Summary: [Sena wants to go to a book store but her mom takes her to an orphanage instead.
Sena doesn’t hesitate to say ‘okay’ when her Mom
asks her to go to the Mall together. She sits on the passenger seat while her
Mom is driving. Sena has a list for books that she wants to buy at the book
store, and the thought about she finally will be able to read some new novels
But after 15 minutes on the road, Sena realizes the
car doesn’t go to the usual path, “Mom, are we really going to the Mall?” Sena
“I need to see someone first.”
“You’ll know later.” her Mom utters without averting
her eyes from the road.
The car stops in front of a building that Sena
hasn’t visited before; she reads the board that stands right behind a
short-stone gate few meters away from where the car is parked.
“Orphanage?” Sena turns her head to face her mother,
“Mom, what are we doing here?”
“We’re here to meet Rose, a friend of mine. She’s
the owner of this orphanage.”
Sena doesn’t expect her Mom to visit another place
before they go to the Mall, “Can I just stay in the car?”
“No, you have to come with me. I’ve talked to Rose
that I would bring you along.” Sena sighs, she is not in the mood to be stuck
on Moms’ chit-chat time right now but she doesn’t want her Mom to change her
mind to go to the Mall, so she has no choice but caves in.
“Promise me it won’t take long.” Sena says while taking
off her seatbelt.
Her Mom goes out of the car without answering.
Sena steps in to the orphanage for the first time in
her life. She feels strange and the thought about entering people’s home,
people who don’t know her, makes Sena uneasy.
Sena looks around the guest room of the building.
The square room is not small but not that big either. There are some paintings,
a long sofa, and some chairs that enough for 10 people. Sena follows her Mom to
take a seat on the couch.
Right from where she sits, she can see some people –boys
and girls around her age –are sitting on the floor in the inner room. Sena
isn’t sure what exactly they’re doing but she can hear them talking and
laughing. A boy comes to Sena’s sight and she sees him smiling. The
15-years-old girl isn’t sure whether that smile is for her, so she takes a
glance to her Mom but Sena is convinced her Mom can’t look the boy from her
chair. Sena looks at where the boy stands but her vision is blocked by a slim
figure which she guesses as her mother’s friend.
“Naya, I’m sorry I made you wait.” Rose says as she
“Oh no, it’s fine.” Sena’s Mom stands up to give her
friend a quick hug, “Rose, this is my daughter, Sena.”
“Hello Sena, nice to meet you” Sena smiles and nods
“Have a seat.” Rose says.
“Sena wants to try to be a volunteer here today, is
it okay Rose?” Sena turns his head to face her Mom, she’s asking
for an explanation through her gaze but her Mom doesn’t look at her.
“Yes, of course. A volunteer is always needed at
this orphanage. Let me introduce you to someone who can show you how to be a
volunteer here.” The middle-age woman stands up and goes to the inner part of
“Mom why did you say that? I don’t want to be a
volunteer!” Sena complains, completely rejecting her Mom’s idea.
“I know you would refuse if I told you about this
beforehand. I want you to have an experience here, to learn how to help others
and socialize with them.”
“But why?” Sena whines.
“Because most of the time, you spend your free time
at home, sitting in front of your laptop
or watching TV or talking to your cat. You need to socialize with real people
more than you do with people through internet. You can meet new friends here,
sharing stories, and do something together, it’ll be fun. We’ll go to the Mall
Sena doesn’t react. Being in the foreign place is
uncomfortable enough for her and the thought of being surrounded by people she
doesn’t know makes Sena wants to run and go back to the car.
“Look Sena, I want you to just give it a try, it’s
only for today. We’ll see what happens and if you don’t like to be here. I
won’t do this again, I promise.” Her Mom says, trying to convince her daughter.
“Sena, this is Teo. He’s the regular volunteer here.
Teo will show you around and tell you what to do.” Rose comes back to the guest
room with a boy standing next to her. He’s quite tall and lanky, has a short
army-like haircut, dark brown eyes, and tan skin.
