Rinjani Mountain: A Dazzling Screen in Small Island

Written by Youme Hanesfu Noor 

Edited by Ninik Tri Astutik

Where is Rinjani mountain located? 

A trip to Rinjani mountain tourist attractions takes about three or four hours from Lombok International Airport. You can depart from the airport then will pass through the Jelojok market in Kopang, Central Lombok then proceed to North Lombok where Rinjani is located. Rinjani Mountain is a famous place in Lombok where it has become a place for climbing tours coming from all over the country year to year. Rinjani has been famous for its height reaching 3.726 meters making it the 5th highest mountain in Indonesia. Rinjani has a beautiful and amazing way, a huge water dam and a unique milk cave. The landscapes are full of steep cliffs, valleys and small rivers that come from mountain sulfur water. To reach Rinjani’s peak, you can go through the Sembalun route where its route is full of downhill. You will hardly find spring but it is easy to find people who sell food. Another way you can cross is through the Torean route also known as the heaven route because there are plenty of forests and valleys along the way. You will probably witness many monkeys climbing trees and every mountain way with a handful of bread and fruits given by people.

Why should we go to Rinjani mountain?

Rinjani is a heavenly place. There are famous landmarks because of their uniqueness such as Segara Anak and Susu Cave. Segara Anak is a huge water dam that has been a legendary story of the beauty of Mount Rinjani. With clear water, the huge water dam can be used for taking a bath or even drinking water. Don’t feel bad when the food stock runs out because people usually do fishing or prepare bait for catching fish. On the journey to the peak, many people probably don’t know there is a place called Susu Cave where ‘susu’ refers to the word ‘milk’. This place is a rest area to whoever returned from the peak. This is also famous as a place of ‘medication’ due to local residents’ belief that when people who bathe are like being reborn in other worlds and erased their committed sins.

What should we know about Rinjani Mountain? 

The top of Rinjani is not the only beauty we will see. Have you ever known that Rinjani Mountain has a place called the Pelawangan Gate? The older adults still believe in the custom that they must pray when going through the Pelawangan Gate. They said that they should pray for God’s protection when climbing the mountain because it is known that we entered a different realm. You may not believe it, just so that you know. 

What things do we need to be aware of? 

For people who are interested in visiting Rinjani, they need to prepare several important things before getting there. Beginners usually don’t know when to start. First, they need to be aware of their physical condition. This may sound trivial yet in fact, this is an important thing to not be underestimated. Second, you have to prepare items such as clothes, medicines, food and other personal equipment you may need. Another important thing is the weather, it’s a very cold and foggy place during the day and slippery at night especially in the rainy season. The temperature reaching 12 degrees celsius means that you need to prepare a thick coat, jacket,  blanket, and mantel to keep yourself warm. If you plan to climb at night, a flashlight is a must to see every track in the journey. One thing you need to know is you need to stick as a crutch in every step when you climb uphill and downhill areas. For that, you need shoes as well as hats to protect yourself. The shoes will protect your feet from dangerous objects and other factors, meanwhile hats will protect you from direct sunlight.


Thus, every year tourists come to Rinjani Mountain to enjoy nature and capture breath-taking pictures. SO ARE YOU. Invite your friends to come to Lombok and climb the Rinjani Mountain. Don’t worry if you are alone because you can have road guides to get you into the journey. Enjoy every trip and keep safe so that you reach your destination with natural beauty. Let’s together see the beauty of the mountain which brings an extraordinary experience and the moment that can’t be forgotten.

Buying Interest in Korean Beauty Products in Indonesia

Written by Sekar Luhur Widjayanti

Edited by Chintya Arlita 

The cosmetics sector in Indonesia is witnessing continuous expansion year after year. The rapid growth of the cosmetics industry is directly linked to the increasing demand for beauty products. Beauty products have transitioned from being mere aspirational items to becoming essential commodities. The increase in the cosmetic sector in Indonesia is attributable to imported cosmetics rather than domestic cosmetics. Indonesian customers prefer global cosmetic items to local products, particularly those from South Korea. Companies have implemented various strategies to bolster consumer interest, including leveraging electronic word of mouth, refining brand image, and enlisting celebrity endorsers.

