* This is my 2nd story written in English. Actually I did this to accomplish my Writing Fiction subject. I am so glad that I’ve finished this as I put many effort while doing it. So readers, Enjoy! *
The Book of Secrets
By: Olivia D. Purba
I heard that sad news on the train when heading home yesterday afternoon. I thought something bad might have happened because Mom would not call me for an ordinary thing. Well, I was right. It was very sad news, which could stab old wounds straight in my heart. I felt like wanting to cry but I could not. I really did not want to sense that kind of feeling again, since it would also remind me of him. Then it truly happened, the memories of him continued haunting me at night until I could not sleep.
This morning, while listening to Rondo A La Turca – Mozart, I read this book carefully in my narrow room. It had been two days just lying on my bedroom floor. This book is the same book, which was busily read by him three years ago. He likes reading and I would see his expression when he was reading. This book was alluring him. I know his taste. Moreover, in general the book is interesting; written in Japanese, translated into English. Turning each page of the book is also opening my old memories of him.
Three years ago was the first time we met. But a few moments later he suddenly vanished from me. My heart feels hurt every time I recall his heavy voice calling my name.
Two years ago, he was able to fill the void of my heart with all of his messages. After a long time with no eye contact with him, he said he was overseas. Afterwards, he disappeared like being eaten by the earth. I wonder whether he had been only a shadow without a body.
A year ago, I realized that I could not make him out of my mind. I have been searching for him, looking up into the darkest deep, until I found my soul was barren and crazy in vain. However, he kept disappearing. Then the white flag was raised in me.
This book revolves around irony, about a little girl’s life in a harsh world. It was set at the end of the World War II, where the situation was still collapsing. I suppose tragedy is the most appropriate genre for representing the contents. The writer just wanted to describe the feeling of torment, slumped and stuck in a dead-end mind of the shadow of death. And I really understand those feelings. Who are the people who most understand a sense of smell than the people who experience it themselves?
I continue turning the page while thinking of all the events I had experienced with him three years ago. My memories replay in me so much of his smile that showed deep dimples, to me symbolizing a sweet sincerity. In his small and sharp eyes, I could see there was an aura of toughness inside. Each time he held out his hand, I could feel the pulse beats as evidence of his hard work. I found comfort and relief that I had been yearned for when I was with him. People always say that he is too old for me, but I never care.
I try to shake off my imagination about him and come back to reading. Little girl drifted in doubt. The story is of an orphan with no pillars, just like my life. She lived in misery until one day someone who is warm, appeared out of nowhere, maybe a messenger of God from heaven.
We lost contact, suddenly so without an obvious reason. I am desperate to shake off the memory of him. I deleted his number on my cell phone book; deleted all the texts, also abandoning all the stuff that might remind me of him. But I really could forget him. I gave up. I go on reading.
The little girl lost her direction. The ruins of war brought her into a bushy and wild forest. The girl was exhausted and then fell asleep under the shade of a tree. When tomorrow came, the sun has been right on top of her head, blinding her. As soon as she squinted and tried to focus, she realized that she had been on the hill outside the forest. But who carried her out of the forest? Is there something supernatural? Probably not, because on the next page, the girl found prints of a left shoe. From then on, she could see the whole world better, as she believes that someone who loved her is at her side and guards her movements.
I also never felt so happy before I finally found someone who was so loved. He was always there for me, and thoughtfully watching each of my movements. After one year together, then he disappeared. I wonder why he could bear to leave me alone. In my case, happiness is gone just leaving a trail of tracks like in the story.
I’ve been waiting for such a long time,
Lover who will always soothe my heart
But he came and went like the wind,
Just leaving the empty cavities
Indeed he was never being my lover, never. I do not even know what he deemed me. He never said that I was special for him. On the contrary, far from the depths of my heart I used to consider him a very special person.
I was and maybe am still a lonely figure. At my previous home, there are Mom, stepbrother and Dad who is not my real Dad. Mom divorced from my real Dad when I was still in the womb. Thus, I had never seen him; I never even knew his name. Mom never wanted to talk about him even once. Still, I never objected to what had happened in my life, because although I have never been loved, nor I have never been hated. I was nothing. That is the reason, three years ago I moved to other city. I rented a room and set my own entire path, away from my family. However, that city later became a silent witness of our first meeting. When he came, my life turned into a rainbow abstract. But when he went, my life turned into a dark gray colored again.
