Above The Clouds : A Memoir

Muhamad Iqbal Hermansyah

The final semester exam was over, that day in July, my friends and I planned ahead to climb to mount Tanggamus, Lampung. Mount Tanggamus is the second highest mountain in my province. The five of us consist of me, Adi, Rio, Panji, and Aji prepared to make the climb during the day. We had prepared supplies carefully. The heat of the sun did not dampen our intention to reach the highest peak of Mount Tanggamus. By riding on an L-300 car that was owned by a person whom we met on the way to reach the climbing point, we had imagined that we would stand next to white clouds, watching from a height looked at my birthplace land, but we realized that it was not an easy thing. And sure enough, at the beginning of the trip point, we had met a hurdle in the form of a steep road full of rocks that had made some of us injured.

In the beginning of the trip was really memorable. Our eyes were pampered with the beauty of wildflowers, wild animals in the forest, and seeing houses that look very small from a distance. The sweet voice of the birds and the cool air from the shade of the trees covered our climbing steps, thus making a step that felt heavy and fatigue became noticeable.

The sun began to shift westward. The cold atmosphere began to penetrate the skin, the journey was still halfway again, but fatigue and hunger began to force us to stop briefly at post 3. I opened my meal which contained of a piece of bread with peanut butter, while other friends preferred to drink. About an hour or so we rested to restore energy to continue the journey to the summit.

In the middle of the trip, our steps stopped when we did not walk along the rope directions. Yeah right, we got lost at that time. We immediately cried at that moment, but we realized that crying would not solve the problem. We did various ways and efforts to find a way. Starting from shouting till contacting via cellphone to the closest person to find our whereabouts. But we forgot that it was in the forest that could not receive phone signal.

The heavy rain made the road almost impossible for us to go through. Our decision to open a new road by cutting down the bushes in front of us was the only solution to get there. The sound of wild animals made our guts even less, made me think whether I would be still alive tomorrow, or die silly torn by wild animals in this wilderness. There was not a single group of other climbers we met in this place. There was no sound of reproach over our help, but there was the sound of a black crow flying over a large tree. ‘’ Please … help us here! ’. I shouted loudly. ‘Let’s all scream together! ‘. I added to invite all of us to shout. But our voices were not able to split the silence and the vastness of the wilderness.

At that time, we tried to keep going upstairs. I felt my body’s inability to walk again, everything felt heavy, it’s all like a dream. The temperature of almost 0 degrees Celsius paralyzed my steps and friends.

When it shows at 10:00 p.m., the heavy rain still accompanied our journey. With limited lighting that only relied on one small flashlight, making peak travel almost impossible to achieve. I thought that morning would come soon, hoping that tomorrow someone would find us here. The difficulty finally came to an end after we found the rope that had been lost. Instantly we all smiled happily, grateful for the prayers granted. We started down and followed the instructions we found, but in the middle of the trip, a python tackled the small road we were about to pass. The snake wrapped its body around a wading tree

In the middle of the trip, our steps stopped when unwittingly I and my friends did not walk along the rope directions. Yeah right, we got lost at that time. Immediately, we all cried at that moment, but we realized that crying would not solve the problem. We had done various ways and efforts to find a way. Starting from shouting to contacting via cellphone to the closest person to find our whereabouts. But we forget that it is currently in the forest that does not allow telephone networks.

When it shows at 10:00 p.m. the heavy rain still accompanies our journey. With limited lighting that only relies on one small flashlight, making peak travel almost impossible to achieve. I thought that morning would come soon, hoping that tomorrow someone would find us here. The difficulty finally came to an end after we found the rope that had been lost. Instantly we all smiled happily, grateful for the prayers granted. We started down and followed the instructions we found, but in the middle of the trip, a python tackled the small road we were about to pass. The snake wraped its body in a tree that dangles down. None of us had experience with wild animals. With makeshift equipment, we got rid of the snake by pulling it with a wooden stick. Then we continued the trip. The hint rope finally ended, in a moment we would arrived at the highest peak.

The flagpole showed that we were at the highest peak in the province which had the title of "sang bumi ruwa jurai". As soon as possible we ran towards the flat ground to set up a tent. While some of our friends were looking for dried firewood for campfires and preparing dinner. I was in charge of making fireplaces and cooking the instant noodles we brought earlier.