A consumer’s perception or comprehension of a product brand is portrayed in their memory through brand associations. Consumers utilize the brand image as a guide or reference when trying and using a product. Consumers with prior product experience are more likely to select well-known products or brands. Consumers believe a famous brand is trustworthy, high-quality, and easy to obtain. The indicators used to measure brand image factors include strength, distinctiveness, and favorability. In addition to brand image, firms employ various methods to stimulate consumer purchasing interest, such as using well-known celebrities to promote their products. The celebrity endorser who promotes it has a more substantial influence on consumer purchasing interest since celebrities are famous and the center of attention.

Lastly, electronic word of mouth refers to the positive or negative opinions about a product shared by consumers on the internet based on their usage experience. The findings derived from analyzing various dimensions of electronic word of mouth – namely intensity, sentiment, and content – lead to the conclusion that electronic word of mouth significantly impacts an individual’s online product choices. This information holds great relevance to a person’s decision-making process. The existence of recommendations or reviews given by other consumers can influence consumer purchasing decisions. In addition, security and services for online transactions can influence consumers to purchase using the e-commerce application. The existence of electronic word of mouth will help the parties involved in it, from e-commerce developers and sellers to buyers.

A Journey Closer to Allah SWT Through a Collection of Beautiful Sentences


Photo via Goodreads

Written by Grace Devi Ellesta Pagawak

Edited by Chintya Arlita

If you are seeking a book that delves into identity and brings you closer to Allah, look no further than this gem by A. Helwa. This book takes readers on a spiritual journey about Islam, beautifully penned in an easy-to-understand yet profound language.

The book explores the relationship between God and humanity, delving into Allah’s love for His servants and vice versa. It emphasizes the significance of worship and devotion to Allah SWT and also discusses the concept of life after death. As you read this book, you will be inspired to feel a deeper closeness to Allah and understand the boundless love He has for us.

This book has been published in English across six countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It is for people on the edge of their faith who have experienced religion as a harsh winter instead of a life-sustaining spring from God.

For those who are going through a phase of declining faith, this book serves as a guiding light. In fact, it is a must-have for every Muslim, as it beautifully addresses the fundamentals of human-God relationships. The language is not only easy-to-understand but also heart-touching, making it a true delight to read.

In summary, A. Helwa’s book is an enlightening work that will resonate with anyone seeking to strengthen their bond with Allah and explore the depths of their spirituality.

Uang Panai: Makassar’s Enduring Tradition of Respect and Love Toward Women

Written by Bulan Indah Armalia

Edited by Ninik Tri Astutik 

Have you ever believed that humans bought humans?‘. Here is another unique culture coming from Makassar, South Sulawesi. This province has a unique cultural tradition known as Uang Panai. Uang Panai is a compulsory dowry from the groom or groom’s family to the bride’s family. The bride’s family receives customary presents as a symbol of respect for letting their daughter marry into the family. The Uang Panai or Panaik has been rooted and passed down in Makassar and Buginess culture from the prior generation. The amount of Uang Panai is typically discussed between two families and varies depending on its aspects. It includes the family’s social background and the bride and groom’s education level.

Women are deeply valued and respected in Makassar culture. The Panaik custom is a method of honoring a woman’s status in society and gratitude for the bride’s family to raise and educate the bride’s daughter. It is also a sign of the seriousness of the groom to get a woman he loves. The groom’s family must first seek permission from the bride’s family to propose and marry their daughter. Once the approval is granted, the two families will negotiate and agree on the given amount of the Panaik money. 

Generally, the Uang Panai ritual occurs a few weeks before the wedding. The first stage of the processions is Mappese-pese. A man will appoint a family representative to visit the bride’s family to propose to his chosen woman. Madutta or Massuro, the groom’s representative family, comes to negotiate the nominal amount of Panaik with the bride’s family. Mappenre, the groom’s family visit and bring the agreed-upon Panaik money to the bride’s family. After completing the previous stage, it is time to determine which good day to hold the reception party, Mappettu.  

Throughout the years, the custom evolved, and some families have begun to include modern items like electronics and home appliances along with their Panaik money. This custom provides gold, silver, jewelry, textiles, or other valuable items. The Uang Panai ritual is more than simply a formality. It also symbolizes the symbiotic relationship of two families to come together and deepen their bonds during the time. In conclusion, the Uang Panai tradition is a unique cultural practice in the Makassar community and reflects the values or beliefs of its community. This tradition has stood the test of time and remains an essential aspect of the Makassar culture as part of Indonesia. 

