Welcome

Another season, another semester, another writing assignment.

In the last half of the year, this space will host new writing submissions and assignments for our 2018 Creative Writing classes.

Carve those words! Twist that plot! Color those brand new stories!

Sobriquet: A Memoir

Azzahra Putri Habiba
180410170057

“Okay, then. I think that’s all of it. Do you need anything before we go?”

After I heard my mother’s question, I shook my head. All of my stuffs already unpacked and neatly placed, new sheets and new blanket already placed in the upper-bunk, and a container full of my snacks and cartons of milk quietly hidden under the bunk inside my assigned room. Mom nodded her head as a response.

Her hands slowly wrapped around my shoulder, pulling me into her embrace. Even without seeing her face, I knew she cried with the way my shoulder slowly gotten wet. Afterall, I won’t see my family anymore for another month. This is also her first time to let her children go out from the ‘cage’. “Don’t forget to give a call, okay?” I gave her a nod, afraid if I let out any voice, I’d cry in the end.

After a moment passed, she let go of me after she gave me a peck on my forehead. She goes into the car, and waves at me after she lower down the glass. I waved back, only stopped when I didn’t see the car anymore before I went into the building.

My body froze when I realized I wasn’t going to be alone. Inside the room, another girl was placing her sheets just below my bunk. Nervous, I didn’t know whether I should go in and introduce myself or leave her to tidy up her stuffs. It seemed going to be the former, when the girl glanced up from her bunk and spot me beside the door. Her eyes lighten up, a smile widely curved upon her lips. “Oh! Are you my roommate?” she asked.

As I tried to put a smile on my own, I went into my room, closing the door behind me as I tried to introduce myself to her.

It’s just the three of us (the room should’ve been occupied by four occupants) and we’re getting along well for the start. Our small talks were still animated, but not loud enough to disturb other rooms. Eventually it’s just Rasqia and I who are still awake that night after she told me from below that Andini already asleep.

“So this is it, huh. Can’t believe I go here for school.” She said. I can hear her huffing in the darken room. Unlike me, she doesn’t want to go to dormitory school.

“…Me either, actually. Never been into stay-over, and here I am, sharing a room with two other people.”

I could hear some shuffling from below. Curious, I moved my body so that I could look down for a bit. Rasqia raised her head to meet my stare. Even if the darkness in the room obscured my eyesight, I could feel her smirk and her mischievous tone.

“Soooooo … it’s our ‘first night’, then?” I grabbed my stuffed doll and throws it into her head. It hits.

Our group of three soon evolve into group of eight. I think it is a common thing, I saw other ‘group’ and even though I’m getting along with them, it’s not as comfortable as I hang out with my ‘group’. We have different background stories, we have a lot in common, and the most important of all, we’re having fun.

Not everyday is all sunshine, though. There were times when some of us had a thing against each other and giving a cold shoulder. Rasqia and I fought a lot too, and sometimes escalated to hurtful insults.

If those things happened, my friend Putri, would made us to gather in one of our rooms to sit and talk it out. More often than not, it went rough. It can result into another argument, tears, and shame. But as rough as it is, eventually, everything can be solved and slowly, we made up.

It’s pretty often to have the ‘talk’, even people outside of circle wonders about it. One time, I was at the same place when I heard Cia, someone who was outside of our circle, asked Putri about it. “Why do you always insist on making a talk every time they argue?”

Putri simply answered, “I just believe that there’s nothing that can’t be solved with talking to each other.”

Since in elementary, I could count how many I got sick with one hand. My friends sometimes wondered, and I simply shrugged about it. So when I entered high school, I never bothered to buy a lot of simple medicines. At least with that I could help my friend who was sick.

Perhaps I overestimated my physique. I never thought my body would got affected by new circumstances. Moreover, the mid term exam was coming, and the stress of it finally triggered my body to fall. As a result, here I am, stuck in the lower bunk bed under my blanket with a high fever and an urge to vomit almost all the time. Alone, because it’s time to go to mosque and dinner.

I was asleep when someone nudge me to wake up. When I opened my eyes, I am surprised to see that it was Qalbi who woke me up. I was close to her, but I never thought she went and visit me. I tried to sit as she placed her hand on my forehead, she frowned.

“Have you taken any meds?” She asked, I shook my head. Qalbi sighed, before she gives me something that I just realised she brought along with her; a bowl of chicken soup. There’s a drumstick inside and also small patch of chilli sauce.

