Missed Little Things: A Memoir

Priska Refitantiara

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I used to live in a place where water fell as a ton of droplets nearly every day. It was always harshly hitting the roof. Besides, all I could see was a rapid flash through the window, followed by an unpleasant sound in seconds. It was extremely terrifying. Moreover, several trees would participate in frightening most of us. At the time, I never said the wind gently blew into my face, in fact it was strong and unfriendly. I would never get along with it. Unlike the weather, which was hardly predicted, the blackout was so easy to smell. Yes, we would soon lose the electric power as the rain and its pals attacked us. It could last longer than I thought, 2 hours in length at least. It mostly happened in the afternoon or evening, which meant my phone battery tended to be around 10-15%.

I normally got home from school with wet clothes on. A coat did not work either. Thanks to my mother who was always ready to drive and pick me up at the place where I dropped off, out of a mini bus. But I could not lie to myself still, although I spent many years living there, I never got used to the weather. Fed up, frightened, I felt different kind of feelings at once. Neither was I able to meet my friends nor I could hang out with them. The door just stayed closed. Once I opened it, many pieces of leaves would try to hit my face. When I came outside, it felt like I was in a milk commercial that showed a guy getting blown away by the wind because of his light weight. But my body was heavy, of course. That was just a picture of how strong the wind could be. If someone ever asked me what it was like to live up there, the first thing I quickly remembered was the heavy rain.

Bogor was a very beautiful city by day, on the other hand I would hate the rest of my day, as the clouds gathered around. The weather was the first thing blocking my way out, as if it whispered “you want to see your friends? Not now”. If my father stayed at home, he would agree with it and send me back into our house. I had only one older sibling who liked going out a lot. I know he was bored to death, just like me. Once he was home, he often played the guitar. The sound of him singing and playing the guitar almost covered up sound of the rain. My mother usually said some prayers, a little bit louder than she normally did. It affrighted me more when she started doing that because it made me think of any possible things, especially the bad ones, would possibly happen to that city and us. The next thing she did was grabbing candles instead of the emergency light, right after the power went out. I soon entered my room and curled up with my bolster under the blanket. My pillow? I placed it on my right or left ear. I felt a bunch of fears because of the disturbing sound. I could not stop staring at my window to see if the rain was ready to leave. My phone would be dead by then. There was no notification distracting me from the real situation I was facing. Neither music nor a game was played. My mother told me not to use any electronics, though I secretly got on my laptop without her knowing. I wish my brother had more time to spend with us at home. I only needed a friend to talk to. I thought it would make me forget about how rude the rain and lightning were. I wondered what was happening out there when everyone in my neighborhood including me tried to hide in our own houses from the bad weather. I became jealous of my brother at times, when it came to friends and traveling, he was always one step ahead of me. I spent my time in my bedroom alone many times. I had a close friend living about 20 minutes away from my house, but then again, the rain was against me. Imagine me doing and experiencing the same thing for weeks, months, years, as long as I lived there. It surely would be a different story if it had no repetition.

I was really sick of it. Until I graduated from high school, which meant I could move out to continue studying on a higher level. I applied to a university in another city on so many purposes. Getting myself away from Bogor was included. I had always craved new places and experiences. Furthermore, I was bugged coming across with the same people. I thought I needed to build a new life on my own. If I left the city, I would not have to spend many hours in my bedroom, locked by the severe weather, I got so convinced. When I arrived in the city that was likely becoming a new place for me to live and start my university life, I felt nothing but great joy. I left everything related to my hometown behind. Even I had unconsciously forgot about them for a while. I used to say that it was a kind of life I had looked for all this time”. I felt free to go wherever my feet brought me. The first time I saw the rain in Jatinangor, I asked to myself “what on earth are these small things?” They did not look like that in my hometown. They were way friendlier than those I saw in Bogor. Screw the Umbrella, I could stand in the beautiful rain without it, what a sexy weather. I fell in love with this city the first time I got here. However, I felt like something was missing, But I had no clue what that was.

I went back to my hometown in order to see my family on my 19th birthday. They wanted my existence there. I could not lie, I myself wanted to spend more time with them too. As usual, I was welcomed by the rain, which I had talked about with my university mates as we introduced ourselves to each other along with our backgrounds. I was expecting to see the orangish sky. I forgot that I was in Bogor. It was something I did not have to expect from the place. Speaking of birthday, I never thought my family would gave me a little surprise. There was also my brother, the one I used to be jealous of because he tended to be absent when I suffered from the fierce weather. On that day, I felt perfection in our house. I had my family beside me. For a second, I did not remember about how much the weather could be annoying. All I saw was my hometown with a few people that I really care. I had learned some lessons. I did not really hate my hometown, I was just tired. It was apparently the nature of humans. The bad weather might have ruined my day, mood, everything. But that was what so special about Bogor that I had never found somewhere else. What Bogor was known for. I knew that I could never do anything about it. But undeniably, I had always missed it ever since.

Photo by: Sepri Kustanto

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