I saw the temperature on my cellphone reaches 0 degrees Celsius. The cold was a new enemy for us at that time. The fire was the only helper for all of us, considering the clothes and everything we brought was all wet. But we were all happy, hugging each other tightly, and singing together while enjoying hot coffee and instant noodles. The smelled of famous robusta coffe in our province really warmed the body. The climbing story that we experienced earlier seemed to be the main topic in our joke discussion at that time. They mocked each other, but it was only a symbol to warm up the atmosphere because that was a very cold night.

The night view was extraordinary, the stars were clearly visible because the heavy rain that had washed over us had subsided before we arrived at the summit. My eyes could not fall asleep, I won’t let this rare opportunity be missed at all. It was the opportunity to see the reflection of the moon’s light and stars through the white clouds below, sometimes, I watched in amazement the fallen stars, at that moment I prayed. In my prayer, I begged God,

"God, keep this friendship forever"

photo by : Muhamad Iqbal Hermansyah

Final Writing : Finding Rio ( Non-fiction)

Vinsca Delana Ginting / 180410150060

I was a 15 year old high school student who likes almost every guy who treats me kindly. When a man can’t stop looking at me, I thought he likes her. When a man keeps pointing his camera toward me, I would like him. When a man helps my sister or my mom in the market, I would definitely like him. And it all goes on. I am the only child that my parents have. Some people said being an only child is boring. Unlike the statement, I am so loud and almost every online-personality-test shows I am an extrovert. I have a mom, three aunties, and two sisters who are exactly like me. They all are so loud. I don’t have any secret that her family doesn’t know. When I was about to have a boyfriend, my aunties are more excited than me. My mom does the same thing, but she is a little bit more strictly than my aunties. Just mom being mom.

I almost went to church every Sunday. To preach God is almost every person’s motivation to go to church, but not with me. Well, I do preach and pray but it is not my number one motivation. Number one is for looking a handsome guy. I always thought that my parents must already pray for my well-being and thankful for my life, so I don’t have to repeat the same thing. I have many friends in the church but my mom has more. My mom is always introduces me to every son of the friend of her. Honestly, I hate it. It is embarrassing. The guy might think there is no one likes me. I always tried to stop my mom, but it never works.

One day, in the church, I was sitting far away with my parents. We were come late because my phone’s battery was running low and we were waiting until it’s fully charged. In conclusion, we can’t sit together because there was no chairs that can be sit by three people. Accidentally, I sat beside a very handsome guy named Rio. When walking out from the church, He stood just a half step in front of me. He was so…… good from any side that you want to see him. His hawkish nose still can be seen from behind. He smelled like coconut and I loved it. His height was about 168 centimeters which just six centimeters taller than me. For the first time in my life, I prayed concentratedly to God for wishing that I and Rio can greet each other. Outside, my mom has already waited for me. Unexpectedly, she didn’t greet me but the guy who stood a half step in front of me. I was shocked, happy, and touched.


“Happy Sunday, tante

“Have you known my daughter? This is Vinsca, she just stood behind you”

“Halo, Vinsca”

“Halo, Rio”

For the first time, I didn’t get embarrass with what my mom did. Two words and I was happy beyond words. His smiles, was shining more brightly than the sun. Just by knowing his name was already made me happy. Our meeting didn’t just stop like that. The next Sunday was Easter. Each person must sit with the people who lived in the same neigbourhood with them. Another unexpected moment, we sat together for the second time. I didn’t know what I had been doing lately, but God has been so good to me. I didn’t know that I and Rio lived in the same street. Mom said, his house was just three blocks away from mine. And, He started to talk with me. I was nervous but way too happy.

“Hi, Vins”


“Highschool or junior highschool?”

“First year in highschool. You?”

“Senior highschool”

“Which school?”

The conversation stopped when Rio was about went home. Thank God, he didn’t forget to ask my line id. Yes. At 09:00 PM still on that day, he texted “Goodnight, Vinsca”. My cheek was more redly than a tomato and my heart beat so fast. “MOM, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!” I shouted. And I realized, I loved him. The next morning I woke up early and checked my phone. He texted me a good morning greeting with sun and rainbow stickers. Couldn’t agree more, that feeling was better than getting a good mathematic score. It has been a week since We texted with each other. The next Sunday in the church, he told me that he want to drive me home. Mom gave her permission. On the way back home, he showed me his home and so did I. When I was about to drop off, he asked me out. OH MY GOD.

