Hi everyone, how are you doing? My Muslim brothers and sisters, how are you coping with a very … different Ramadhan this year?
I, for one, is sad. I can’t and won’t lie. It is a very heartbroken start of Ramadhan. We can’t pray in the mosque, we can’t do Iftar together, and we can’t even meet friends and hug them. It is hard and lonely.
Sometimes when I say “I’m okay”, I want someone to look me in the eyes, hug me tight, and say, “I know you’re not.”
It was one fine night, but I still couldn’t sleep. I kept flipping right and left on my bed, tried to shake the fear and sadness away, but I just couldn’t.
I glanced towards my cellphone. It was almost 1 am. My whole family was asleep. My sister who shared a room with me had slept since hours ago. She must be really tired after the whole extra classes for her final exams.
Nggak terasa tiba-tiba udah bulan April – dan udah sebulan juga bolos nulis blog, hehehe. Ga ada alasan lain selain it was some sort of a March Madness. Masa-masa penutupan kuarter pertama berarti saya berpacu dengan waktu untuk menyelesaikan projects baik di kantor ataupun personal.
Anyway, now that that’s over, dan saya bisa bernapas sejenak sebelum memulai kuarter baru – kebetulan #1m1c bikin minggu tema yang so close to my heart. Sekalian bernostalgia, haha.
Mia stared at the man standing not too far from her – her eyes were blank. The old man fell silent after he said these words to her. “I made a mistake letting her go – many years back. I wish I told her how much I loved her and that I was willing to fight to be with her. “ Mia felt her eyes were swarmed with water. It hurt. It hurt so much that she didn’t know how to speak. Do I want to suffer the same regret?, she asked herself. “I won’t tell you what you should do,” the old man continued. “But if I could, I don’t want you to feel what I am feeling now.” Mia blinked. She knew what to do. She turned her back around and she dashed. To someone that she knew she didn’t want to let go. *** Liam walked mindlessly at the airport. He had asked Sandy not to send him off – he said it’s fine but the truth is, perhaps he just didn’t want Sandy to know how troubled he was and that he’s afraid that she would know that … he didn’t love her anymore. Mia. That little girl suddenly came into his life. And he knew he had loved her from the moment she started smiling and let him in into her world. From then on, it felt like Mia was his whole world. Everything was beautiful because of Mia. But at the same time, guilt consumed him. He already had Sandy. A pure, kind-hearted Sandy. He loved Sandy at some point in time. He was sure of it. Who wouldn’t love Sandy? She’s everything you could hope for a girl. Smart, sweet, and funny.
But she’s not Mia.
People must have thought that he’s crazy – Sandy is perfect, too perfect even. Why would he let his heart turn away from her? And how?
Liam sat down – he couldn’t answer those questions. He spent most of his nights feeling sorry for Sandy, for Mia. Blaming himself for being so clueless about how to control his feelings.
I just needed to get away from these, he thought a few days ago. He cut contact with Mia, he stopped seeing Sandy. He didn’t want to hurt anyone again.
Liam froze. He couldn’t believe his ears. Was that Mia?
Then came a hug from behind him. Mia’s voice – shaken because of tears.
“I love you, Liam. Don’t leave me. We can fight this together.”
Liam couldn’t say anything. His heart hurt. It was so painful to think that he’s now bringing Mia to a painful road ahead of them.
“If you are willing to fight, I am too.”
Mia hug him even tighter. Spectators started to whisper. Few minutes that felt like an eternity passed.
“This is going to be a long road, Mia.”
Mia nodded. She knew that.
Liam held Mia’s hands. Whatever happened after this, he would be with her.
Note: I don’t know why I kept getting this kind of dream. Don’t you get tired of waking up feeling heartbroken and empty for the whole day, girl?
Aah, manga. Such a big part of me growing up. I will be forever grateful for it cause my childhood was so awesome thanks to anime and manga. Looking back, perhaps I would never have an interest in learning Japanese or Japan itself if it’s not because of liking manga and anime back then.
And of course, I have my favorite manga authors too. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I wasn’t exposed to a variety of mangas back then and I was (still am) pretty conservative too – so I didn’t have a long list to share. Anyway, without further ado, here is my list!
I guess they are on (almost) everyone’s list, cause come on, we are talking about CLAMP here. Magic Knight Rayearth, X, Tokyo Babylon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles – and the list goes on. Anyone who knows CLAMP’s work will instantly recognize their style and the way they tell the story in their pieces. I especially love the subtle message that can be found in most of their creations. Cardcaptor Sakura will forever remain my favorite anime – and even in it, we can find CLAMP’s subtle messages toward shonen-ai and shoujo-ai.
The other way to look at CLAMP’s creation is kinda… messed up. I mean, in what world a primary schooler is in love with her teacher AND the teacher reciprocates her feeling?
CLAMP is also famous for being super secretive even with showing their faces. They have very little interviews where they literally sit down while their pictures were being taken. But I guess this applies to most mangaka artists – the reason could be because they want people to focus on their works instead of their faces.