Exploring Yogyakarta’s Rich History: A Journey through Vredeburg Fort Museum

Photo via Wikipedia

Written by Amelia Putri

Edited by Ninik Tri Astutik


Do you know there is a very famous museum in Yogyakarta? If we cross Jalan Malioboro, along this road up to zero kilometers, we will find commercial and colonial buildings, including Vredeburg Fort Museum. Have you heard about this building? It’s your sign to come to this Museum if you haven’t. But how do we go to the Museum? To get to the Vredeburg Museum, we can use public or private transportation, and you can freely choose which one you prefer. One public transportation we can use in Yogyakarta is Trans Jogja. Then, what is Trans Jogja?

Trans Jogja is a public transportation widely used by Jogja people, from young to adults. Trans Jogja runs daily from 05:30 to 21:30, except on special days when the operating hours’ change. With these hours of operation, it will be easier for the local community to use the Trans Jogja. First, you can wait at the bus stop near your house. The bus will stop every ten minutes. Second, you have to buy a ticket that costs around Rp. 3,600, and Rp. 2,700 when you’re on a subscription. Along the way up to the Museum, you will stop at the Malioboro bus stop. Arriving at the Museum, you pay Rp. 3,000 for the entrance tickets and you can see everything in the Museum. Then, what is Museum Vredeburg? And what will you see in this Museum? 

Vredeburg Fort Museum is one of the buildings that has become a silent witness to historical events in Yogyakarta since the Dutch colonial arrived in Yogyakarta. The Vredeburg Fort Museum has four diorama rooms. Diorama 1 consists of 11 mini-ramas depicting events from the time of Prince Diponegoro to the Japanese occupation of Yogyakarta. Diorama 2 consists of 19 mini-ramas depicting the historical events of Proclamation Day from the Dutch Military Aggression in Indonesia. Diorama 3 consists of 18 mini-ramas depicting events from the Renville Agreement to the recognition of the sovereignty of the United States of Indonesia. Diorama 4 consists of 7 mini-ramas that depict historical events from the period of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia to the New Order period. 

When I visited the Museum, one room caught my attention: the digital diorama. The diorama was displayed with a projector and explained about “Serangan Umum 1 Maret.” This immersive experience made me understand better and appreciate the value of Yogyakarta’s history. A visit to the Vredeburg Fort Museum truly enriches the passage of time and offers a deeper understanding of the historical events that shaped this city. 

For this reason, the Vredeburg Fort Museum is a must-visit destination for a glimpse into the historical events in Yogyakarta. With four diorama rooms, the Museum beautifully presents key moments to enhance our self-awareness of the Special Region of Yogyakarta. A visit to this famous Museum is a journey that will make visitors feel the deep historical significance of this region.

A Queen of Diplomacy Against Patriarchy: Ratu Kalinyamat

Photo via Wikipedia


Written by Kayla Artamevia Putri

Edited by Ninik Tri Astutik


Today is a free day at Hyde Park. There are plenty of activities people usually do. Instead, people listen to bird songs, watch the ducks walking into the lake, parents play with their kids in the playground, and I am laying down on the grass under the tree, reading the book I bought two days ago. I am also waiting for my friend, who is busy queuing for vanilla ice cream among a group of children at the ice cream stall. 

Instead of focusing on the book, I open Twitter on my phone and read the latest issue about patriarchy and gender equality that is controversial in Indonesia. I immediately thought about how patriarchal culture still exists around me, even in my family. 

“Hey! I thought you were reading your book tho, no?” said Ban. 

Banyu Mahajana, my Indonesian best mate. He is studying and attending the same Uni with me in London. Back to the topic, he finally came back complete with the two ice creams in his two hands after patiently waiting in the ice cream stall. 

“I did, but I chose to read this hot issue in Indonesia. You know FOMO is my middle name. Thank you for the ice cream, by the way!” I said. 

“What kind of hot issue again, now? Mim, please stop reading the endless issue on Indonesia’s Twitter trending!” said Ban with a laugh and continued eating his ice cream. 

“It’s about the patriarchy issue, Ban. There is a group of women who share the knowledge about patriarchy and gender equality, then some freak men on Twitter said that it was not even a big deal and women are supposed to be under man, though.” 

“Oh I see, I almost forgot that some Indonesian people are still dealing with those kinds of issues.”

