pnhb dina stasiun ratu boko 2009-07-30 1

What are friends? It’s an idea that excites my spontaneity and shakes my deeper layer of being at the same time. I don’t know where to start or why I am talking about something I don’t quite understand.

Where do you start when you talk about friends – do you start from regular hangouts, endless supports or traumatising betrayals?

What about encouraging compliments from a stranger you haven’t even met as some kind of a deviation? Or maybe, less severe than betrayals, some regular constructive criticism to your pleasure? And how can it be constructive if it is a mere cause of a heartache?

Who are friends anyway – people who make you feel as if you are a part of something bigger, bigger than yourself; that either it’s love or pain it is never too big a deal because there’s nothing that can’t be shared between you to make it lighter and enjoyable?

Or are they names from your past who are perfect in your head because you haven’t seen or heard from them for ages and make you hopeful that you will not be alone whatever happens even though you’ve gone through all your falls undisturbed and then suddenly bang! One by one or in a pack those names appear in their real shapes, with fangs, wanting to be part of your new life when your only problem left is them.

In the name of romanticism, and I am an acute romantic, I look back at my previous years and see only beauty – you just can’t fault anyone in my past!

Being laughed at by three besties on a public transport is a beauty, or is it the part when you jumped out of the vehicle in silence and walked the long walk to the most undesirable place called home, or is it the part when they apologised through a page on your exercise book and left you alone the next day, or this: from that day you realised that you’re a sensitive weirdo – you knew yourself better? Nah, I’m not that wise, it’s a beauty because it’s in the past – stay there!

Don’t get me wrong, I do have a beautiful past. Not even 16 and already published as a poet. Made your own money and paid your own school fees (thank God it wasn’t a private school – Hi, Papa!) Famous authors and critiques from all over the country wanted to meet you in person, complimented you, invited you to be a part of big events and casual drinks or fancy dinners in the hope that at some point you would sell your idealism for even bigger opportunities. Stubborn kid won – big mistake! This is probably why fame never touches me. Let’s go back to friends, though.

At one point in my life I came across a personal concept of friends as those who I don’t know how ended up in my world and I love and must support in any way possible, unconditionally, not because they’re perfect or useful, without asking to be loved or supported back because I could love and support myself.

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t love and support myself, I just break. and so much for not asking to be loved and supported back, I was betrayed. Again. And again. Bigger. Epic.

Sudden silence in my head. No thoughts. No idea. Nothing at all.

And then John Lennon whined, “Hey, you’ve got to hide your love away”

And I did. I hid my not-so-unconditional love, my not-a-big-deal misery, my unbreakable chest, my historical solitary.

“There was a man…. a lonely man….” Karen Carpenter’s voice mysteriously makes 00:05 feel like 05:00.

I took myself away from opportunities, from people in general. I kept my stubborn idealism to myself and stuffed it up my a**e in british spelling. I left my country two and a half years ago, but I already left everything behind before that.

Separating smoko cartridge from the battery and putting it on another battery while the first battery is being plugged on the computer. Missing heavy unfiltered third-world country smokes. 234.

Seriously now, there is actually beauty in my past. I used to leave home when it was getting dark for this unknown urge for companionship (too much nietzsche for the age!) I knocked on the door of the closest person I knew, it didn’t normally go well: you can’t stay tonight. Moved to another close person, just because I longed for a connection, just because anywhere was better than home.

Outrageous heart rate while taking public transports at night through dark streets, I often ended up going to the traffic light by the 24-hour wet market, right in front of the police station, under a crossing bridge, where a homeless woman sheltered. The first time I said hello she thought I was some clever kid collecting datas for their research (shame on them, I mean bless them). I said no: I needed a shelter.

One night, I told her about a secret crush I had. She told me to write a poem to him – how crazy is that? She told me she used to do that and it worked. I smiled, more at myself, and said no: i can’t write. She offered to help me. Again I said no: no, thank you. I think I’ll call him instead, he doesn’t know, he thinks I’m just a troubled school kid – can I borrow a coin? (I knew how to ‘use’ public facilities for my own good).

So I rang him and he came in a car to collect me with a pair of slippers to replace my broken ones. He’d let me sleep in his office at a university where he’d stay awake until anytime he liked on his massive computer screen while listening to the biggest collection of classical musics I have ever known while I was dreaming of a kiss that never happened (I know you’re reading this)!

It was midnight. Jump in, he said. He didn’t ask what was wrong with me. We played silent minutes, and then he broke the hollow air by saying: don’t beat your self up, kid. I’m like you: likeable, but not a material for love. I’ve lived with it, you will too. I said: I don’t know what you’re talking about!

Denial, denial. But then I experienced the magic of the internet. Through social media, even through eBay, I bumped into quite a few characters and built conversations with them. Loneliness disappeared, or so it seemed, excitement took over. I started to open myself again, I guess the urge for connection is still undeniably in there somewhere. But as loneliness is a creeper, so is fear. I still haven’t met any of them in the flesh, agreed to speak on the phone (I hate receiving phone calls but it was kind of mental emergency!) to one of the most fabulous women I’ve ever come across having been to the moon and back together through texts (on and off because I’m a natural bad communicator) for more than a year.

So who are friends? Ah, perhaps friends are just those who have the same shoe size as yours (no offense to 36 and 38)!

Besides, while Jorge Luis Borges said “an English man starts a conversation by avoiding personal matters and ends it by saying nothing”, Britain’s gals seem to start a conversation with an emoji and end it with an ‘x’ – I love it! But even so, sometimes I feel like I can’t keep up. I guess I’m just a loner by nature.

–dina oktaviani

11 thoughts on “FRIENDS

  1. Love this post, always a pleasure to get to know someone (if only online) by reading stories from their lives. You have been such a positive person through social media and blogging, and I really do thank you sincerely. Thanks for being you, don’t ever change – you have no need to xxx

  2. Your depth is so enticing. I’m so happy our blogs and instagrams crossed paths. Separated by an ocean but friends for life. Bless you and thanks for sharing. 😘

  3. It’s ǥoing to be ending of mine day, however before end I am
    reading this impressive piece of writing to improve
    my know-how.

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