Room 421: A Memoir

Ecky Nurfitriyani


Since 1998, never in the history of my little family did we get hospitalized. Under my mother’s supervision, my father, my mother herself, and I managed to stay out of hospital for two decades. In 2018, though, the record was broken. I was eating lunch with my friends in the middle of what just happened to be a very hot and bright day when suddenly my mom called to tell me that my dad’s been hospitalized. After hearing the news, I rushed to the hospital immediately, the food I had eaten was barely digested.

I did not realize that my dad had been sick, apparently for almost two months as my mom told me, so it was really shocking for me hearing that news. I did notice that sometimes he looked a little faint and could fell asleep literally the minute he sat down on a chair or a couch, but I thought he was just tired, considering his work place was really far from home and he had to go to work since the sun rose until it was getting dark, six days a week. But as it turned out, it was a symptom of a serious health problem.

When I got to the hospital, he was still in the emergency room before he was finally put into an inpatient ward hours later. He was put into a room number 421, just three rooms away from the ward receptionist. I could feel my arm hair raised the moment I walked into the room. One minute in there I had already shivered.

After dealing with the administration, my mom had to leave to work so I had to keep my dad company in the hospital. So there I was, left alone with my dad, in a cold, dimly lit hospital room. I helped him settle in the room, tidied up his clothes and other belongings. When I was done, I sat on a chair next to his bed.

As I accompanied my dad, I didn’t realize that my eyes were tearing up and I felt heavy on my chest, like I was holding back a sob. Somehow sitting there, watching him lying weak in there made me emotional. And the deafening silence in the room didn’t help either because I couldn’t focus on anything else but my dad. I literally met him every single day, I lived under the same roof as him and how did I not realized that he had a serious health condition. Suddenly reality hit me really hard; I hadn’t been alone with my dad in a closed space in a really long time.

For the last two years, my relationship with my dad had been strained. I couldn’t possibly remember the exact reason why but I did remember there was a fight over something that I would say was stupid and unnecessary. There were screaming battles in my house for at least a week. It was an exhausting week to say the least. I was tired from being angry, I was too busy avoiding my dad whenever he had a chance to insult me, scream at me, or get angry at me. We’ve been distanced ever since and my mom didn’t even know about it up to this day. Sure, we still talked to each other, but we barely exchanged more than five sentences to each other in one day and more often than not those conversations just felt awkward, like it was just formality.

Wow, I didn’t know that bringing myself to remember what happened, even in a blur, was a bad decision. I couldn’t hold it any longer as my chest felt heavier and my eyes were blurred, so I left the room immediately to get some fresh air.

I was watching him all by myself until around seven in the evening my mom went back to the hospital after work to check on him. From her disheveled look and the amount of paperwork that she brought, I could tell that she barely got her work done. She must have been worrying about my dad all day.

We gathered around in the small space, my mom sitting on the chair while I sat on the floor next to her. I watched as my mom taking care of my dad, sometimes she caressed his hand and asking how he felt, did he feel dizzy, or did he want anything. It was kind of a strange scene for me to see because even at home I barely saw this kind of interaction between them anymore. And that was when I realized that maybe not only my dad and I’s relationship that’s strained, but my parents’ also. I knew that they fight sometimes, I mean almost every couple do, but I didn’t know that it had an effect to their relationship until that moment.

I felt myself smiling as my parents joking around and laughing over each other’s jokes. The previously cold room had become warmer and so did my heart. It was a rare moment for the three of us to just sit there, talking and laughing, even though there were only the three of us at home. We barely met each other on weekdays, only in the evening to morning. For a long time, even on the weekends, we would just mind our own business in our own private space. I would be busy with college assignments, my mom would be busy doing her work, and my dad would just read the newspaper or fall asleep on the couch while watching the TV. Therefore we barely had family time together anymore. Sadly, we got our family time was only because my dad was hospitalized.

I could feel the tension in the room rose as my mom told my dad to take care of himself more from now on if he truly loved my mom and me, a serious tone could be sensed from her words. I could feel my heart clenched upon hearing those words. She reminded him that he should get better if he wanted to watch me become the person he aspired me to be. I swear to God I was about to lose it. I couldn’t even talk because my voice would just crack. I could’ve just cried right there on the cold floor of the room but I remained still.