“I don’t know how Ibu Kartini would feel if she knew about this. She fought about women’s rights, but now there are still men who think that it is not a big deal, huh?” Ban answered. 

“I know in Islam, the position of women is under the men, but the way that people see this is like they only think about the benefit of themselves, not about the women who are always being the victim,” repeated Ban. 

“Talking about Ibu Kartini, do you know Ban, there was a woman like Kartini and she was a Queen in Jepara, her name is Ratu Kalinyamat.” I said. 

“Oh, really? I haven’t heard about her.” said Ban curiously. 

“She was a Queen of Jepara, she was known to be very assertive, brave and she broke all assumptions about women leaders. But do you know what, even though she is a Queen and the leader of the navy, she is still submissive and respectful to her husband like what Al-Quran said!”

After her husband died, Ratu Kalinyamat became the ruler of Jepara. In the 16th century, she brought Jepara to glory. Her nickname was written in the history notebook of Diego do Couto, a historian from Portugal and said, “Rainha de Japara, senhora poderosa e rica, de kranige Dame.” which means queen of Jepara, a powerful and wealthy woman, a woman of courage. Ratu Kalinyamat developed various strategies in various sectors (economic, social, political, and defense) and established diplomatic relations with multiple kingdoms in Nusantara. Moreover, she also set up the shipyard industry in Jepara by utilizing teak wood as a superior commodity. Her journey was written in the book ‘Literature of Java’ by Dr. Th Pigeaud. It stated that the Jepara shipyard industry was the best and most extensive in Southeast Asia, and its products were in great demand by European nations. 

She is an inspirational woman in leadership and a symbol of determination because of her decision-making processes. It proves that women can play a vital role in communities and break down the barriers perpetuating gender-based discrimination. Now, it is our time to advocate and support women’s empowerment in creating a more inclusive society to contribute to a better world. 

Banyu just listened to my story with an O expression until we realized the sun was about to set. That’s how we usually spend our free days. 

Things to Pay Attention to in Cross-Cultural Communication

Communication is an intermediary to build good relationships with other people. However, to achieve the communication goals, we should pay attention to dos and don’ts in communication with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds. It is because something that has a good connotation in our culture does not necessarily have a good meaning in other cultures. Therefore, the following are the things to pay attention to in communicating across cultures.



In Indonesia, we usually begin a conversation by asking about personal things such as work, school, family, etc. It is acceptable in some other Asian cultures, but we shouldn’t do it when communicating with people with straightforward cultures like France, the United States, etc.


Another example is that we often post photos of friends to congratulate on social media, and the person mentioned feels the need to repost it. However, taking photos and posting them without the person’s permission can be considered an invasion of privacy for people from more individualistic cultures. In cross-cultural interactions, we should strive to understand the privacy limits of people from other cultures.


Cultural and Political Awareness

“Where are you from?” is a question we often ask to open a conversation. However, when we visit a country with a large number of immigrants, such as the United States, this question can offend Asian descent there. Many of them have lived for a long time and become citizens of the United States. Hence, asking this question seems to doubt their nationality and contains stereotypes.


In addition, talking about political issues from one’s country can offend a person, for example: asking a friend from Taiwan whether Taiwan should be independent or part of the People’s Republic of China; or talking about the relationship between North and South Korea with a South Korean citizen who comes to our event.


Personal Space

Personal space limits how close someone can be around us without causing discomfort. Personal space is usually influenced by culture, the closeness of relationships, age, gender, to religion. For example, Indonesians generally have less personal space due to crowded public areas, such as in public transportation. It doesn’t matter when we enter other people’s personal space; we just apologize, then it will be clear. In contrast to Australians who are used to keeping one arm’s distance when communicating with other people, it depends on how close and good the relationship is.


Another example, British people often give a lot of personal space; they even feel uncomfortable if someone sits or stands close to them when there is other space available. Similarly, Spaniards maintain a distance of about half a meter from each other, but most men are less protective of their personal space, and women are more comfortable with closeness.


Physical Touch

Not all countries have the same culture of physical contact. Some areas consider it something that should be avoided, especially for new people. It is because physical touch is a sign of closeness or depth of affection between one another.


For example, in France, physical touch during communication is legal and is considered affection. However, physical touch is greatly minimized in Japan, unless it is unavoidable in public places.


