I woke up. It was the third night I had the same dream, with the same story and the same character, the same man. I remembered quite clearly that the man had shown me a book with my name encrypted on its cover: Puteri Sukma Peri. I could also still vaguely hear what he said, “It’s only a fairy tale!
Suddenly, I envisaged my reflection on the mirror. I parted my long shiny black hair. I fondled my fair and smooth skin. I carefully watched my bright eyes. I held my full solid breasts tightly. Then I stood up and held my trimmed waist, and then turned my body around, back and forth. I looked at my entire body in the mirror, and asked myself: Am I a princess? Then I answered myself, “Ah, it’s only a fairy tale!”
I tried to remember the man’s face, but couldn’t clearly remember it. The only thing I remembered was his long wavy hair. It was almost a shoulder length. I could also remember how my heart beat faster when I saw him. Am I falling in love? Falling in love with a dream? Crazy! No way! I closed my eyes and thought hard for a moment.
Is it really just a fairy tale? That idea suddenly came to my mind. Argh, are these not all like fairy tales? Is this life not just like a fairy tale? Wait! “Like”? No, what first came to my mind was not “like a fairy tale”, but “it is only a fairy tale”. I could not find the answer, the more I thought about it.
I stood up and moved to the window, opened the window slowly, and then gazed at the stars far above the sky, and tried to refresh my mind. I inhaled the fresh air in the early morning, and enjoyed the view. But suddenly, the weird idea came up again. It is always like this every day. Am I not bored? Then other things came up to my mind. About my relatives. I only knew my father, my mother, my aunt, my grandma, and my two cousins. People said my grandfather was of late, but none of my extended family members told me when and how he died. I never had any satisfactory explanation from the history class at school. One version said that our ancestors came from a faraway island. Another version said that we originated from prehistoric creatures. There was even a version that our ancestors are now living in a distant planet. And they escaped to the planet after there was a great war here. I didn’t know which one was correct. I wondered…..
I woke up from sleep in my chair and the monitor of the computer in front of me was on. Was I dreaming? I shuddered with horror remembering the dream. It was a woman. For the third time in a row, I met the same woman in my dream. I rechecked the story I had been writing. I read the characters I had created very thoroughly. The same, exactly the same! The woman in my dream was exactly the same as one of the characters in my story. A really weird dream. I tried to recall it, her physical appearance, how she walked, her face, her voice, and her personalities. Crazy! How come?
I stood up and walked to the window, opened the window slowly, and then gazed at the stars far above the sky and tried to refresh my mind. I inhaled the fresh air in the early morning, and enjoyed the view. But the weird idea suddenly came up again. It is always like this every day. Am I not bored?
I got back to my seat and tried to think it over and over again. Was the contact with my character real or just a dream? Or was it the other way around? What I feel now is a dream and the incident with the woman was real? I took a deep breath and sifted my cold coffee, then tried to recall my memory about our contact. I remembered very clearly, how my heart beat very fast when I looked at her. Was I falling in love? Crazy! How could I fall in love with a character that I had created myself?
I closed my eyes and tried to find the answers; suddenly, a voice from nowhere surprised me: Is it just a fairy tale. It really surprised me. What? Am I really just a fairy tale? How come? I felt that all of these were real.
I tried to control myself and eased off my emotion. I closed my eyes tightly. A moment later, I regained my peace and started thinking again. I wondered…
Argh, that’s the man. I was pretty sure that he was the guy I met in my dream a few days ago. Gradually I could see his face. It was not clear enough; because, there was a kind of fog or something in front of me. My heart beat very fast. He was not so good-looking, but I felt my heart beating faster. Is it love? Am I falling in love? How could I fall in love to someone I had never known before? I was not even sure whether it was real or not. I looked over his face. At a glance, I could see his thick eyebrows and his thin moustache. I saw him smiling. Is he a jinny? A ghost? My curiosity defeated my fears.
“Who are you?” I asked him.
The man is just smiling.
“It is hard to explain,” he said after a while. He has a calm and charismatic voice.
“What do you mean?”
He took a deep breath.
“We are trapped in a really weird relationship?”
“Weird?” I still could not figure out what he was up to. “Who the hell are you?”
“Before I answer, you need to answer my questions first. How far do you know yourself? Who are you actually?”
I got stucked. I could not answer the questions. I don’t know many things. In fact, I know only a little, and the rest is a mystery.
“You cannot, answer it, right? You don’t know exactly who you are.”
It surprised me. He knew what I was thinking.
“You will get surprise even more if I say that I know a lot more about you than you do.”
Yes, it was really a big surprise for me. My mouth was wide opened. How could someone know more about me than myself?
“Calm down. Be prepared to hear a big secret I am going to tell you.”
I took a deep breath. I closed my eyes for a while. I tried to control my emotion.
“I am ready.”
“Listen! You are a character in a story, and I am the author!”:
It blew me up. I got dizzy and fell from the chair. I took a deep breath to calm down.
“And all of these…”
“It is only a fairy tale.”
The man nodded, and took a deep breath. I started crying very slowly.
“Actually I am like you too. There is someone, something, or whoever it is who writes down my life story,” he said this with full confidence.
“Just like you. I am just a character in his story,” he said again. “And all of these…”
“It is only a fairy tale.”
“Yes, only a fairy tale.”
Malang, February 4th, 2016
Diambil dari sweek
Lahir di Malang, 22 Februari 1974. Alumnus jurusan Pendidikan Bahasa Inggris IKIP Malang (sekarang Universitas Negeri Malang). Antologi cerpennya Lelaki yang Mengandung Bidadari (Pelangi Sastra, 2018)