That moment, I reflected on everything that had happened between me and my dad. I’m sure that family fight all the time. But it shouldn’t be a reason for them, for us, to fall apart. Maybe my dad being sick was a wake up call for all of us. It was a reminder for me to put whatever it was that happened between us behind and start to make amends with my dad. Perhaps it was also a reminder for my mom. And it was most certainly a reminder for my dad to take care of himself better, because he still has my mom and me.

My dad being hospitalized gave me some perspectives. There is always a possibility of everyone leaving me out of nowhere, even in the middle of a sunny day when I’m just enjoying myself. That possibility should be put in my mind so I would always do things right with the people I love, because I’m afraid it would be too late if I wouldn’t. So in that hospital room, I started to try to reconcile with my dad, and so did my mom. We’ve been rebuilding our little family ever since.

Illustration credit to Deniz Korkmaz (

Drab Fawn Hour: A Memoir

Rifayanti Adawiyah180410160079

It was May 10th on Thursday afternoon, the sky in Suryalaya has become a little darker than usual. The wind blows, cloudy. All the clouds on the sky right above Windy and Rega seem to outpour its water. Windy has lived in Ciawi for seven years, surrounded by the green fields, foggy morning, birds chirping and built their nests on the tree. Years has passed, Widy is now a 20 years old university student, has to live separately from the lovely house where her mother little brother live too. As the time went by, Widy happened to check on her old social media, hardly used social media. She logged in into the account, a notification popped up on her screen and there was an inbox from her firend. She clicked it, read the message carefully and balled out her yes, she widen her pupils and you can read whether she was shocked or excited. But for what? What was that expression for.

Widy put so much expression only to a message on her old social media messenger. It happened to be a message from her long-gone friend, not only friend but both of their parents were close. Can be called as bestfriend? They lived separately, her friend had to move out of town following their parents. It was his father’s job that forced this one family to live far away from Widy’s family. It was not a big deal at all, Widy thought they were still kids anyway. Two elementary students which happened to be good friends, luckily they lived in the same residents. A neighbor that went to the same elementary school, live near by and have spent time together playing childhood’s traditional games back in 2008.

Seems like Widy stopped functioning because of that popped up message, she has to fully absorb what was that about. It was written from the message ”Widy, time has passed. How many years was it? 8 years ago? Or even 9 years? What a fortunate event, I looked up to my Mom’s old album before we moved to Cilegon and there I found a photo. I was wearing a blue cap, grey polo shirt for children and green trousers, I did looked superb old-fashioned on that photo. Then there I saw you standing next to me and my brother, you were wearing a white shirt, a panda head was attached to it. You were wearing a pink petticoat covering your knees. I thought you hated pink so much? The brown shoes looked good on you, we were 11 years old back then. You were younger than me right? …. So, how was everything? You good buddy? I’ll be in Ciawi on May 7th, let’s arrange a meeting.

There she was again, she remembered her old friend’s face as tall as her nine yaers ago but both are twenty something now. She has not fully remembered or could not even imagined how will they looked like after a long lost contact for nine years. It was Rega, Rega Alghiffari was the one who wrote that message. He just slide into her inbox and typed the text out of nowhere, when did these two became friends on this messenger app? Was that when they were in middle school? High school? Or even during the freshmen year in university? Widy was blacked out, she hardly remembered because both had never talked in that social media app. She replied to Rega’s message, typed a long message and clicked backward then just four simple sentences were sent to Rega. “You remembered that? It was 9 years ago, I guess. Everything in here were good, I am doing fine everything is under control. So, we are both now a university students huh? Okay, a small talk would not mess us up around after 9 years right?

Days has passed, both of them agreed for a meet up. Rega picked the meet up place. They have been talking in the messenger for a while, decided not to over talked all the old memories in the messenger app or they would ended up out of topic once they really met. Days and nights has passed until it was finally May 6th, Widy put on an alarm reminder on her cellphone. She did not want to miss any opportunity to finally meet her long-gone neighbor. Rega called Widy on the phone, it was 9 a.m. She picked the phone call, still feeling drowsy and had to clear her throat or the voice would ruin the mood. Rega told her, his family were on their way to visit Ciawi will arrived around 15:00. They were talking on the phone until her phone runs out of battery and started to heated up, it was a 72 minutes long of talking. Widy asked him to end the conversation then she hanged up. May was actually an ordinary month same as the other months, but she has never been this excited for a several months. Did not meant that she has never lived in happiness, but the excitement on her side can be pictured as if three layers of hot pancakes were placed on the the plate, sliced strawberries sitting on top of this pancakes and honey droplets enhanced the pancake appearance also a cup of hot chocolate milk was set beside the plate, she was feeling sweet.