He’s the boy who smiles at Sena earlier.
says as he shows the same smile Sena sees a moment ago.
“Hi.” Sena greets back, almost like a whisper.
“Be good and have fun, okay? I’ll pick you at 3pm.” Sena’s
Mom says as she grabs the car key on the table.
Sena looks at the clock on the wall, 11 a.m, she
sighs quietly. Four hours will feel like forever.
“Sena, you can go with Teo, he’ll show you around.”
Rose says, inviting the young girl with delight.
“Shall we?” Teo suggests.
Sena steps forward with a heavy heart, following Teo
to the inner part of the building.
Teo shows Sena all the rooms in the orphanage. The
inside of the building is much wider than Sena thinks. The building is divided
into two sides, east wing and west wing. The east wing is the home for babies
and toddlers while the other side of the buildings is where the older kids, kindergartners to high schoolers lived.
“So… any question?” Teo tries to start a
conversation. Sena hasn’t said a word since they said their greeting.
“What do I have to do?”
“Hmmm…as a first-timer I think you can try to be a
play-mate for kindergartner” Teo leads Sena to walk to the east wing of the
building for the second time.” Do you like playing with kids?”
know, I never play with them.” Sena answers after a few seconds of silence.
“Really? You don’t have siblings? Cousins?” Teo
asks, a bit surprised.
“I’m an only child and all my cousins are way older
“Oh… I see” Teo nods, “well then, do you wanna try
to play with kids?”
Sena wants to say ‘no’ but it sounds rude so she
decides to not say anything.
In the play room, Teo plays with the kids while Sena
just sits on the chair near the door. Some of the kids, around 4 years old, try
to ask her to play with them but Sena shakes her head and tells them to
continue to play with themselves. After a while, Teo notices how uncomfortable
Sena is, so he takes her out of the room.
“I didn’t think you’re this bad at playing with
kids.” Teo states lightly as he sits on a chair at the balcony on the east side
of the building.
“I told you I never play with them before.” Sena
answers bitterly, following the boy to sit on a chair near him.
“Well… you could’ve tried to blend in and accept
their offer to play with them.” Teo exclaims.
The boy’s words annoy Sena. She has the urge to talk
back but she bites her inner lips and stays quiet instead.
“May I know
how old are you?” Teo says, breaking the silence between them after few minutes
“I’m 16.” The boy says although Sena doesn’t ask.
“You said that you have no siblings, have you ever
“No, I’m fine being the only child.” Sena replies.
“It must be fun to have a room just for you, to have
your own clothes and stuff.” Teo utters while looking at the sunny sky, “ever
since I came back here, I always share a room with 3 or 4 other boys.” He adds.
“What do you mean by ‘came back here’?” Sena looks
at the boy, his word elicits her curiosity.
“I used to be an orphan… and for the second time,
I’m back to be an orphan.” Teo’s answer surprised Sena, she thinks the boy
beside her is just a volunteer at this institution.
Sena doesn’t give a comment to Teo’s words so he
decides to continue, “Rose found me lying on her doorstep when I was 3 days
old. When I was 2, a happy couple adopted me. I liked living with them, they’re
very nice and they loved me, I even called them ‘Mom and ‘Dad’ just as they
told me to, but they passed away 4 years ago. I have nowhere to go and my
parents’ relatives didn’t really want to take me, so I came back here.”
Sena can only stares at Teo. The boy just told her,
a girl who he just met this morning, about his personal life. This is new for
Sena; no one has ever told her about their personal life in their first
“I… I’m sorry for your loss.” Sena says.
Teo curves his lips up as a reply but Sena can see
the smile doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Your turn, share your story.” Teo demands.
“I don’t know what to tell.” Sena says sulkily,
hoping the boy beside her will stop making her say anything.
“Well then, let me ask you a question.” Teo ignores
Sena’s bitter tone, “Why do you seem like you don’t want to be here?”