“Eat that while I head to my room to find some meds, okay? It feels better than an empty stomach.” She said, and left before I begin to utter a protest. The bowl in my hands feels lukewarm, but it didn’t stop me to eat it—although my tongue feels so sour because the last vomit I did before. I didn’t know if it’s because I’m hungry or I didn’t want to face Qalbi’s wrath, but the bowl has been emptied by the time Qalbi went into my room again with a medicine and my water bottle.

After I can feel the medicine downed with my water through my throat, I let out a sigh before I take a glance towards the damsel. “…Thanks. I was surprised you came. I did tell our dorm mother to not bring food, and, well..”

Feeling Qalbi’s questioning gaze, I somewhat feel embarrassed. “Well, we’re not close enough so … yeah.”

Qalbi didn’t say anything as she retrieved the bowl and my water bottle and got up to put it on my table. I was about to fall asleep again when she opened her mouth.

“Well, you don’t need a reason to care for someone, right?” I blinked at her words. She turned her back, and gave me her small smile. “Besides, we can’t let our Ace of Math to get sick.”

It felt so long since someone aside from my family cared for me. It’s been so long I was caught off guard. But it’s not something uncomfortable. I smiled towards her, giving a nod.

“Right.”

Truthfully, there are so many memories from that building that always brought me laugh and tears. But actually, the most memorable for me was, the moment I introduced myself to others; Precisely when I give them my sobriquet—my name.

I actually hate my old nickname. It reminded me so much of pain; the pain being pushed too hard to do the best, the pain to being mocked physically and academically, the pain being ignored, and last but not all, the pain being left behind.

That’s why, being in a new school where no one knows where I came from excites me. It was like being given a new chance. A chance of rebirth. So when someone came up to me for the first time and asked, “What’s your name?”

I gave them a new name. As the beginning of a new story.

Photos taken from icm.sch.id

The Sweet Memory of a House: A Memoir

Adinda Amara Kania

180410170059

I remember the first and also the last time I visited my grandfather’s house in Garut before it was sold. I was only seven years old when I visited it with my mother, my three older siblings, and my uncle. My father did not come along with us because he had a job that he cannot leave, so my uncle that free at the moment decided to replace him to accompany us. That time, I was on my elementary school holiday and I was very happy when my mother said that we will visit my grandfather’s house in Garut, the city that I have never been before, and I actually did not know that my grandfather owned a house there. He used to meet our family in Bandung and I usually went to Bandung for holiday back then, so when my mother said that we will go there, I felt like it will be very pleasing for me.

To be honest, I do not remember a lot of things about my grandfather, but I always try to imagine how he is from the story that my mother told me. The reason why I cannot really depict him from his house in Bandung is because he and my grandmother were always moving from one house to another. I asked my mother why they did not stay in Garut and stay in Bandung, my mother’s answer was that my grandmother still has many relatives there, unlike my grandfather, so they stay in Bandung. My grandfather passed away when I was only two years old, my mother said that I cried a lot at his funeral and said that my grandfather should not be buried because if he was buried, I could not see him again. It is so sad because until now I cannot remember that part of my life. My mother also told me that my grandfather loved my long hair, he thought that a girl that have a long hair is very beautiful and graceful. My older sister said that he used to cook and she loves his food a lot. The experience of visiting his house made me feel like that I will get to know him better. After hours of driving, finally we arrived. I remember that we arrived in the morning because we went from Tasikmalaya at dawn.

Since the first sight, I did really fall in love with my grandfather’s house in Garut. It was a pretty big wooden house that has two floors and there was a terrace with some wooden chairs and two rectangle table. After my grandfather passed away, his house was managed by a woman that which is likely his relative. We met that person and she gave us the key of the house. When we went inside the house, I recognize some things that really portrayed my grandfather. On the first floor, every furniture has a dark and calming color, the arrangement of every goods was very neat. There was a small kitchen, a living room that filled with maroon colored sofas, a long brown rectangular table, a television, and two bedrooms. On the second floor, there were two bedrooms too. The bedrooms shared a similar model, they were not too big but very comfortable, they can be used for two people, and the beds were covered with a plain white sheet. I shared a room with my mother on the second floor of the house. There was a big wooden window with a bamboo curtain in the room. When we were putting our clothes and other stuffs in the cupboard, my mother told me that my grandfather was a military police in the past and he was a highly disciplined, tidy, and love his family so much. My uncle, that came along with us, has a very similar figure with him.

After I was satisfied with exploring the house, I went outside with my older sister. There was a garden full of flowers in front of the house. I did not really know what kind of flowers they were, but all of them have a very bright color, such a contrast to the house’s inside. I remember that I plucked some flowers to give them to my mother, she loves flowers. My sister asked me not to pluck too many flowers because she was afraid that I would ruin the garden and I listened to her, only because I am afraid that my mother or uncle would be mad at me. We did not stay for a long time in the garden because there were so many insects, especially mosquitoes.