Early morning in Suryalaya sky, bright sun came out of the peak of Syawala Mountain. Days has passed, it was May 9th that day. She has woke up, still has her socks on, lumps of blanket warmed and narrowed the bed. A notification popped up, it was an early morning message from Rega. She spring from the bed, became fully energized and read it carefully. Rega told her that they will have a meeting at a small new café in Suryalaya, located near their elementary school. This place was used to be a barn, a rice storage to be specific. The son of this rice storage barn changed it into a café, Rega have visited this place with his father once. Compared to the other cafes, this one has small tiny details that would caught your attention and you would feel warm just by sitting on that café, Widy agreed to his recommendation. Besides, that café is located near their elementary school, different kinds of topic would probably came out to keep them on the conversation. Day has changed to noon, noon has changed to evening, the sun has set and the evening has changed into midnight, midnight has changed and the sun has risen up.

It was May 10th on Thursday afternoon, the sky in Suryalaya has become a little darker as if all the clouds above Widy and Rega about to outpour its water. Rega has arrived in the café first, a moment later Widy has arrived there too. She was amazed of how small the café was, has never been to a café that is as small as this one, Bengala Café. As soon as she has arrived, she entered the café. It was narrow, a group of coffee lover that counted up to fifteen people would not fit in this place, a half of it would do. Shade of brown and yellow caramel colours dominated the entire medium-sized 7x11m café. Widy entered the café, on her right side found a reading-corner where books were displayed, you can sit on a bamboo couch, it has nice ornaments too. The strong smell of roasted coffee beans filled the entire café, luckily there were only three customers five including both of them. She has not moved a muscle, but her eyes observed all the vintage ornaments, not much but simply well decorated. He was right, this place would helped them reminiscing their old childhood memories, sharing their coming of age stories would be good too. As the coffee was served to their table, they started talking time has shown it was almost 2 and a half hours, none of them stopped the conversation except she took a sip of her coffee. That was a good time to remember, drab fawn color mixed well with the brown yellow caramel ornaments.

Word count: 1.636

Photo by: Rifayanti Adawiyah. 2018/04/01.

My Nights in Asia Africa: A Memoir

Eres Ferro Bastian

At daylight, it looks like your typical museum for tourists. Decently maintained, but uninteresting. You rarely ever gain access to its balcony, even though there are several park benches. When you enter, two guards will stand by to open your doors and scan your bag while you walk through the metal detector in front of you. You’ll probably linger to look at the globe near the entrance door, sadly you’ll be hurried by the guards to register, to gain access to whatever room is open. In the Entrance Hall, you’ll find that the room is too bright and too bleak to begin with, but you move further, and you can find a display of statues depicting the event of the Asia-Africa Conference, with Soekarno standing in front of several historical figures. His speech recording sometimes can be heard, if you’re lucky. That is the only statues you can find in the Entrance Hall. When you move to the middle of the Entrance Hall, you can find museum pillars with newspaper clippings about the Conference. Sadly enough, they are scanned and put into the wallpaper for the museum pillars. Most of them are so enlarged so that they get pixelated. On several pillars, you can find historical figures and their slight descriptions, which you can access easily through Wikipedia, complete with their pictures and even more detailed description about them. The Interactive TVs are dull in colour, unfinished in development – some buttons do not work and the information from it are the same as in Wikipedia articles.

That’s about it in the Entrance Hall, you’ll then be guided by the small poles leading to the museum corridor. As bleak as it gets, the only paths you can go to are the restroom and the Conference Hall. You can only enter Audio Visual room when there’s an event going on, and you can rarely visit the library. Fortunately, you won’t find the conference hall that bad. You can sit on the armchairs and the room is huge. After that, exit. That is all.

