Stepping on the Forbidden Land: A Memoir


At that Saturday, I pick her up from her apartment. Just as usual we were confused to pick a good place to study since Jatinangor is only a small and crowded place with not much option of places to study. Since we had nowhere to go, thus we went to the faculty for taking my stuff.

Arriving in the faculty, it was so serene without many people around. But our attention was focused on the land of green in front of us. A brief explanation, it is a common knowledge that the land of grass area in the Japanese Literature Learning Center—PSBJ— is forbidden to be stepped. However, during the holiday or break, the Faculty is so silent and there is none which therefore we are brave enough to play on this land of grass full with wildflowers and dandelions. Forgetting about my stuff and the study, we chose to play on the land nearby the canteen that is said that whosoever stepped on the grass should get dropped out of the campus, and we stepped on it.

While playing on this “Forbidden Land” of PSBJ, we found dandelions there, she noticed it first. Then, she picked one of it and blew its petal.

“Say something, make a…..” she said, and before she finished her words I cut it in the middle.

“I don’t believe in that, I don’t say such word.” I remarked,

“But you can believe what you want and you can say it for yourself. I won’t mind your choice.” I added, and she nodded while smiling, saying nothing.

She found four dandelions there, she could find more and take them all because there are many dandelions growing on this field of green. But I ask her to leave some for others who might find them later. I took several videos and photos of her picking the flower— while teasing her that I will report to Mr. Inu, the student manager, so that she would get punishment for stepping on this “Forbidden Land”.

She picked one dandelion for me and asked me to blow one of them which, then we laughed because of an awkward pause when I blew it with my nose. Later when exploring the area, I found a plant that was furry but not quite like a dandelion. I picked it for my mischief, saying to her that its twig tasted sweet, then pulled it crossing her mouth and leaving her annoyed with a mouth full of its petal.

Tired of exploring, we sit upon its grass and telling some stories to each other. She told me that she is going to face an exam next week, I told her to study hard but I could not help her much because I did not master Japanese. She said that she is going for the N4 level, I told her to aim for higher since she is an Asian and that would be a disgrace to get just the required level. She cried at my face saying that she is a truly Sundanese blood and not a Chinese, I agreed in disbelief for she was born in Jakarta and looked like a Chinese too. She pinched my shoulder as I laughed. We then stepped on the other side of that “Forbidden land” to take a good picture of her and the moment of embarrassment for mine.

Then we took a walk around and sat on the bench near the fish pond. I told her that this semester is tough and I could not function well in the rainy days—I got sick and dull in the wet season. I missed several classes and tasks, I had calculated that I had to repeat some classes next year. She calmed me again that it was okay, that sometimes in life, failure taught us how to succeed. Hearing such wise words coming out from her made me making weird faces of confusions, she complained too much about life to me and yet she could say that innocently.

“If I were died and got reincarnated, I want to live as a cat.” I joked.

“Life of a cat is too heavy for you to handle, you will not survive.” She responded seriously, such sentence had been said many times that I got bored, but I just like it the way she said such answer.

“Existence is tiring….” I added.

“Let’s go die together then!” she replied.

“But nothing much we can do when we are dead…”

“We do not want to do many things, we just want to sleep and eat and shit, just like cats. That’s why we want to be like cats.” I joked again, and she seemed to agree that living a life of a cat was not a bad idea.

The sky was going grey, I saw a raindrop on the fish pond, telling rain was going to shower. It was the rainy season, period of a year where I was on my lowest point due to my weak body toward the weather.

“I heard that you are going to a concert tonight, have your friends confirmed to you today?” I asked her.

“They cancel it, they cannot attend the concert.” She replied, hesitated.

“Too bad, but you already bought the ticket did not you?”

“I did, I bought it from a friend. He is the only one going to the concert.”

“I can go to accompany you, just tell him that I am coming with you.”

“I told him and he seemed to be upset.” She seemed to be afraid that I would get mad if I met him because I was.

“Upset? Setting such event, then people somehow in such coincidence cancel their appointment together just to leave you with him alone? What do you expect from such scenario? Are you going to the concert on your own will or you’re feeling forced?”

“It is not my will.”

She stopped and seemed to be confused. I could see from her face that she was being uncomfortable. I questioned myself on what have I done the whole time serving nothing in the community. Why did I leave her swaying into the circle she just had no idea about? I tried to restrain my feelings, doing stupid things which even hurt others, just to get her away from my mind, but she was just too soft to react toward people that she imprisoned herself in it. I wanted her to that put away because this whole time she was being used because of her kindness toward others. That was what made me could not stop thinking about her.

“I am giving you choices because I do not want to be like others, I will be waiting here for you because I believe in you. When will you depart?”

“This evening.” She Whispered.

“I am on my phone, tell me if you need me to go there, I will be there for you.”

“It is okay, I will be fine.” She remarked, to put my worries away, but did not budge.

“Agni, you need to know that we break up not because we hate each other. I just cannot withstand seeing you being exhausted, trying to get on par with my activity. I cannot stand seeing my dear being like that, I just want to keep you away to wait, at least until I get these things done.” Then I pat her head, worrying she was thinking too much about that moment before.

“I told you that I was ill because of the weather, not because of you. I just cannot stand the heat, just like you cannot stand the cold.” She replied, arguing the reason we broke up.

“The sky is cloudy, get yourself a raincoat. I do not want you to get sick. I will get you to the apartment now, just call me when you are there.” I interrupted, cutting the conversation before the rain started to fall.

“Do not worry about me, I am okay.” She tried to put me at ease by rubbing my shoulder.

“I cannot. Please take care, wait for me until next weekend.”

“What is there in the next weekend?” She asserted, even though she knew what I was going to say.

“I am getting things done, and I am going to say something to you.” Silence followed.

” What do you want us to be?” I asked her, breaking the ice.

“I want what you want us to be.” She remarked as we held hand before we went.

“So be it.” I whispered.

We smiled, nodded, and went to our own direction, parting on this “Forbidden Land”, waiting for the next week, when we would meet again.

Word Count: 1451

Photo By: Abdurrahman

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