My sister went back inside the house after visiting the garden, but I did not. My uncle asked me to accompany him that afternoon to the place that later became my favorite place in the house. It was the fishing pond. The fishing pond was quite near to the garden, only a few steps away, and it was belonged to my grandfather too. My uncle was bringing the fishing tools and he taught me how to fish even if I do not really understand what he said. I helped him to set the fish bait. When we waited to get the fish, my uncle told me that the woman who look after this house said some strangers was stealing the fishes in the pond in the evening, she only could watch and yelled at them because that time she was on the second floor of the house. I was so angry when I heard that story and felt so sad because probably what we were doing that time would be useless. What if the strangers had stolen all the fish? Thankfully, I was wrong. A few minutes after the story ended, the fish bait was snatched by a fish. My uncle and I griped to the fishing tool and tried to pull the fish out of the water. We did get the fish, but it was not big. Still, I laughed in victory for the fish that we caught. That was my first fishing and my first prey. Like in the garden, I did not stay at the fishing pond more than thirty minutes because of the mosquito attack.

My family and I did not stay for a long time in Garut. We only visited it for two days and one night. I was so sad to know the reason why my family came to the house was because the house was going to be sold, they told me the truth about it when we were on the way back to Tasikmalaya. My mother said that the person who look after the house was already tired and she also got another job, so she could not take care of it as much as she did before. I cried and told them I want to visit the house again in the future. I felt so broken hearted because the house was like a memento for me to remember my grandfather yet I had only one chance to visit it. Now, it had been eleven years ago since then, but I still remember the sweet memory about my visit to my grandfather’s house.

Illustration by: Lukasz Gac

Flash Fiction: A Day in the Life

Muhammad Aulia Rachman
180410160007

A Day in the Life

Muhammad Aulia Rachman – 180410160007

Entry 1

It is been five years since I first worked and lived here as a street cleaner. Sure the place had its changes over the years and I cannot believe that what I am seeing today remains indifferent than when I saw it five years ago. An old man like me should stay at home and taking care of my grandchildren, says the students I have met, but here I am, keeping the streets clean no matter how much trash those students threw in front of me or to the “nearest” trash bin available. I am known as Babeh to them, probably because my long beard. With old earphone and a very outdated phone on my hands, I carry on cleaning the streets as those students threw their trash either in front of me or on the nearest trash bin, although saying “nearest” is way too far beyond reality. Being old not so bad, some of the students fed me with a simple lunch or dinner and I have not to worry about anything else besides me and my portion of the street that I needed to clean.

I feel, as the years gone by, my strength left my body without any warning and it is getting hard for me to write or find the urge to write, as for someone who suffered muteness quite a while ago. I found that by writing, is the only way I could ever speak my thoughts about anything in this world, anything that irritates, annoys, or even triggers me. I might be old, but the news, be it fake or not, is something that I found… exhilarating to read, as people are misled by lies and persuasive way of thinking to think that one side is right and one side is wrong – fanatically.

Well, I always think that people would overlook me and think that I am a weird old man because I speak with writing. Maybe they spend too much time reading a Japanese comic with a female protagonist named Komi-san. It has been a mental conflict for me to write or not to write, as if this activity is weird and considered as one of the unusual happenings around post-modern communities and millennials. Although diary is beyond outdated, I find peace in writing it – in a place where technology is far more superior and far more convenient.

In times when men stalk their brethren like beasts and societal problem have become a personal matter, and people who watch a lot of news considered themselves as “politically” correct, I am still here wondering if this could get any worse, if this even lead us back to the way when common sense is still lacking, and when people comment on a matter you know best, it counts as an attack to you and the followers of your belief. Ah, I might talk too much about societal problems here, but what can a mute man do besides writing while others conveniently use their voices and mouths to blatantly spread lies?

Maybe, that is why things were indifferent. Different year, same old habits. And people have the urge to keep it that way. Somehow.

Word count: 546 words

Flash Fiction: The Limp

Yoshimi Yamada180410160023

Marcus walked by dragging his right leg. Every time he moves his left leg, at the next second the sound of the friction of his right leg’s shoe will make anyone’s ears become deaf. Many people don’t like him because of his condition. Once, a pedestrian spat in front of him while cursed him out "What the fuck is this?! Get the fuck out of here!" But he ignored it. Hearing verbal abuse neither does make his heart sad nor does make him angry.