Gesture and Body Language

We must pay attention to gestures and body language when communicating with others. It could be that the body language that we think is good may not necessarily have the same meaning elsewhere. For example, making a sign by sticking the thumb and forefinger, we usually know as a sign of okay, good, and right. However, this sign can be misunderstood when we use it in Germany. Whereas in Russia and Brazil, this symbol has a bad connotation and is very disrespectful.


Generalizations as in the examples above are used as insights only, do not use them to create stereotypes. The best use of generalizations is to add them into knowledge to understand better and appreciate other fascinating and multifaceted human beings.


Indonesian Food Names from Foreign Languages

Colonialism that occurred in Indonesia had an impact on the Indonesian vocabulary. Some words in Indonesian come from English, Dutch, Mandarin and Portuguese. These several countries have colonized and settled in Indonesia for a certain period, so they provide some foreign words adapted in Indonesian.

One of the adapted word categories is found in Indonesian food names. Even the food was brought by foreigners and assimilated as local food. So what are the names of Indonesian food that originally come from foreign languages?

Here are some Indonesian foods whose names are adopted from foreign languages.


  1. Bakpia

Bakpia is a food that developed in Yogyakarta and has become one of the specialties of this area. Historically, Bakpia is a food originally from China brought by Chinese immigrants in the early decades of the 20th century. The name Bakpia comes from the Chinese Hokkien dialect, from the words “bak” which means meat, and “pia” which means cake. That implies Bakpia as a cake with meat in it. Over time, the stuffing of bakpia was adapted to Indonesian culture by replacing the contents with green beans.


  1. Siomay

The name siomay comes from Mandarin “shaomai.” In Cantonese, it is called “siu maai,” while it is known as “shaomai” in the Beijing dialect. Initially, Siomay used minced pork as the main ingredient and wrapped it with thin wheat flour. In Indonesia, Siomay is generally made with mackerel or chicken as the main ingredient and served with peanut sauce. It was popular in the Bandung area, so it’s not surprising that many Somay traders claim the “Siomay Bandung” name.


  1. Perkedel

Perkedel’s name comes from the Dutch language “frikadel or frikadeller”. This food was brought by the Dutch when they colonized Indonesia. At first, the ingredients for making Perkedel were minced meat and then fried. While in Indonesia, it was made from potatoes and spices as the main ingredients.


  1. Bistik

Bistik or more popularly called steak is a culinary product resulting from the assimilation of Western and Indonesian cultures. The entry of steak into Indonesia cannot be separated from the colonizers who brought their regional food to Indonesia. The name Bistik is adopted from “Beef Steak” in English, or “Biefstuk” in Dutch which means cow meat. Bistik is usually served with potatoes, peas, and carrots as a compliment.


  1. Nasi Tim

Nasi Tim is a Chinese-Indonesian acculturated food. However, the Tim name comes from the English word “steam” which means “steamed.” Therefore, Nasi Tim is steamed rice combined with savory seasoned chicken. The Chinese community believed that Nasi Tim served warm can give warmth and restore one’s health.


  1. Lumpia

This traditional snack is an acculturation between Javanese and Chinese culture that has existed for a long time. The name Lumpia comes from Mandarin “lun or lum” which means soft, and “pia” which means cake. Although Lumpia comes from Chinese culture, the taste has been modified according to the Indonesian taste. In addition, since 2014, Lumpia has been officially recognized as an Indonesian cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).


  1. Bakso

Bakso was brought by Chinese who came to Indonesia. The origin term of Bakso consists of two syllables, “Bak” which means pork and “So” which means gravy. Literally, in Hokkien Bak-So means “ground meat”. It implies that Bakso is ground pork served with gravy. The Bakso ingredient in Indonesia is meat (cow, chicken, or fish). It is different from the original recipe where pork is the main ingredient.


  1. Tahu

Tahu was brought to Indonesia by the Chinese in the 10th century AD. The name Tahu comes from the Mandarin “tao-hu or teu-hu”, where tao/teu means soybeans and hu means crushed into porridge. Thus, tofu is a food made from mashed soybeans as a porridge texture.


  1. Cincau

The term “Cincau” comes from the Hokkien dialect “sinchau” (Chinese: , pinyin: xiancao), which is pronounced among the Chinese in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Cincau is a type of plant that is used to make jelly. It is helpful in reducing sore throat or fever.