Yet, this museum adorably and probably witnessed my short little journey inside. These journeys you and I will find dull, but I find remembering them a joy. Not because the memory was interesting, no, but because my senses tingled in there, it got super-sensitive. Maybe because the museum is alive, you know? Just like in the movie Night at the Museum. Because every time I was there, the broken-white rough walls, warm street lights designed like it was in the 50s, its tedious stone pavement, made me adore this museum. Even though what happened there was quite unimportant.


It was always on Tuesday, when I arrived at the Asia-Africa museum. I was late an hour, and I was already dazed trying to find where I could park. I found it 300 meters away from the entrance of the museum, near the intersection at Jalan Naripan. It was my first visit to the Asia-Africa museum for a small film screening. Atumbua 39’ Celsius was the film, with Riri Riza, whom I had never known before as the guest for the event. I entered hurriedly the museum through the side entrance. The corridor was filled with white neon lights, with white walls, and white tiled floors, creating a wider feeling. If only the floors are a lot whiter, and of marble ceramic instead of plain white tile, I would enjoy strolling through the corridor. Following the direction given by the security guard at the entrance, I entered the Entrance all. Inside, the film was already running with a lot of people. They probably already knew that Riri Riza was inside. The hall was not completely dark, they turned off the big lights and kept the small spotlights for the displays on. Somehow it gave a warm feeling, albeit it was freezing inside. Everyone was all focused on the movie, and I was quite troubled trying to find a chair, the empty ones were at the front and I was afraid to block the audiences’ view. Yet, this old man came, in his Pink Floyd shirt, jeans, and sandals, which I never knew what their songs are. He came to me and grinned lightly. He was warm enough to give me his chair, and went to the front row, sitting with probably the guest stars. He was probably the owner. Not too long after that, the film was paused for recess for Maghrib. I walked around the Entrance Hall, with the fluorescent yellow spotlights aimed towards the displays and statues. The hall felt different, it was warmer. It gave you the atmosphere to stay silent and focus, so everyone was silent and wandered the hall slowly. The marble ceramic floors and the white yellowish wall gave a sensation of luxury for me. It was cold, but that was what I wanted, and I wished that the museum would open this way. Shortly, the film continued until the credits, and the old man in Pink Floyd shirt stood up to greet Riri Riza to the stage. I guessed right, he was the owner.

I was never really interested in films until the discussion began. The film was unique enough, giving messages through tapes because of the difficulty to access East Timor due to the anarchy in the area. So that was it, I thought it was another different experience. Not everyone inside was enthusiastic about the event, but Riri Riza and the old man spoke endearingly. I didn’t get what they were speaking about at the beginning, but I knew they hold dear the Indonesian film industry. Finally, after a short while, I picked up what they were talking about. The Indonesian Film Industry is having a hard time catching up with modern standards, Indonesia lacked theatres designated for unrecognised films made by locals and screening at theatres such as XXI and CGV are extremely expensive and had a lot of regulations. Thus, they send their films to world festivals, many of them are well-praised, but that was it, there are no theatres in Indonesia who wants to screen them. Realising that, I knew that I should have paid more attention to Indonesian film industry. That was also when I realised that Riri Riza is one of the most iconic film figures in Indonesia, by browsing through my phone.

After the talk had ended, everyone was eager to take a photo with Riri Riza, while I stood up and left. Leaving with a big smile, with my hands lightly touching the rough walls as I left, the museum switched on the something in me. More appreciation for local films.


So I invited my two close friend to the museum, the film was Chacun son cinema, or To Each His Own Cinema – an anthology of 34 short films made by 36 directors. Only one of my friends came along, let’s call her Pim. We arrived early, this time, it was quite late in the schedule, but the event also started late. I gained access to the Audio-Visual room. The floor was covered with dark green carpet, and the light was bright. The walls are of wood with holes on several parts and some part of the wall also jutted out to the inside of the room, probably made so to absorb the sound well. Pim invited her friends and were on their way. The film started, and the lights was completely turned off, everything was dark except the projection screen. I didn’t understand the filmuntil the recess for Maghrib, in which I realised that it was an anthology of three-to-five unconnected films, except that they were all about cinema. When the recess came, I went to the parking lot near the exit door to accompany Pim smoking. We didn’t talk much, most of the time we enjoyed the silence at dusk. The street lights were all on, few cars were passing by, sometimes smoke went through my vision, accompanying the sweet twilight I was looking at.

