An Ode to the Souls – A Sunday Eid Reflection

On this Sunday Eid, I cried a little bit. I missed my family a lot. I missed friends at home and away. That’s a pretty, non-nagging way to say that I’m envious of friends and relatives who are lucky enough to gather with their big families, sitting and laughing and eating lontong opor and sambal goreng krecek. I even miss a ritual I know I hated: sungkeman (the younger kneeling down and asking for forgiveness from the older/superior, and never the other way around). I’m bearably sad, but I’m happy for them: daughter and brothers who are miles away, cousins, aunts, uncles, step mother, friends, and former students who are celebrating this grand day. On a day like this, I remember those souls departed, and wonder when and how they’re going to reincarnate and greet me again: papa and mama, grandpas and grandmas, half dozen of uncles — biologically and otherwise.

Then, I remember a particular friend I was never particularly fond of, but who I remember from time to time. A particular friend who a few years ago (unwillingly) shared his dark secret with me, who made me bleed (literally and not so much metaphorically), who told me about his crush at breakfast in one winter morning. He, who was ashamed of his own name. I remember how he made our place smelled like berries. If we meet again, I’m going to curse him for his misbehavior. Worse: for making me “Google-map” him: where in this banal world are you??? Are you as dead as my papa???

On this Sunday Eid I am reminded of things I no longer have: things that leave a room that defines what I am now. Don’t be sad, even though you miss lontong opor this year. Be sweet and revengeful: be playful like life. Laboratory life. Dare to test your truths. What is pain if not to transform you into something prettier, wittier, happier? Words coming from your mouth are steps you make on a chess board. Life like this makes you more patient and observant of others’ reactions and chain reactions. Your only enemy is confinement, so make a breakaway ritual every now and then.

Have you done things to show you love yourself today? I just finished having a scalp and back massage, a cream bath treatment and facial. I finished my egg benedict and the best avocado juice in the world. I savored my double chocolate mousse. I left some people alone for their sakes and mine (hey, that’s a treat!). And I’m still enjoying my cappuccino in my favorite coffee shop and that handsome, curly American guy across the table. So much for my fantasy, here comes the wife!


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