we did what we do best, sat/lied down in comfortable positions and said whatever came to mind. i turn up my ipod, and remind myself to get down to organising the damn thing. conversations are punctuated by the crackling of cigarettes and flicking of lighters. and the waves. i like how we're all so free to do these things, drive aimlessly in the dead of the night when the roads are empty and go just about anywhere we want. the night sky is too beautiful, i really hope vic uploads his pics soon, keppel has such a nice view. i wouldnt change a thing, we talk about regrets and the past, of opportunities and girls that have come and gone. but really, i tell them, i wont change a damn thing, im really okay with being who i am. they laugh at how im such a good boy, whatever that means, and i laugh too, mostly because of the way they put it. everyone has their own story, and we all listen with such sincerity that its almost too good to believe. i dont see that anymore, people dont know how to be sincere anymore, maybe. i couldnt ask for more than this from friends. my brother sends me a text, saying how he ended up cleaning mama's grave while going ghost hunting with his friends, whatever that is. i smile and thank god i have this brother of mine, and these friends of mine for that matter. it might be a bit indulgent, but we could have turned out a lot worse i think. i have been out for 12 hours and still, im wide awake and not tired at all. people tell me to savour all this free time now, its gonna be hell when uni starts, and yeah im doing my very best. prabs asked me today if we're all gonna go back to our post As lifestyle, and haha i keep silent in agreement.
rid, the designated driver says its time to go. i take a last drag and flick it away, watching the sparks drift off into the wind. this freedom of being alone, of having all the time in the world is going to end, but for now, its pretty okay.
we were flicking reds just now, just nizan and me, and i was chugging the delicious phenomena known as white coffee, and we were just talking. i listened with interest as he talked about people, some i knew some i didnt. and it was so easy, talking to all of them is so easy. its rare to find people i can talk easily with, no fear of anything because chances are they've seen/done worse, but its all good. mutual understanding. ive said before, camaraderie is a thing i can never describe adequetely but its there when you know it is. thats got to be the best part of NS, i think. i went ard station armed with cameras today, immortalising the sights and hopefully, the memories as well. good thing i brought them today. it isnt perfect, banyan fire station, but its pretty alright. ive never been good with goodbyes, theyre always so hard to do, but im glad i printed those photos and stayed up all night writing them. it felt really fitting to pass them around. i keep telling people to not miss me too much but haha who am i kidding i'm gonna miss all the people here too, hafiz was spot on. like i said in all those notes, ive been really blessed with a memorable ns experience. many folks like to compare about how much more worse their ns life is, how they managed to endure more or navigate thru tougher shit from higher ups or put up with their sense of displacement. but when people ask me, im not gonna say about all those things. I felt them too (i'll never forget all those swojo shoutings or frustrations) but i'll tell people about how great this whole stint was, and how i got to learn so much - not just about firefighting or rescue but about myself too. its been a heck of a 2 years and when it all ends tomorrow i'll keluar baris with wide smile i'll look like a fool. an operationally ready fool (still dont know why its called that). yeah, even though i'll probably get dunked into the kolam. repeatedly. occupational hazard i guess
i left my speakers and ipod on in the watch room, and when i come in the cab is singing about stopping the clock together, knowing that the timing was right. i hear a loud noise from outside and open the gate, trying not to get too envious of the orange vespa that zips past me. soon, when i get finances right and when i genuinely feel like its right. soon. halim comes in and we talk, making a point of how nice he is to accompany me. i smirk and dont say anything, but i dont mind. i was going to work on that 70s show (how awesome is it that i have 7 whole seasons to go thru) but instead i rewatch a couple of episodes of glee because it felt right. we talk about how ridiculous and wonderful it is. he makes me explain all the storylines and characters, thankfully i like this show enough to remember.
i go up to the locker room to find packets of coffee and chips scattered across the floor. andhika says its a reward, for all of us winning just now. most of its gone because i came up late, but i see a reserved packet just for me. i dont immediately take it, who does that, but instead light a stick and take a few puffs - my breaths a mix of nicotine and relief. a man u game is on, and i suddenly remember of my probable internship, and tell myself if i want to survive there i should at least know some things. not that im clueless, but putting in more effort wouldnt hurt. i listen to the knowledgable banter, both from the indonesian commentators and the guys in the room. all while slowly untying the coffee, delicately untying the knot. nazmin taught me a trick to untying these wrapped packets, which were almost impossible to undo before. i give appreciative nod and take a sip - it tastes hot and amazing. the way people take in all these opinions is interesting, the way they turn it around in their heads, unwrapping and analysing what they hear before dishing out a response. there's so much passion and belief involved, it almost seems like an art. its half time and theyre making all these comments and analysing every kick and pass to death. i sneak an occasional snigger and sometimes even laugh out loud at what i hear, its pretty funny. the weird ass indonesian ads dont help at all, who makes these things? two girls are fooling around with what appears to be sausage shaped candies, for a good 10 seconds. tasteful, i guess. i dont even have to say it, everyone screams with laughter. you can tell, everyone was glad to win today. i cant remember the last time i got rewarded for something. lots of my friends and cousins get new games and phones and things for results and achievements, but my brother and i stopped getting them when my parents left. it felt strange and yet familiar, getting something for achieving. but you know what i think. i think we didnt really need those gifts, this feeling in the locker room right now, this, this is rewarding enough. at least for me.
me and lek walk to the kolam to feed his fishes. theyre nowhere to be found. he's been away for 11 days and no one's been feeding them, and theyre all gone. but no he says, scattering the red pellets and knocking on the metal. theyre there, just wait. the wind's really nice, and the banyan night sky is, as always, perfect. lek's got a look full of confidence and certainty, you cannot help but believe that his fishes are there. and sure enough they swim up and peck at the pellets, as if in disbelief that there is food. the wind makes funny shapes in the water. he asks me when i ord, and what do i make of these past 2 years. i smile, thinking about all the triumps ive had, all the quiet victories i keep to myself and feel a warm blooming inside. i tell him about some of them, relaying expressive anecdotes about as many things as i can remember. and he agrees. i think i did okay. i didnt get to experience as many things as so many other people, didnt get to do as many things or see as many things but really, i think i did pretty okay.
he wrote a poem
and he called it "chops"
because that was the name of his dog
and thats what it was all about
his teacher gave him an A
and a gold star
and his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts.
that was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
and he let them sing on the bus
and his little sister was born
with tiny nails and no hair
and his mother and father kissed alot
and the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
and his father always tucked him in bed at night
and was always there to do it
once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
he called it "Autumn"
because that was the name of the season
and that's what it was all about
and his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
and his mother never hung it on the kithcen door
beause of the new paint
and the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
and left butts on the pews
and sometime they would burn holes
that was the year his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
and the girl around the corner laughed
when he asked her to go see santa claus
and the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed alot
and his father never tucked him in bed at night
and his father got mad
when he cried for him to do it
once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
and he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the question about his girl
and thats what it was all about
and his professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
and his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
that was the year Father Tracy died
and he forgot how the end
of the Apostles's Creed went
and he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
and his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
and the girl around the corner
wore too much make up
that made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
becuase it was the thing to do
and at 3 am he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly
that's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
and he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
because that's what it was really all about
and he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
and he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didnt think
he could reach the kitchen----