After the recess had ended, discussion was held. What could I say when I had almost zero understanding of the films except for their own plot. However, everyone inside had clarity in what they were discussing about. Especially the friends Pim brought, they knew filmmakers such as David Lynch, Wong Kar-wai, Lars von Trier, Roman Polanski. They knew how different Asian films can be when screened side-by-side to the European films. It made me realise how unknowing I was in films. When I realised that the films I was intrigued at such as Nymphomaniac, Antichrist, The Elephant Man, Chungking Express are made by the filmmakers who participated in making the anthology. Coming home, I realised I should have given more attention to the context of the film. Appreciate the artistry of cinematography each filmmaker gave. Coming home, I always felt Asia-Africa Museum smiled at me, as I always come home with something new.

Photo by Agung Darmawan, retrieved from

Morning Disaster: A Memoir

Almira Abiyya


I woke up with a jolt on a morning in the middle of March 2017. It was the day for the midterm of Dasar-Dasar Filsafat, and according to the schedule, the test was supposed to begin at 8. When I woke up, I felt weird because usually I only wake up after my alarm rings, and somehow that day I didn’t remember hearing it. I looked for my phone and when I found it, I read a big 08.17 on my lock screen and after processing it, I realized that I’m late for my midterm. I panicked and got ready as fast as I could. I knew that there’s not enough time for me to take a shower, so I just washed my face and brushed my teeth. After I put on the nearest clothes that I could find and, I ran to findojek to go to campus. On my way to campus, I couldn’t help but panicking because that was the first time for me to wake up late for an important test.

When I arrived at PSBJ, it was quiet because as expected, the test had already begun. I was half-running to the hall in which the midterm took place when I spotted two girls from my batch sitting and talking outside of the hall. I asked them in a quiet voice “Are you two done with the test?”, and one of them said “No, we came late and Pak Fadly told us to see him after the test is finished.” Hearing that, I felt so relieved and glad because I wasn’t the only one who came late for the midterm. I didn’t know the two of them that well, but I sat beside them because it would be weird if I sat far from them since there was only the three of us. When I saw the two of them studying for the test, I realized that I actually hadn’t studied at all. Thankfully, I brought my notebook in my bag and then I started studying and occasionally joined them in their talks about what they had been studying for the test. While waiting for the test to be finished, I kind of worried because what if Pak Fadly wouldn’t let us do our test? And what if he wouldn’t tolerate our lateness? But I tried to calm myself and continued to look over my notes.

After waiting for awhile, some students left the hall but I and my friends didn’t try to meet Pak Fadly yet because it seemed like the time for the test wasn’t up yet. But not too long after that, I finally heard Pak Fadly announcing that the time is up and the rest of the students who took the test came out of the room. I met some of my friends who had finished their tests and they asked where I was because they didn’t see me earlier, to which I just laughed in return and explained shortly that I woke up late. Some of them laughed at me, and the others were worried about my midterm, so I just told them that I’m working on it. They asked if I want them to wait for me, but I said no and told them to go home first.

I approached Pak Fadly with my two friends who were late to ask whether we can still do our test, but he told us to wait for him at the library in the PSBJ building for a few minutes because he had to take care of the test papers first. At that moment, I was thankful because there was still a chance for me to do the midterm test and save my grade.

We waited for him in the library, but he didn’t come even after 20 minutes of waiting. We began to have doubts whether Pak Fadly really said PSBJ’s library instead of the faculty’s library. Because he still didn’t come, we decided to go look for him in the faculty’s library. We still saw no sign of him, therefore we asked the librarian whether he had seen Pak Fadly there. The librarian’s answer didn’t help because he said that he didn’t know who Pak Fadly was. We started to panic and worry because what if Pak Fadly was waiting for us in this library? What if he decided to leave because we didn’t come to him immediately? Thankfully, one of my friends assured us that Pak Fadly really did say that we should wait for him in PSBJ’s library and we went back there to check in case Pak Fadly was already there.

