.
With a mind of a wanderer, I asked, “Would this trip be a jolly?”.
Later the flight came and I went ahead in a tremble along the departure gate.
I got on the airplane; a beautiful air hostess with red dress greeted me.
She had the most beautiful smile of the day.
I showed her my boarding pass; she guided me to my seat.
I sat contently yet carefully paying attention instead.
Another air hostess was demonstrating the flight safety guide.
After an hour, the plane left the ground and started to take off. My heart jumped.
‘I am flying high!’ my mind exclaimed.
It was my first trip from Dili to Jakarta.
There is a short transit at Ngurah Rai airport of Denpasar in Bali.
That was also my first time to see Bali, although just at a glance.
Down there, I saw Bali’s beautiful blue sea with the white cliffs.
The red-brown houses formed like beads.
They spread over a huge green carpet of its green field.
A very long bridge shaped a curvy line over the sea.
How I wondered to explore those places one day.
“Oh, how wonderful isn’t it?” myself said.
I had heard about Bali since I was a child in 1990s.
People said that Bali is an island of gods, a paradise for tourists.
That time, I wish that one day I too could visit Bali, as a tourist.
I wanted to see the gods. I wanted to enjoy being at its paradise.
Finally, my wish did come true. Even though only for an instance.
Vitalia Ze, Dili-Bali-Jakarta, 30 June 2013.
‘How many times should I forgive? Seven times?’ I asked.
‘No. Not seven times but seventy times seven times.’ He replied.
Then, I started to count on how many times I had forgiven yet this is my first time learn about forgiving.
VZ, March 21, 2017
A long time ago I knew him briefly but not closely. He is a charming, friendly and an easy going person I ever know. I saw him for the first time when he was still a teacher and a learner in that eastern land. He always shares a sweet smile and warm greeting to everyone. That made me thought that he would be a bright future prophet.
After a few years, I met him again briefly. That time, we met in the center of the Rocky city where he was in rush to catch a bus to Dili. Yet he was still able to greet me and tell me about his new life.
‘I am going abroad after this’ he said with a bright smile. He looked so happy.
‘Abroad? To where?’ I asked.
‘USA. I got a scholarship.’ he said proudly.
‘Wow. That’s great maun*. Congratulation!’ I responded to him with amazement and so we shared our farewell.
After several years, I met him again in the road of Palapaço in Dili. This time, he appeared with a new look and charismatic aura. He stopped, looked at me with his big friendly smile and greeted me yet I look at him in wandering, trying to recognize him.
‘Hey, it’s me. Have you forgotten me?’
After a few minutes, I smiled and looked at him with surprise.
‘Mine, you look great maun. Totally changed. What’s your secret?’ I said.
‘No. No secret at all. I am still the same as before’ he answered with a humble smile.
After a brief Q&As on our latest life updates, we shared our farewell.
Today, I heard again about his journey with disbelief.He is lying in the hospital bed for few months due to kidney failure. He looked so thin and pale yet he still managed to smile while receiving much material and immaterial support from his friends. All of them wish him to recover soon.
From this distance, I continue to wish him a miracle. I hope that, as of the prophet who was swallowed by the whale, he could also receive his miracle after three days of faithful waiting.
Here, I continue to hold on the hope that we could meet again someday, With him smiling genuinely at me and said ‘Hi, it’s me again. I am back.’
*maun = brother in Tetum Language.
VZ, Dili, September 7th 2016
Here comes the night while both my eyes do not yet fall asleep.
In the muteness of the night, I hereby sit and think about how yesterday we met in a temporary eclipse after we have parted for few weeks due to the different rotation we are running.
Last night, together we accompany each other with the stories of yours and mine.
We had the storybook of McQueen and his friend Mater, which is also your favorite movie, got along with us in our reading together session. However, I was the one who read, whereas you only listened and asked questions.
I hope that you were able to pick some lessons from the storybooks I have read to you.
Then, you lingered yourself into my cuddle during some minutes. Before, I used to love counting the duration of this magical moment from one to five. However, you always forbade me to not counting up until you wanted to release me by yourself.
In fact, if only you know, I never want to release you from this beautiful cuddling. The cuddling from two small arms that are so tight yet always strengthens my heart.
The cuddling that empowers me, when I almost give up.
The cuddling that encourages me when I was afraid.
The cuddling that really warms me up when I feel cold.
O Little Star, this cuddling will remain felt here although my rotation has shifted from you.
I beseech you; let your light continue to shine thus it will shine me within these half distances between us.
Good night, Little Star…
VZ, Dili, March 13th, 2016