Flash Fiction: At Least, You Listen



January 13, 2018

Dear Benji,

I am writing to you because I think you listen and understand and would never judge me even though you could have. Don’t sweat yourself to figure out who I am, I won’t call myself by a pseudonym, and I add a return address for less or more the same reason. I know you’re still wondering why I did what I did. But please, I beg you with all my heart don’t ignore this letter.

I have reached out to some people before, but I didn’t think they understood and heard me out like you would. I just need to know that someone out there really listens. Besides, you are Adrien’s beloved cousin so you know how does it feel.

This is the story, and I want you to know that I’m still figuring out how after all these years this disquietude of my pain doesn’t go away.

So, I found this box inside my bottom drawer. “Sweetie, spring-cleaning day it is. Don’t act like you forget about it.” My mom gave a melody to sing those two sentences; I shrug tiredly and shouted, “Roger, Lady Queen Mother.”

Every last souvenir Adrien and I ever collected from our dates, all whatnot that should’ve been kicked to the curb. But instead of giving it away to my mom, I decided to dump all of these memories to you. Do I really have to let him go?

Do you remember the Aum bracelet he gave me on my 15th birthday? He told me that in Hindu, this is the first syllable in any prayer and also a symbol of the universe. Adrien wanted me to have this so I could have my stage of peace in every day, he didn’t insist me to wear it since he knew people would probably judge me because I was wearing a hijab. I knew my religion, Islam; already is the symbol of peace but I was so young and my emotion was so unstable for most of the time.

Every piece of the memories he gave me always put a magnificent smile on my face, but also a huge frown in my heart. I love him, always have always will, but still, there’s something I need to tell you. It’s been four years since Adrien’s ashes were sown on the Sanur Beach; I didn’t even come to his Ngaben. You know I cared so much about him, that’s why I couldn’t even move my feet to attend that very important farewell ritual of him. It wasn’t my own intention not to go, I was forbidden to. Also, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

A day after his departure to heaven, he came to my dream and asked me, “Don’t you have anything to tell me?”

There was a quite long silence. Then I replied hesitantly, “No, I don’t.” I felt so stunned because I was afraid that he noticed my absence in his Ngaben. He stared at me smiling and then said, “Ken, the River that flows in you also flows in me.”

Benji, Adrien thought he left me the sign of peace when he’s gone. But little did he know, he was my peace.

Please, it will be so relieving if you reply.

Lots of love,


Photo by Sofia, edited using an image messaging and multimedia mobile application named Snow (SNOW).

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