  1. Permen

The name permen (Indonesian) comes from the Dutch word “papermunt”. It is undeniable that all people will love candy because it tastes good and easy to find, both in traditional markets and supermarkets.


  1. Sosis

The original name of sausage comes from Latin “Saisus”, which means salted. Then this word was adopted by the British, and America became “sausage”. However, our community has become familiar with this food since the Dutch came to Indonesia with “sausaij”. Whilst, Indonesian tongue is difficult to pronounce correctly. Therefore, the name “sosis” was used by our community to call sausaij.


  1. Bolu

This term was adopted from Portuguese “bolo rei”, which means “bread”. In the 16th century, the Portuguese arrived in Indonesia to get spices, and they brought a sweet and soft food known as “bolu”. It is made from flour, sugar and eggs, generally cooked by baking in the oven or steamed.


  1. Bakmi

The name bakmi comes from the Chinese Hokkien dialect “Bak” means meat, while “Mi is” from pinyin Mian (pronounced myen) means noodle. Therefore, bakmi is a term for serving noodles with meat. In Chinese culture, noodles are a symbol of long life, that’s why the Chinese have a tradition of eating noodles during birthday celebrations and Chinese New Year.


  1. Semur

Semur is one of the Indonesian foods from the Dutch cultural heritage. The term semur comes from the Dutch “smoor” which means stew, or “smoren” which means boil. At the origin, semur is boiled meat with tomatoes and onions as a compliment. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, semur is made not only from meat but also from chicken and jengkol.


  1. Nastar

Nastar’s name comes from the Dutch word “annanas taart”, which means pineapple tart. Initially this cake used strawberry jam, peaches, or other popular fruits in European countries. However, in Indonesia, the contents of this cake are replaced with pineapple, which is relatively cheap and easier to obtain.

Those are some Indonesian foods that come from foreign languages or acculturation from other countries’ foods.



The use of language (formal or informal) depends on the situation and conditions in which we stand. Formal language is more common when we write; informal language is more common when we speak in situations that involve people we know well.

We are usually taught English in a formal form in school, but it turns out that some informal patterns are important to know because they are often used in everyday casual conversation. It seemed more friendly and relaxed for each speaker in certain situations.

As in everyday parlance in the United States, people are quite happy to do things “real quick.” In casual conversation, American English speakers often use adjective forms in adverb places. Lots of them may drop the -ly from the adverbs and genuinely use adjective forms to modify verbs. A very common example is in the use of ‘real’ as in “Let’s get some snack real quick” instead of “Let’s get some snack really quickly.”

Another examples of how Americans use adverbs in an informal situation are represent as follows:

  1. Today is going slowly >          Today is going slow
  2. Drive safely                 >          Drive safe
  3. Take it easily               >          Take it easy
  4. Doing well                   >          Doing good

Americans generally do not go with this pattern in writing and formal conversation. Instead, they use the -ly ending, or for example the word “good” in casual conversation will become “well” in formal cases. These patterns are not particular slang or impolite words, and you can even hear some people use them at work, job fairs, or any other situation (informal).

Grammatical patterns in conversation do not always match the patterns used in formal writing or speech, but it is more flexible in casual speaking. Understanding this will help us understand Americans when they speak, and it will help us get along well with them.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

Annisa Bunga Maharani

(Top 10 Short Stories English Language Fiesta 2021)


Have you ever heard about beat around the bush? It means, we tend to avoid saying what we mean, usually because it is uncomfortable to be said. Perhaps, I was the embodiment of that idioms. I constantly ignore my own feelings and every responsibility that faces me every single day. Something died inside of me since that day, where I couldn’t see the shoulder of my dad, again. Where my mom couldn’t get up from her bed, and the moment where I held her cold hands… my sight suddenly change… into monochrome. Tears won’t fell out, my screams got leaked on my throat and say nothing but silence. Everything suddenly tears apart, leaving me behind with my own shadows. I got flashbacks for a moment, and then suddenly realized that I was in school, waiting for our first math teacher to come into our class.

“I abandoned our today’s math homework.” Says me, staring right into my friend’s eyes, Ken. He glances at me before throwing a heavy book on top of my table, and then continued to say, “Here, you can look at mine, then.”

I got startled when the book drops and leave a huge sound on it. He stares at my eyes, leaving a cold mark before cutting his eye contact with me, and says, “I know, it must be difficult for you since your dad leaves you alone with your mom who nearly died.”

