Monday, March 9, 2009

Because I Was

I started the first line of my last short story, "Unlike Others", in August of 2008, in the old given-by-my-boss Toshiba laptop in my old rented room. Don't ask me how I got the initial idea for such controversial opening line, because it just popped up into my mind. I was sitting on my bed in my thinly loosed boxer short, topless and sweating, because that room has no air-con. The only small green desk fan could not repel the sweltering Jakarta heat that seeped through the cracks on the wall and the windowsills. Don't you think it's some kind of mystery that you'd never know who lived in the rented room before you? That room was a bit like a crawl space, almost square-like and narrow. Three sides of its walls were duplex, so you can hear what others said or done in the room next to yours. And obviously, they too can hear yours. That rented room always smelled of dust, cold and itchy. In normal conditions, I would have used this kind of rented room for storage, but at that point in my life when I have to survive living in this vicious metropolis with the cruel unfunny joke called the microscopic scale of monthly salary, I just had no other choice. What kept me sane was a dream that one day my life here will pace up and the condition will eventually improve. I was optimistic, because the hope that lived in me was the sole power that kept me level-headed. I was right. The condition did improve. I don’t have to live in the status quo like the main character in that short story. Because I was unlike others.

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