I suppose everyone has their own favorite place to go. Whether to go hangout with their families, friends, lovers, or even by themselves. Me? I love to go hangout with my friends, but sometimes, when I feel that my life sucks and I have nothing to hold on to, I always go to a place that never fail to sweeten my day. The place where I always spend my quality time with myself, whenever I feel tired of life. The place’s name is Sugarush. It is located in Bandung. Well, if you know Braga Street, Sugarush is located on that street. Every time I go there, the place is always empty. Not really empty, but I usually find there’s only two or three people who visit that place, and that’s including me. It is one of the reasons why I love spending my solitude at Sugarush. I usually go to that place every Thursday night. Not only for having dinner, but also contemplating my life. As sweet as the name, Sugarush sells very delicious desserts. You can find tiramisu, pancake, churros, sundae, waffle, and many more, but for me, the rose macaron is the best one. Two rose macarons and good books, those are the complete set for my solitude nights.
Sugarush isn’t that spacious, yet still decorated nicely and somehow makes me feel comfortable and warm. You can see a lot of antique chandeliers on the ceiling. The walls are full of pictures and wallpaper. You can also find a big mirror in here which I don’t know what it is for. I don’t know why, but this place reminds me of my grandma’s house. Well, maybe it is because the smell of freshly baked cookies or cakes or macarons that brings back the happy memories of my childhood in my grandma’s house. In this place, you can also find a smoking area. It is in the back side of the cafe. The place is still nice, but has a diferent theme with the non-smoking area. My favorite spot is the third table on the right in the non-smoking area. Actually I don’t know why this place is always empty. The waitresses are friendly, and the price is affordable enough (well it depends), and the food is also really good. When I’m lucky enough, I will be able to meet the owner’s son who is also kind of handsome. I bet he’s still 20ish, maybe 24 or 25 years old. I don’t know. He usually sit in the back side of the cafe. He has a cute smile. Although he’s not as cute as my boyfriend. But why I love the most spending my time alone in this place is this place makes me think a lot, or I can say that I feel I grow up and learn a lot in this place.
For me, this place is more than a place for me to eat sometimes. I usually spend a lot of my time here. Thinking, reading, doing my tasks, having dinner, and even sometimes, hanging out with my boyfriend when I’m in the mood to share this place with him. Sometimes, when the place is empty, I cry in here, like the first time when I went to Sugarush. The first time ever I went to this place was 3 years ago. It was the day when my boyfriend and I planned to watch a movie in theater. I was all dressed up and ready to be picked up, but ten minutes before he ought to pick me up, he texted me that he had to attend his mom’s friend’s funeral which then turned out that he played basketball with his friends. I cried not because he cancelled the plan, but because he didn’t appreciate the time that I’d given for him, I had even ignored my friends’ plan to hangout together, to go with him before. Eventually, I decided to watch the movie alone and had dinner on my own. After watching the movie, I walked down the street and saw this place was empty. I didn’t know why but I decided to have dinner there. When I entered the place, I could smell the smell of the desserts. The air was full of sweetness. I ordered baked rice and two rose macarons for the dessert. When I ate the macaron at the first time, I felt that it melted in my mouth, the taste was really good, and I cried. Fortunately, I was the only one who ate there. I cried while I was eating my macaron, and somehow it felt really good. Since then, I love that place so much. There were times when my friends cancelled the plans that we had planned before, well, instead of being sad and mad at them, I always decided to go to that place to spend more time with myself.
Not many of my friends know that I love to spend some time alone. Well maybe because most of them think that I’m really an extrovert. I mean, I am. But after spending time or talking with people, especially with the resented ones, I always feel tired and sick, eventhough they are my close friends. As I grow older, I have found that people are extremely exhausting. That’s why recently I rather spending my time alone and having my solitude than hanging out with my friends. But for the most part, lot of people (at least, in my friendship and family circles) condemn solitude. The person who dining alone is to be pitied, and solitude becomes something to be feared and embarrassed. Believe it or not, now I have realised that we are moulded by our social situation. Much of our behaviours are dictated by society. We see what those around us do, think, believe, desire, look like and pursue, and we mimic it. Although usually the process is unconcious.
After quite some time, I have realised that being alone changes that, even if only in the short term. I feel that solitude disconnects me from my usual social roles which laden with labels and assumptions, and let me reassess what I want. I think part of why I feel I grow up a lot when I’m spending my time alone in this place is that I can stop thinking of myself in terms of how other people see me. I have started to shake my teenage habit of reworking my entire personalities to suit whoever I was with. All this time I have built my networks and work on relationships to the point that I lost touch with myself. I even think that sometimes I don’t recognize myself. But when I’m spending a lot of time alone, It forces me to take control of my life. Being alone forces me to learn how to manage my own emotions, and it teaches me to sit and thrash out problems myself without turning to someone else. For me, freedom comes down to the ability to handle shit on my own. To confront who I am and just be. To enjoy a beautiful moment without needing to immediately share it. It comes down to an ability to be my own friend and make peace with silence.
As a line from what I’ve considered to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written goes, “When everything is lonely I can be my own best friend, I get a coffee and the paper, have my own conversations, with the sidewalk and the pigeons and my window reflection”
Or as what Virginia Woolf said in her book, The Waves, “How much better is silence, the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”
As sweet as the name, Sugarush makes my life sweeter and I guess this place helps me a lot to find my real best friend, which is myself. I have learnt that we cannot rely on other’s happiness, but we have to create our own. And mine, one of them I created in this place.
Photo by: Maya Bintari