“Do you have any plan on next Sunday night?”


“How about dinner in thirty-six?. I’ll pick you up at 6. I will call your mom for asking for permission. Shall we?”


Can be guessed, my mom was 100 percent agree with the plan, and my aunties were so excited that the next day we went to plaza to buy some new clothes. And so did my sister. I went to bed a little early that night, because what dream I will dreamed if I had the best day in my life. And, the day has come. I didn’t go to church because I was too nervous to look his face. I was prepared myself since in the morning. I put a sheet of mask on my face for 30 minutes while doing my hair. Well, I looked just fine. Okay, just circles under the eyes. I was nicely dressed, made up, and ready to go. But still, that was our first date. Even if couldn’t be called officially as a date, but it still a date. Butterflies in my stomache. I checked my watch. God, only five more minutes. I went upstairs to my bedroom for the third time. I comb my hair, again and again, checking if my red liptint were still on point. I went down, made myself walked slowly down the stairs, one foot, then the other in case I fell because too nervous. Then, I sat down at the living room. Stand up. Sit down. Concentrate on my breathing, that’s supposed to help. Actually, it did not.

He was sharp. It was 6:00 and there was a knocking at the door. I took a deep breath and walked out confidently. “Ready?” he said. I smiled. Inside the car, he turned the radio on which is all we need for breaking the silence. Many thanks to radio for playing my song, I mean Taylor Swift’s because it gave us a conversation topic. I suddenly started singing.

“You like Taylor Swift?” he stared at me. “I am Taylor Swift” I said. He laughed. And I began to ask who are his favorite singers, actors, and football players. At 06:35, we arrived. We ordered the same food which is two pasta and French fries with two squash lemon. While waiting our foods, there was no silence anymore. He started to ask me about my school, my friends, my family, my favorite food, and my movie genre. So did i. The dinner was so good. We laughed a lot and known a lot. When about to go home, he stared at me with his a little bit trembling hand while about to say something. “Vins……”, “Yes” I replied. “I like you, and I don’t know how is your feeling towards me, but I hope you feel the same thing, I mean my point is I like you.” I watched him in silent. For a second, I really wanted to replied him with yes I do yes I do. But, you know, girls will be girls. Just some common question before replying Yes, I do. “What things do make you like me?” I said. “I like how you dressed, I like the way you respond to our conversation, I like the way you and your family treat me, I like you because my family likes you, I like you because I like you.” My heart was about to explode. I was happy beyond words. We went home after I said “I like you too.”

Monday, February 04, 2013 was our first day became a couple. Monday was never been so good. Outside, the sun shines. Birds call. I still thought it was a dream until he texted me a good morning greetings with heart stickers. God, I was so happy. The first thing I wanted to do before I went to school is to tell my mom and my aunty the happy news. I hope they were not freak out or overreact or anything.

“Mum, me and Rio are officially dating”. And she felt exactly how the way I felt.

So, things had been so good. We were dating for seven months. We always sat together in the church, he sometimes picked me up at the school, we sang Taylor Swift songs in traffic jam, we visited each other houses when there were no homeworks, he sometimes even came to my school to eat lunch together. The most important thing, He never gets tired of my important and my unimportant gossips. On our monthlyversary, we went to cinemas with sneaking the small size pizzas on my bag. I liked him more and more each day. And I hoped he felt the same thing.

Everything was perfect until Rio was about to graduate from his senior highschool. Rio’s dad is a policeman and he wants all his son became like him. To me, to be a policeman is not the problem. Its time and the location do matter. He will take four years training school which he isn’t allowed to go home in his first year, and it is located in Semarang.

On Sunday evening after church, we went to thirty-six to have some dinner and talked about his decision. “So what are you up to?” I started. He started with his national exam schedule. And I said goodluck. Later, he came up with his dad’s dream.

“You know that I am going to take the police academy test” he said, and stopped in silence. “Yes, I know. You’ll make it.” “I know this is hard for you, and for me too. Whether you believe or not, I will keep my eyes on you, and I will text you no matter how, even I know it’s quite impossible”.