Since he was childhood, he has been reminded by her mother to always bring pleasure to others. "Please remember that wherever you go, you always have to try to make other people happy". But it had different story after he was losing his right leg because of his motorcycle accident when he rides it from Jakarta to Bogor. But he don’t blame the accident. “I think, my leg should be like this. " he said.

I felt sorry for him for the first time I met. "Sometimes life with complete legs can be so hard moreover life with one leg like that" I thought to myself.

But he was neither typical of men who like to whine nor typical of men who need pity. You could say, he was quite skilled in terms of accepting anything gratefully. Until one day everything changed, when another diffable man came and called out to him "Hey, limp! Can you lift your legs so that my ears aren’t deaf?" He was stunned and angry. "The fuck! Even I’ve been cursed by a man who is same with me. Damn". Since that incident, he was no longer feels guilty if his right foot made a noise when he was walking. In fact, he often walked back and forth consciously just to make other people restless because of the noise of his friction. Without realizing it, he more enjoys of his behavior. "It’s fun!" He laughed to himself". If you can’t make other people happy, I suggest that you better make them feel annoyed" he said to me.

A few months ago, a miracle happened to his leg. Suddenly when he woke up from his sleep, his right leg was back to its original. He was surprised and very happy. "Oh, God! How great is your power, you have listened to my prayer".

He jumped here and there, he was very happy with his legs. "How nice to be normal again" he said repeatedly to me. He often forgot to rest his legs. "No! I don’t wanna sit! Life is too short if I just sitting around. You have to entrust your life to your legs, not to your bottom". He was very happy and he didn’t want to shut up. He always want to move here and there, without stopping, without feeling tired.

But in the afternoon, suddenly he complained. I don’t know what the God’s plan. He told me that he would prefer if his leg were limping like it used to. Now, after his leg was back to normal, his life became very boring. People no longer cursed him, he felt ignored and didn’t exist. So he decided to be limp again. He hit his right leg with a hammer until he was paralyzed and returned to be limp.

Word count: 550

Credit: https://www.islampos.com/kaki-pincang-semangat-berjuang-37932/

Flash Fiction: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Alya Harefa Rezki

180410160034

Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

Alya Harefa Rezki

180410160034

I am Quinlynn, my hobby is to complain about my life that always does not seems right because it is always against my will. Whatever I do, in the end things will turn out to be a bad outcome. So, I assume life just really hates me. I always have the thought I should stop thinking about all these useless things and just focus on my study, because appearently I just entered high school and I am a freshman. And I already have made a promise to myself I will not expect anything fun that is going to happen in my high school years. I will just study diligently and maybe my hobby will be changed to Quinlynn who likes to study. Anyway, It has been a week since the school started and it already sucks. It is because I still got no friends and people are already teamed up with each other, I guess I am going to be a loser throughout this semester. But then, as I am thinking about being a loser and will never have friends, I bump into someone that looked familiar in the Hallway. I really think that I am just hallucinating and it is because I have been stressing a lot about life, it feels like it is my daily routine to think negatively about my life.

“Quinlynn?”, said the latter, I get confused because this face really looks very familiar to me but I can not really remember him. “It’s me, Brandon, your childhood friend who used to piggyback you!”, he said again because I stayed silent ,but then something clicked in my head, “Brandon? A guy who used to smell and lick his own toes? I can’t believe my own eyes you’re right infront of me!”. He looked at me like I grew a pair of head, but I do not really care. “I’m pretty sure all of the students in this school can hear your voice pretty well.” “Well, thank you”. Ever since that, I am constantly hanging out with Brandon whether in the school or casually just eating together with him. Then I tell him about all my problems because I am comfortable enough to talk about my concerns. He suddenly grab my hands and said something cringey like ‘I’m going to replace all of those bad things with me besides you as your boyfriend, trust me you will get happier if there is me around you’. That is something a seven year-old would tell but regardless I still said yes. As time goes by, I do feel happy with him and start to forget my concerns and problems but on one of our dates, he accidentally dropped his wallet and I grabbed it and looked into his wallet. Something actually makes me want to throw up, “You’re Mr. Johnson’s son?” “Yes?” “Then it’s over for us. You’re one my relatives. Oh my God”

She thought, she will be happy with Brandon as her boyfriend, but then she found out that Brandon is her blood-related relative which is why they can not date. In the end, when Quinlynn thinks she will get her own happy ending and get out of the curse of ‘Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t”. It is actually happen over and over again.

Word count: 550 words

Sumber Ilustrasi: https://medium.com/rta902/damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-dont-1bba2531eb2c

#Scribere2018 #Class A #FlashFiction