By Dianing Widya Yudhistira
Sumber: The Jakarta Post, Features – November 03, 2002
The woman was lying feebly in her room. She was exhausted after a tedious job supervising students taking their exams for several days in a row. That day she wanted to have a really good sleep without any disturbance.
But as she was about to fall asleep, she vaguely heard someone reciting the Koran. Normally, the holy verses used to give her a soothing feeling of peace, but this time they suggested fear, extreme loneliness and sharp pains in her mind.
Slowly she opened her eyes and was shocked to see people, all in black around her chanting Yaasiin, a verse normally recited for a dying or a dead person.
“How dare you consider me to be dying. I’m only worn out,” she screamed. She shouted, asking the people to stop reading the verses and return home. Time and again she shouted, but no one seemed to care. Her throat felt dry. She then saw her mother approaching. Her mother whispered Tauhid, another type of verse usually chanted for a dying person, into her ears.
“I’m not going to die, I’m just exhausted. I’m not sick, let alone dying. No, mother.” Her mother kept chanting the verses as if guiding her to eternity peacefully.
Her mother did not budge an inch from her side, chanting the verses into her ears. She saw her father sitting beside her, carrying a glass of water. She quickly gulped the water. Smiling, her father massaged her head, giving her great comfort. Moments later she was startled when she remembered that her father had passed away four years earlier. All of a sudden, she felt very cold. Her body shivered.
“Give me a blanket and wrap me up in it.” Her mother did not budge an inch, still chanting the verses into her ears. Again she saw her father carrying a white blanket, just like a ray of white light. He then covered her body with the blanket. But she trembled even more vehemently.
The wind was blowing strongly into her room. She heard a tinkling sound. She saw the people still reading the Koran but her mother was not at all affected by the wind nor the sounds. The wind got even stronger, so did the tinkle.
“Is this doomsday?”
Slowly the wind and the tinkling sounds died down. Standing beside her was a total stranger dressed in white. He greeted her. She then greeted the man and asked him why he had come to visit her.
“It is not my wish to come to visit you”
“It’s the wish of God.”
The woman trembled uncontrollably.
“I have come to pick you up and take you to God.”
“What do you mean?”
The woman’s face looked tense.
“You are a teacher and you should have known about my visitation.”
She felt even more exhausted. She tried to rack her brains to find a way to make her guest leave without taking her soul with him. Calmly, she gazed at him.
“Can I say something to you?”
“You know that I am still young. There are lots of things I still want to do here, educating kids and preparing them to be His devout followers.
“I am doing what my God has instructed me to.”
“He is my God too.”
“Are you trying to buy time, Miss?”
“Tell God that I still want to live longer. I am still needed here. We can see for ourselves how low are the morals of the young generation and the leaders of this country. They still need my guidance about high moral values.”
“As a teacher you should know that I only carry out God’s orders. You and I are different. I was created to look after life but you, to terminate it. Get the hell out of here and tell God I still want to live.”
“Have you forgotten that God has created me to obey all His commands?”
“But, can’t death be postponed, dear friend?”
“Come with me. I will show you something.” The woman was then taken to a highway where a crowd of people was looking at a white car beside a tree. Inside it, a friend of hers was lying at the wheel, bathed in blood. She saw the body of her friend riddled with bullet holes.
“Your country is ailing. A wise teacher was riddled with bullets by students just because they failed their exams. Do you wish to die this way too?” She shook her head wildly.
“Let’s go over there.” Still on the busy highway she caught sight of many school children in blue and white uniforms throwing stones at their opponents, some beating each other up while others carried sharp weapons.
“Have their morals become so bad?”
“Just as you see. Come, follow me.” She and her guest headed for a school located in a naturally beautiful environment. There, she saw her old friends teaching moral values. She was happy to see them.
“You have seen with your own eyes that it is not only you who teaches moral values to students.”
“Yes,” the woman nodded.
Then her guest asked her to go to a university where she used to study. She saw thousands of students there studying to be teachers. She smiled at the sight. She began to feel relieved as one worry inside her had vanished.
She then turned back. She was startled when she saw her lover strolling with another woman.
“Who is that woman?”
“Am I not his lover?”
“He has long betrayed your love.”
Her guest’s remarks made her heart ache. Deep in her heart she began to feel that death was at times more beautiful than a life full of bitterness.
“All right, dear friend. I am prepared to be taken to your God.”
Her guest smiled.
“So you have changed your mind about making a bargain?”
She shook her head.
“It’s lamentable that you are ready to be picked up when you are heart-broken seeing your lover walking with another woman, not because you are missing your God.”
She felt like crying at that moment. Only then did she realize that only God has true love.
“So take me to your God quickly.” He guest brought her back to her room. She was shocked to see a body lying on her bed.
“Whose body is it?”
“That’s your dead body.”
“So I am dead now?”
Her guest nodded. Then she felt as though she was flying through the air at tremendous speed.
Translated by Faldy Rasyidie
Sumber: The Jakarta Post, Features – November 03, 2002
Entry filed under: CERPEN.