Silence suddenly wrap our conversation. I can see the awkwardness slowly appears in his stares. “Ali…” he suddenly calls my name before miserably staring at me, “You know… it’s already three weeks since I don’t see your smiles again.”

No, not again. I hate that stares. I don’t want to look pathetic in front of my friend, cause it hurts. So I smiled, and nod at him before saying, “If you only wanted me to smile, then you can say so. I can smile for you without hearing an old classic story like that.”

After that, a massive panic was obviously written on his face. But I smiled, deeply, sarcastically. Stares at him for a while, “It’s obviously easy for me to smile when I feel nothing and saw nothing about my future,” says me. He knows it was a sarcastic sentence, but he says nothing about it.

We didn’t talk until our school rings its last bells. But I regret nothing, especially when he brave enough for having the audacity to bring a sensitive story like that. It was a huge disappointment for me when I already struggled enough to forget my unwanted past.

It was silenced, many students already go home but I still have to stay kind of long because of my late assignments. I didn’t pay attention enough when I was walking in the corridor hallway, so I bumped somebody in front of me. It was a girl. A mole below her eyes, and her hands busy enough to fix her wheelchair that fell into the floor. That girl… reminds me a lot of my… mom. She even has the same short hair like my mom. I wanted to help her, but.. she really triggers me with something I don’t wanna remember with.

“If you clashed with someone, it would be appropriate for you to help the person that you clashed with.” Crap, she is nagging me. I got my realization back in the moment where she starts to say a word. My hands suddenly moved and help her wheelchair back into the first place before she bumped with me. Without saying any word, she stares at my eyes, triggers some of my memories until I got chills and turn my face away. “Do I know you?” asked her, speaking softly. But I shake my head instead.


She is squinting her eyes at me. “You look at me as if I was a monster or something like that.” She sniffs for a while, probably got offended due to my previous stares. I feel uncomfortable, so I turn my head away before walking away from her. But she suddenly grabs my hands, “I don’t know what’s your name or anything about you, but if you have any problem, you should face it instead of avoiding it. It was a coward response to handle your own problems like that.”

I’m freezing. My hands started to feel cold and my heart bumped faster than before. It feels like I got hit by a hammer right in the middle of my head. It was a perfect storm for me to explode and unleashed my hidden feelings, especially anger. But surprisingly… I got slapped by her words, then I froze again.

“Oh, so I was right, huh.” She smirks at me. “I may look weak because of this wheelchair, but I have a strong will to live. You looked like you have a massive sadness in your thoughts. All I can say is, although we’re just a stranger, I can’t bear the feelings to ignore a depressed person like you. You deserved to be happy. Cause your past doesn’t need you anymore, but your future does.”

Then she leaves, right after hitting the nail on the head. Her shoulder slowly disappeared her hair blend with the darkness at the end of the hallway. The sounds of her wheelchair slowly turned into silenced and got replaced with the rain noises. This is it, my moment of realization.

I lost both of my parents, ignore my responsibilities, hurting my only one friend. I… started to lost my own future. Is it the end? Should I continue? Is there any second chance for me?

“I heard it.”

It was Ken’s voice. He’s here, listening to my conversation with the girl since the beginning. I gulped, slowly turning back my head and stares at Ken’s eyes. He’s right behind me, watching me stares at the floor with blank eyes. He knows my emptiness. He knows it all.

“Do you think… I’m gonna leave you like that? I’m not that evil, Ali.” he started to open the conversation again. As if he’s trying to unlock the prison of my misery. He’s trying to help me… but I always denied it. I only stare at him and say nothing, tears slowly falling into my cheeks, eyes turned as red as tomatoes, and voice crack fully wrapped my throat. He started to hug me like the first time I got hit by a volleyball on my face, he comforted me like the usual day. He is never changed, but I’am.

“It’s okay to cry, you deserve it. I prefer to see you cry, rather than a fake smile. Stop making me worried…” he said, with a little crack in his voice. I only cry and say nothing.

Something… change inside of me since that day. The moment where I fully realized, every cloud has a silver lining. I may not know what could happen in the future, nobody knows what the future holds anyway. But at least I know… that I still have a loyal person beside me until this time. I still have a chance and a hope to hold. I only focused on the monochrome and dark things that already happened to me, when colorful and so many beautiful things already waiting for me in the future.