After two months going through the test, He made it. He came to my home on Monday evening after the announcement. He looked blissfully happy. I should have looked the same. Instead I looked panic overwhelmed me. I congratulated him with a hug. Inside the living room, he said he will go to the academy on Thursday which is the next two days. On the way to the airport, I said no words to mom. I kept silent while thinking me and Rio were going to end in tears. Get down from the car, we hugged each other and promised to keep in touch. But promise was just a promise. We got no any conversation at all. He was not allowed to give any contact to anybody even his family. He even wasn’t home when Christmas and new year. I gave up in confusion.

One morning, eight months after not seeing each other, her mom told me that Rio will be home on Friday. I was so happy. The day has come, but I couldn’t pick him up because I’m at the school. He’s on his phone, but I didn’t get any text at all. On the way back home, I saw him was playing with his dog. I thought he would come to my house at night or the next morning. But he didn’t. He forgot about me. It is impossible that he’s got amnesia.

Three days later, I still didn’t get any news. I went to church with a hope that we could meet again there. But still, he didn’t go to church. On the way back home, I drove over to his house.

I saw him was about to go somewhere with his car. I was very upset. I felt dumped. As weeks passed, I gathered the courage to text him first.

“Are you in home?”


“May I go there?”

“Okay. I am waiting”

Finally, “Rio?” I said. He looked up. “How are you?” I said. “Good”. “Sure, you are” I said firmly.

I sat down.

“I know why you were here,” He began.

“Tell me,” I sighed.

Before he said something, I asked him did he have any girl in his life at the academy and he said no because he had always been too busy. Thank God, it wasn’t because of another girl.

“We’re all tired now. You are preparing for universities, I am busy with my academy. I can’t keep texting and asking how do you do, how was your day, how is your preparation on your test. You know, no good things happen if we keep this relationship.” “You know, you can’t stay like this. You should’ve known when you didn’t get any text at all. I didn’t want to meet you just to tell his thing that you don’t want to hear.” I was shocked and quiet in silence. I looked him in disbelief. I hold the tears on my eyes. I didn’t want to cry in front of guy who just dumped me. I called my aunty rightly to pick me up. What makes me angrier was he even didn’t feel sorry for making such a promise before he went to the academy.

“I see. I mean, yes you are right. We should end this. But I still thank you for those moment we made. Thanks for making everything clear. I used to love you with all my heart but you give me this. Still, thanks. My mom is coming so yes, goodbye. I hope you will doing fine at the academy and have many good days. See you”

I left. My aunty didn’t ask anything. I looked at the window in sadness. I couldn’t believe that the guy who had become the part of my family has disappeared completely. It was true that what my friends had been saying: if he didn’t text you in two months, then it’s done.

Flash Fiction: The Hidden Treasure

Puan Maharani / 180410150068

Just like the same day, Tom looking up to the window. He usually do a lot of things to kill the time but this day he feel to lazy to play.

“Why you look like a lazy fat cat?”

Tom know this voice, it’s Bob! His favorite person on earth, tom called him grandpa.

“Grandpa! I’m too bored to play.”

“Hmm..I know something that can makes you feel so excited. But can you promise me after you finished this game make sure that there’s no sadness in your life. Promise?” Bob said that to Tom.

“Looks fun! Let’s do it!”

Then Bob explained him the game. He said that there would be three clues in this game but he need to finished the three clues after that he will receive a reward. It’s a treasure. Bob give him the first clue, he said that Tom should go to the garden and make friend with one people in there.

Tom approach one people in the garden, he try to communicate with her even it doesn’t look easy because she keep laughing while Tom speak. However he finally know her name.

“Congratulation, you complete the first clue. Now for the second clue you need to find my friend house. Her name is Rossa. Find the house and make sure you meet her. If you find it, it means you finished this game. You can ask Rossa for the treasure. I left the present with her.”

Tom running to his neighbors and asked them if they know Rossa. A lot of peoples that he met know her and they called her Doctor Rossa.

Finally Tom found her house and he knocked the door.

“Tom? What happened?” Rossa came out with her white coat.

“Why you already know my name? My grandpa said you have something for me”

“Is he? Okay because you already asked it I will give it to you”

Rossa give him a card. She said it’s a treasure from his grandpa. While he opened it Tom suddenly startled. He feels so confused and start fainted. The doctor gives him a water and start talking.

