The book “Perempuan yang Melukis Wajah” (The Lady who Paints Faces) is an anthology of short stories published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama in 2012. It’s a collection of stories related to rain—a collaboration between myself and several other writers: Ndoro Kakung, Wisnu Nugroho, Ainun Chomsun, Fajar Nugros, Aan Mansyur, Karmin Winarta and Mumu Aloha. There are 11 short stories in this anthology, and there are three short stories of mine: Humsafar, Enam Jam (6 Hours) and Yang Tertinggal (The Left-Behind).
Humsafar is an Urdu word with multiple meanings; from better-half to soul mate to traveling companion. The story revolves around two characters, Shah and Julia, as they are waiting for their flights in a busy airport. I am always interested in how a short exchange of looks or words can lead into something more meaningful, in how a stranger can leave such an impression that lasts for a lifetime. A short meeting between Shah and Julia in a crowded airport’s coffee shop envelopes the story of what will happen when you take the opportunity to connect and to say hello to a stranger. But don’t you think even our loved ones are strangers?
Enam Jam (6 Hours)
Enam Jam is toying with the idea about regret. Not the kind of regret in a paralyzing sense, but more in an accepting way. You know how sometimes you ended up not getting the things that you want? It’s more or less about that kind of regret. The story spans in the period of 6 hours; when two souls, Bian and Nai, finally reunite after a few years, try to resolve some of the things from their past that have been left unspoken. But they have only 6 hours. And the clock is ticking.
Yang Tertinggal (The Left-Behind)
Initially, Yang Tertinggal is a part of a bigger story. However, as I sat down to write a short story about rain, I just couldn’t get rid of it from my head. Hence, Yang Tertinggal became my third short story for the anthology. It’s a story told by Ella—who’s trying to find out her true feeling over Diaz, her ‘unofficial’ lover. The story tries to address questions such as: Do you love someone because you love him or because you’re so used to be with him? Do you love someone because you love him or because he completes you? Do you love someone because you’re crazy over him or because he’s the only one who’s available at a given time? Is it love or loneliness? Is it love or insecurity?
Perempuan yang Melukis Wajah is now out in bookstores. It’s best to read these short stories when it’s pouring outside. A window-seat and a cup of hot coffee or chocolate are strongly recommended.