My mind has flown so far into my past, until finally I am startled aware that I am still in the room. And imperceptibly, the crystal grains of tears fall from my cheeks and drip on the last page. This story has touched me much as if I merged with the main character. The climax comes at the saddest part when the little girl realized that she had had a sibling whom she never met before. But destiny betrayed her. Not long afterward, she discovered the shocking news as the tragic end of the story. Her elder brother has just died on the way to meet her. Sadistic! Sometimes the world can be so cruel.
Reading this book seems like watching a long movie of the dark days in my past, ripping the old wounds in my heart. At present, I am feeling so tired with all memories of him. I think I should try to dry the new strokes among the last of my old wounds about him. Thus, I walk out of the room, tracing the steps toward road so I can breathe fresh air and sooth my soul.
Finally, I decide to walk to the closest park, which is my favorite place when I feel saturated. There I can see some families with their children playing around the grass. They are smiling and laughing. I feel so jealous of them. Avoiding them, I walk toward the swings. I try to sit but then I feel a bit odd when I realize that I still have that book on my hand. As I remember of him again, I shake my head trying to get out the thought of him.
I throw the book on the grass so I can hold the swing chains properly. But before I swing it, Iaccidentally saw a shiny paper sticking out of the book. I am stunned for a moment. Then I step my feet toward the book. What a surprised to find a photograph taped to the back of the book. It is a picture of a man who was standing alone. He didn’t look at the camera, but he was talking with a blurred smiling face. And I noticed that on his wrist coiled bracelet of woven fibers colored wood. My eyes widen. No one else has ever had it, I’m pretty sure. No one, because I myself made specifically for him, I gave it to him on our last meeting.
Now I know, yes I know where the red thread is wrapped around the footage of this story. Suddenly, I feel like my whole body is shaking and then tightened. I really can feel something wrong. My premonition brings me to turn over the photo. There I can see handwritten words of him. I am shocked and gasp; my body feels stiff and my breath roars. I start to look for logic. Why was that book in my room? I never asked to borrow it from anyone. My mind is trying to conclude a common thread between me, him and the book. I spin a long dimension in my memory. Now I feel my chest tightened, something is about to spill out of me.
It seems like I am watching the flashback scenes in my head. Two days ago one of my close friend dropped by my room. Nothing too important that he wanted to talk, he said. He just wanted to convey a message that a middle-aged man left a book for me. I was so curious. When I opened the cover of a newspaper which covered the book, I immediately recoiled. I could not resist the temptation to ask my friend.
“What did he say to you?” The tone of my question was as if to interrogate him.
“Not much. He just wanted to leave this book for you. I did not ask him much because from his expression I knew that this book is a very important thing. “He replied genteelly, but from his eyes, I knew he was hiding something.
“Did he mention his name?” I whisper myself and hope to hear the wrong name.
“Sorry, but no Dear. That man gave a message to say to you that this book is given by someone who really loves you. “
My sobs brake out now, exploded. Dozens of eyes are watching me. I am hysterical and do not care of them! Some of them standing around and trying to accost me. I refuse roughly. They also try to speak to me but it is useless as I cannot hear clearly anymore. I just try to gather all of my energy to remain standing and not collapse.
With trembling hands, I try to reach my mobile phone from my pocket and quickly press speed dial number to call Mom.
“Hallo?” Mom answers. Her voice sounds a bit hoarse, like she has been crying.
“Mom, are you sure that my Dad has died two days back?” Mom doesn’t say anything. Her voice is missing in the air.
“Who is his name, Mom?” I try to get information to make sure he is not the same person. But it may seem impossible now.
Mom swallows a moment before finally answering my question with a shaky voice, “Rick…”
Hearing the answer, my whole body feels so weak which make my mobile phone fall in to the ground. The book and the picture have explained all the things that have happened these days. My Dad went far away to get better treatment for his lung cancer, yet it did not work. He came back here several days before he died. But now, forever I will not be able to see my Dad again.
A book is like a mirror of your life. It allows you to fly through the minds of the new and old in your life. And most importantly, the book may reveal some secrets that you never thought about before. For me a book has been able to express the secrets hidden in my whole life. Perhaps I have just misunderstood affection?
With tears flooding down my face, I read the writing behind the photo again. Daddy said to me that he loves me so much and will always love me, as his lovely daughter.