“Don’t you understand Tom? Who are you?” Rossa asked him

“I don’t know.”

“Tom, actually I already keep it since the day he left but you understand your condition before right? I feel this is the time to give you this card.”

Tom just realized, he’s not in his house all this time. It’s a mental hospital, even right now he isn’t in Rossa house but it’s a doctor’s room. All the thing that he did today is not real. People that he met in the garden is not a normal people, she has mental illness. Tom now understands, his grandpa or which known as Bob already passed away since three months ago.

Word count: 467

#CreativeWriting, #Scribere2017, #FlashFiction

Flash Fiction: Bus Stop

Mahsa Islamey/180410150019

It was 7 PM, the bus should have arrived by now. Spending eight hours a day for five days a week in a big building was what he wanted since he was nine, but waiting for a bus for hours at a bus stop wasn’t what he expected. “Well, it’s Jakarta on weekend, after all.”, he sighed as he lit his cigarette.

“I’ll be home late.”, his dad said.

“Again?”, his eyes could tell how sad he was.

“What I do is important.”

His dad kissed him goodbye and left.

Gatra stood silently watching his father left in a nice suit and a fancy car with amazement. He wanted to be like his father ever since.

“Do you have a cricket?”, the girl next to him brought him back to life.

“There she is.”, he thought in mind.

Her smile widened as he handed his cricket. “Thank you.”, she said politely.

Her hair was almost as short as his. Her eyes reminded him of his coffee this morning which he poured too much milk in it. Her lips were so thin you barely saw it from a distance. She didn’t look like a girl who worked near here, but she was always here at this hour.

“Do you work near here?”, Gatra finally had the guts to ask.

“No, I’m waiting for a friend. And you?”

“I’m waiting for a bus. I work in that building. Advertising company.”, he answered as he pointed to the tallest building in that area.

“I’m sorry.”, she giggled.

Gatra was displeased at first but then burst into laughter. He knew what people said about working in an advertising company, especially he was working in the biggest one and was well-known for its reputation.

“Why would you?”, she asked.

“I want to be important.”

“We all do.”, she smiled.

“Wake up and smell the coffee.”, she mumbled.


“You heard it right. Wake up and smell the coffee.”, as if she knew what he was thinking.

They both went silent.

His mind gone missing when they both went silent for almost half an hour.

“I wonder how’s mom doing.”, he muttered in mind.

Gatra lost his mother when he was six. His mother got dissociative amnesia which caused his mother cannot remember what happened to her from one day to the next and it made his dad had to bring his mother back to her parents.

“I better get going.”

“That’s my friend.”, she pointed to the car that just stopped on the roadside.

“It was nice talking with you.”, she said with a smile. This time she showed her crooked teeth a little bit.

“Nice talking with you, too.”, he smiled back.

Gatra watched her until she got into the car and waved to him.

“See you tomorrow, Sarah. Got to wake up and smell the coffee.”, he mumbled as he lit his second cigarette.

He always wanted to be like his father, but he really wished he could skip this one.

word count: 500
#CreativeWriting, #Scribere2017, #FlashFiction

Character Description: Wanderlost

Shabrina Eilien Khalishah/180410150025

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong in your place and you just want to visit one place to another places? Don’t you want to know how does it feel to wake up in the morning to a cup of English breakfast tea in Birmingham? Spend your day in Juliet’s House, Casa di Giuletta, in Verona? Or just simply walk along the Miami Beach with people you don’t know but you enjoy their presence? But you are stuck there in where you are with people you actually don’t like or don’t want to meet because you are actually a loner, well, not really, but you enjoy being alone most of the times. I am talking about this girl named Nasya, she is a 21 years old college student who is trying to survive her life in Jatinangor. Her body is there, in a crowded supermarket with some stuffs in her hands that she must buy because she has to. But deep down, she knows that her soul is somewhere in another place with probably someone who guide her and introduce her to some beautiful and interesting places she has never been to before. She likes to read books and quotes, there is one quote which she doesn’t remember who is the one who said it, “Places might get boring, but they don’t break you.” She simply likes that quote because she can relate to it. She;s not much of a traveller herself but she just feels like she has to get away from this place, where she is. There is not much to know nor to learn about her life because all she knows is, she is trying her best to survive instead of lives her life.