“It’s not like that!” Sena states, “it’s just…this
is new to me, my Mom made me stay here even though she knew I dislike being
around people I don’t really know.”
“If you don’t like being around people that you
haven’t met before, then how do you make friends?” Teo asks curiously.
“But Internet friend is not the same with a ‘real’
friend that you can talk and see in person.” Teo argues, “Don’t you have
friends at school?”
“I talk to some of my classmates sometimes but I
don’t hang out with them. I’d rather stay at home or go out by myself.”
“Is that even possible?” Teo says in disbelief, “You
barely have a real friend, someone to share your thought with or just tell
about your day, your dream.” He adds.
“I’ve told you I have friends on Internet. Chatting
through Internet is better than talking with real people. Real people are just
too judgmental.” Sena says, trying to defend herself.
“That explains why you don’t talk much.” Teo utters.
“I like typing more than talking.”
“I think that’s the reason why your Mom brought you
here.” Teo assumes, “You need to communicate with real people more often, there’s
nothing wrong with socializing and trying something new.” The boy says as if
he’s giving an advice to a consulter.
Sena wants to argue but Rose’s sudden presence
interrupts them, “It’s time for lunch. Teo, would you take Sena to have lunch
“Of course.” The boy says as he stands up from where
“Come with me.” Teo looks at Sena before he walks.
They go in to the room that looks like a school
cafeteria. There are tables and chairs filling the room, trays and big bowls of
foods on a long table, and people are queuing to take their meals.
“You need to line up to get your lunch.” Rose
says while pointing at the people who are standing in line.
After Sena takes her meal, Rose leads her to walk
towards a group of people who are occupying a table at one corner of the room.
Sena sees a girl who’s talking excitedly while her friends are listening with
Rose introduces Sena to them; there are five people
sitting around the table, three girls and two boys who look not much younger or
older than Sena. Each of them introduce themselves but Sena is bad at
remembering names at the first meeting so she just smiles to all of them and
tries to listen to their discussion. She finds out that all of them are also
volunteers. They become volunteers since last year and have been each other’s best
Since the moment Sena “joins” the conversation, she
hasn’t said anything. She only listens to each of the stories that they share
and giggles along when they tell something funny. Sena’s five new friends don’t push her to
talk and it makes her relieved and doesn’t feel uneasy.
After a while, Teo joins the group-talk. He blends
in easily to the conversation because Sena’s new friends are Teo’s schoolmate.
They keep the chat going, sharing jokes, and laughing together. Teo looks at
Sena while laughing at one of his friend’s silly story. Sena’s eyes meet Teo’s
and unconsciously, her lip is curving up too.
Sena averts his eyes from Teo when she feels her
phone vibrates. She gets a new message from her Mom, telling her that she’s in the
front gate of the orphanage.
With a heavy heart, Sena excuses herself from the
group. Her five new friends try to make Sena stay a bit longer by nagging and
saying that she is a good addition to the group but Sena doesn’t want to make
her Mom to wait. Teo offers Sena to walk her to the front gate.
“Chatting with new friends isn’t that bad right?”
Teo asks teasingly, “I hope you can come again.”
Sena beams at Teo’s words. Somehow, it makes her
feels like she is not the only one who is glad to meet him and the others.
about it.” Sena says.
She never thought visiting a foreign place can be
fun, she also doesn’t expect to meet new friends, six at once. Sena feels this
experience is exciting and refreshing.
Sena bids a goodbye to Rose and Teo. Her Mom says
thanks to Rose for letting her daughter to be a volunteer for a day, Sena and
her Mom walks back to the car.
you take me here again next week?” Sena asks as her Mom starts the car’s
Her Mom looks at her and smiles “Sure, sweetheart.”]
[Thanks to Risma, Putty, and Stefani for correcting my grammar and giving opinions about this short story.]
– A late night chat with old friends
– Some quotes about stepping out of comfort zone on tumblr.]
[Word Count: 2400]
[Dramatization : https://soundcloud.com/hana-tsurayya/new-breeze]