He was still nowhere to be found, so the three of us just stood outside the library. Since we were only in our second semester, we didn’t really know what to do if we missed a midterm test. We were just scared because what if missing this one test will resulted in bigger consequences later? In the middle of our small talks, a senior of mine approached us and asked about Pak Fadly. It turned out that she was also taking the same Dasar-Dasar Filsafatclass as me, and she also woke up late and missed the test. We told her that we were supposed to meet him there, but we couldn’t find him so we just waited there in case Pak Fadly suddenly shows up. She asked whether we had tried to text him or not, and we realized that we hadn’t. Thus, we asked the group chat of our batch for Pak Fadly’s number and luckily someone replied with his number. We texted him to ask where he was because we had been waiting for him in the library, but he didn’t answer for a long time.

Because we were left with uncertainty, we didn’t dare to leave the area near PSBJ’s library in case something would happen. We sat on the floor outside the library and continued to have small talks. We never talked with each other prior to this, and the interaction that we had was just calling each other’s name and saying small greetings out of courtesy when we passed each other in the halls. Thus it was nice to be able to get to know them through that experience.

Since we just sat there doing nothing, we talked about a lot of things. I found out that my two friends come from Jakarta and Bandung, and now both of them are staying in the same indekost in Sukawening. That’s why both of them are late for the test, one of them woke up late and the other spent all morning knocking her door to wake her up. We also talked about upcoming movies in the cinema, and what were the things that currently trending at that time.

After talking for awhile, our topic changed into the subjects of our studies. We talked about the one with hard assignments, the one with the nice lecturer, the one that always got cancelled because the lecturer never came into class, and so on. The senior that was with us joined our conversation and told us about her classes that the rest of us hadn’t taken yet. She also told us that her friend missed the midterm test for Pak Fadly’s class and she got a D for the final grade. We grew bored because there was still no answer from Pak Fadly. I was okay with waiting because I had no other things to do, but my senior had other class that she had to attend. Before she go, she assured the rest of us that it’s okay to get a D and we will still be allowed to work on our thesis with only one D.

Not too long after she left, Pak Fadly answered with a text message which said that he had to go to DipatiUkur because of something related to work. He told us to meet him next week for our test. With that, I parted with my two friends because there was no reason for us to keep staying in PSBJ.

Photo by: Almira Abiyya

(Un)haunted: A Memoir

Gessy Garnia Utami Permana180410160064

February, 2018.

It was a wet weekend in Pangalengan, a sub-district located in the south of Bandung City, which is famous for several tourist attractions. Although it was already in the rainy season, we still insisted on going out. We drove all the way here to have some vacation because every weekend, my family and I always go out to have some family time. I told my dad about this place we haven’t visited in Pangalengan after my friends told me. It is located near the plantation area which the government own. Along the way there, we were treated by a green expanse of tea plantation resembled a huge wavy tapestry that adhered to the mountainous land. I wiped away the dew on my windshield to see the clearer view but the raindrops outside the windshield forbade me. I always love the view here where the viewpoint is wide and far. The rain was almost stopped, but it was still drizzling. Leaving little drops for the wiper to work. I told my dad to turn off the air conditioner because it was really cold and opened up the windshield a little bit for air. But the air coming inside was not any kinder.

GPS failed to bring us to the place. We had to make U-turn a dozen times in the middle of foggy tea plantation and came to the same T-junction for three times. But after we asked a local about the place, we made it there. It was an old colonial house near a tea plantation. In fact, this two-storey house became famous after the latest horror movie filmed here. So, it was basically a haunted old house that everyone was curious about.

The rain was pouring hard the time we arrived. The sky got darker as to define the spooky aura of the house. Wrinkles and dullness of age was shown on its face. The house had the triangle-European kind of roof with shabby tiles and some of it was in disarray. The wooden wall was the kind of small logs that compiled together on all sides. All in dull white and some were black. It had a front yard that was well maintained. A plant with yellow trumpet-like flowers was the only thing alive from the house. I got out of my car and the cold splash of rain touched my uncovered skin as a run out to the house. I got to the red brick stoned steps at the left side of the house where the entrance was. There were people at the door who asked for the entrance ticket. I looked at them to make sure that they were people. No pale faces, no hollow eyes. They wore green uniform and boots which covered their feet—thanks God they were touched the ground truly. I would worry if the gravity didn’t get them. So, my father gave them the fee and we went in, craved for the warmth.