Recommended works: Cardcaptor Sakura, X, Tokyo Babylon
Weirdly enough, I don’t really like Kanata Kara – her most famous work up to date. But! I really like her mini series instead. Her drawings are quite simple for the girls’ characters, but his boys’ characters are off the charts. The lead guy is always pictured as tall, small eyes (even close to squinted eyes), with a very pointed jawline. The girl, on the other side, more often than not, is clumsy but adorable.
What I like the most from her works is actually the simple storyline. There’s nothing fancy going on and mostly it’s about girl and boy meeting each other and somehow attracted to each other despite being in different leagues. It’s really your classic love story – one that you can easily found in any romantic manga. But Hikawa-sensei has a different way to incorporate subtle messages into her simple story (you might notice now that I am such a fan of hidden messages) and that makes her stories even more memorable.
And although her characters are quite predictable, her drawings are clean. She positioned everything in her manga appropriately – not too crowded and leaves plenty of white spaces so our eyes as the readers are not too tired. And that’s another skill!
Recommended works: Girls, Mr.Friday, Chizumi & Fujiomi series
This might be an unusual choice considering Tachikawa Megumi’s work is not that known and not that many either (at least the ones that are translated in Indonesia) – but the ones that I know are good and just exactly my taste – sweet with not overly saccharine (is that even a word?)
Recommended works: Kaitou Saint Tail, Dream Saga
Fujiko F Fujio
It would be a sin to not include Fujiko F Fujio in this list. My generation grew up with Doraemon and friends – so him being in the list is a no-brainer. What’s great about his creations is that it’s just so pure (well, perhaps some are not *cough*Esper Mami*cough*) and it’s kinda out of there. When we were still in the 19th century, Fujiko F Fujio had traveled way beyond it. Thanks to Doraemon, perhaps there are kids that were inspired to be scientist or inventors.
As for me, Doraemon was such a big part of me growing up. My first manga was Doraemon vol 6. I didn’t know what manga was back then – all I knew was that I love Doraemon – he’s the most adorable cat mutant in the whole world.
Recommended works: Too many to list!
Sometimes I wonder how on earth Ueda Masashi never seems to run out of the ideas for both Kobo-chan and Kariage-kun. Both are 4-strips comic and have so many volumes! I have stopped reading Kobo-chan and Kariage-kun years ago – but I have a very fond memory of both series. It’s light with a touch of silliness (I still don’t know if Kariage is just plain naive or just a prankster).
As we lied down on the grass, I looked at him, smiling peacefully while gazing at the sky.
“What are you thinking?” I asked. I could feel my throat is choked while I was trying to hold back tears.
“On how … in the next two weeks, I will be married.”
I could feel my eyes were hot.
“… hey, what happened to us?”
He didn’t answer me straight away. He still smiled. And somehow it made my heart ache even more.
“You meant… now?” finally I heard his voice.
“No.. I meant, years ago. When we were kids. When we were teenagers. When we were… there.”
My mind flew back to those times when we were playing together in the small field at our school.
When I teased him on not knowing social studies better. When he wore that smug on his face when he beat me in Maths. When I paid back that smug with beating him being the first rank in class.
When I realized that I thought of him more than a friend. More than a competitor.
Slowly but sure, he filled my days with so many butterflies. Even when we were not in the same class anymore, he was still there, at the corner of my mind. I looked forward to going back to school on Monday cause I wanted to see him. I stopped dreading our weekly ceremony session on Saturday cause it meant I could see him.
I thought that we had something. And I thought he felt that way too.
Until we drifted apart. I met someone new. Someone that I know is meant for me. Someone that I know I truly love.
But still. When I saw his face again, I couldn’t help but think. What if..
And just hours earlier, he called and asked if I could come to our favorite place when we were kids.
The small field.
And he dropped the news. He’s getting married.
“You know…” he started again, brought me back from my thoughts.
“I think. We were not being honest.” He turned his head toward me. And he looked me in the eyes. His eyes were sincere. And they felt warm. Somehow, I could sense that what he’s saying next was going to make me feel … content.
“We were not being honest with each other. We were not being honest to ourselves.”
“We spent too much time thinking about what could have, what should have.
And then we didn’t stop to think about our own feeling. And maybe.. just maybe.. it might have been better if we just went for it.”
And just like that. My tears rolled down my cheeks.
He smiled again.
“You may not believe me, but somehow back then, I knew. But I was a coward. I was afraid. And maybe you were too.”
“It’s alright. I think we both also realize that we were just not meant to be.”
I wiped my tears. He’s right.
“We are okay now,” he told me. “And I just want to know, I want you to be happy. I know you are going to be happy. I know that you need a closure, and that’s what I am giving you now.”
“Thank you,” I finally managed to say it.
Thank you for being there – for all those butterflies in my stomach.
Thank you for letting me know – that at some point I was giving you them too.
Note: It’s been a while and I am back with more drama from my dream. I woke up feeling so broken after this. I felt so strongly connected with this dream and it broke me down, unlike the other dreams before. Closure. I guess I just need a closure.