The making of my father

We arrived a little over noon. The sun hangs low as people chat around to have gatherings. This is my third time being here. Eight years ago this small village behind the vast mountain existed just like what i see today. It does not change a bit. Ah i know, i seek for change when i do not believe on transformation of human being. People, to me, stay the same. However i believe cities should have progressive development. This one does not have any particular difference from all those years. What a waste! Eight fucking years and nothing changes. I saw kids playing by the river that was dirtier than what it had been. My heart sinks. How could my father do it? 

The other day i broke my father’s heart. His heart broke yesterday in front of my eyes I let it broken. I don’t understand why it happened, all i knew was a minute later he was dissapointed. So you see, i think being alone for almost 4 years eats the part of my brain to live with my family. Usually i have control on having my alone time after a day of socializing. Now i can’t. My parents don’t understand there is such thing as introversion. They love talking and having people around the clock. Living faraway from home let me be in control with when to talk and when to let the phone buzz without answering. Now once i am home, i have no control of that. It’s always meeting people and socializing, and talking that i start to feel exhausted. I don’t have my time to be alone with my thoughts, to arrange the day, to just be with myself. Thus yesterday i cracked, so i said rude things to my father that i did not mean it. I was just tired. 

My father is an amazing person. Opposite from my introversion, he is the life of a party. People love him and he loves people. He would love to host a complete stranger he met at an airport or he sat next to some days just for the sake of loving having people around. Today i arrived at my father hometown in the eastern part of Indonesia. He was one of the successful kid who dare to go out from his small village to roam away. I am stunned by his courage. You see, my grand father could not read. He taught people to read Quran yet he encouraged my father and his brothers to go to school. So every kid of my grandpa went to school and did ok. My dad, you see, he loves his small hometown where he had his buffalos, catched fish, and went to school when he was a kid. How could someone in poverty dreamed that big? My dad, he pushed himself further, he dreamed and dreamed. Once when i was just a kid he told me to dream big. He said it would cost nothing to dream. So dream on he’d say when he tucked me to bed. 

He pursued his career in research for buffalo. He is one of the prominent buffalo expert in the country. He does what he loves the most and today i am here to go fishing near Tambora the first thing tomorrow. Couple years ago when I was a 6 or 7, my brother went on fishing. The storm came that afternoon as the tried to catch some fish. Boy was it storming. It became one of the greatest story of my brother’s . Anyway, so my dad went to school. Before he even snatched his bachelor degree, both of his parents died. He said, “when I heard that your grandma passed away, i was about to do an exam. Then a telegram came from home saying ‘your mama died today’. I stopped and cried for a while. I thought it was no use to be sad, she passed away already. What can i use my sadness for? So I went on with life, did my exam, and went home a week later”. He found his father was weak after her mother’s passing so he said that he needed to get back to school because it was about to start soon, “if you happen to pass away too, i am very sorry if I have done wrong things during my life”. My grandpa nodded and let him go. One year later he passed away. 

My father went to life the harsh way. Ways that i never go through. When we passed a village 200km from his hometown he told me once he walked from his house to this village 4 days 4 nights to carry buffalos. How could you walk 200km? I cannot fathom the thought of walking under this sun. Eastern indonesia has the driest humidity compared to any place in the country. So when the sun shines, it burns. In the old days, water was luxury. So alone that 200km, one cannot find water sources easily like today. That is only one story of my fathers. 

I remember one day my father watched Laskar Pelangi. He cried his guts out remembering all things he went through in life as a kid. Boy was he tired. He cried and cried after the movie ended. He said it reminded him of his struggle in poverty and him making way out of it. How could he do it?

I started to think about how i broke his heart last night. About not being grateful i still have him around to support me even though I have my bachelor degree, about not being there when my parents need me the most, about all the struggle my father did (my mother came from a well off family but without her mother around so the struggle was different). How could he make it? How could one made it so far?


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