The creaky sound of the wooden floor welcomed us as well as the rancidity and coldness. No warmth, I sighed. My little hair on my skin was all standing up to protest. It was dimly lit inside but enough to show me the beautiful vintage wallpaper. The owner must love the lovely pattern of the wallpaper on a color. I was not sure about what color it was because it has turned to be pale beige.

There was a big photograph hanging above the fireplace. It was the character Ibu from the horror movie. She looked creepy. She looked as she was watching the visitors that dare to come to her place with the how-dare-you-come-and-disturb-me,- darling expression. I didn’t watch the movie—I won’t. But I knew from my friends that she was the ghost of the movie. She was quite famous I think. I hate horror movies. I stopped watching horror when I in junior high school after I watched the scariest movie I’ve watched. I came home and couldn’t sleep at the night. Once I managed to sleep, I was awoken by a nightmare. I was gasping and sweating dramatically in bed. That time I knew that that typical scene was true. Although actually I kind of “blind” to this kind of thing. I haven’t—I am not going to—experienced any kind of mystical things in real life. All I experienced was that I felt it or I think I felt it. I don’t even know what it is like. Sometimes I wanted to know how it is like. But, the only thing in my head was how to turn on the fireplace because I was freezing to death and ignored the stare of Ibu.

I moved to other rooms. There was this dark narrow hall if I went to the left and there was this little kitchen with a window as the partition on the right. I went to the left first. It was really dark as if there was nothing at the end of the hall and my breath started to be puffed. I thought about what things would have come from that nothingness. The room was at the end of the hall. My father stuck out his head to see what was inside. I prepared myself for a scream from him but he went in without hesitating. It was bigger than the room before and brighter because someone opened up the window. The room was pretty empty. Where were other visitors? A loud thump suddenly heard from the ceiling. We didn’t know what it was. But I saw nobody except the keeper at the front after we came in. It freaked me out.

I moved to the place that seemed to be the bathroom after passing the kitchen. It was really dark and wet. There was a creepy old well with its puller at one side of the room. I started to feel uneasy and started to take a step back when there was someone blocking me. Who stood behind me? My parents were both in front of me. I saw no other people besides the keeper at the front. My heart started to thump and dared myself to turn. It was a man. I gave out a big sigh because his feet touched the ground. He turned out to be another keeper and started to tell us the history about this house. Besides telling us about the house that had been there for two centuries and had been used for the place for the officials of the PTPN lived, he told us that he was seeing many ‘things’ at the time he was speaking to us when I barely felt anything at all. He told us that there was a beautiful naked lady bathing right in front of us. We started to feel uneasy. I observed my father as he put his palms at the back and the way his eyes saw his own feet nervously when the keeper told us about his seeing. My mother’s eyes weren’t stay on one point. They were wondering around the room worriedly. So, I told the keeper to stop and showed us the other rooms instead.

We were heading to the stairs that led up to the second floor when that loud thump came to my ears again. My cold palms felt wet and colder. Slowly I made the old stairs creaked one by one. They were full of dust I surprised I didn’t sneeze. Suddenly the thump became louder and repeatedly. I heard voices like a conversation. Were the ‘things’ do chat? I dared myself reached the top. There were the open door to a wide room with the same kind of wallpaper and what looked like a white gown tail. Not the dusty kind of gown or the bloody kind. It wasn’t creepy at all. I thought about the possibility the ‘things’ fooled me by showing the good view at first then attacked me afterward. Confused, I stepped in and found a beautiful woman wore a wedding dress with a man. In front of them, people went here and there while bringing photography stuffs. All their feet were reaching the ground. In the haunted house the keeper told us, these people were doing pre-wedding shots.

We came back to the front after finished with our ‘vacation’. All my tiny hair didn’t stand up anymore and the air got a little warmer. My father took out his phone and started to take photos. I was terrified and worried that I would wake up the tiny hair on my body. What if the camera captured something?—particular something? But nothing happened. That’s what people with mystical experiences are talking about. Not me. So when my father acted as a photographer by telling me and my mother to pose, we did.

Photo by: Ayi Permana