All of us have that one person in our lives: the one who never leaves.

The one who never leaves is both always and never around. He is here, but at the same time, he isn’t.

You cannot hold his hands or kiss his cheek or hug him from behind anytime you like. He is not going to text-flirt you or call you every single day or pick you up for a night out (that will end up with an episode of snuggling on a couch, talking about dead authors and unheard poems). He may not give you presents on your birthdays or send you postcards from faraway places when he travels. You cannot run to him when you’re having a breakdown and cry on his shoulders–seeking a familiar comfort on the slope of his neck that you have known by heart.

At first, you think you love and hate him with a more or less similar intensity. However, the more you try to hate him, the more you realize that you can’t. Of course, he is not perfect. He has his own flaws. He has his own issues. But he has also loved you and hurt you so deeply, to the extent that both the love and the wounds have transformed you completely–you will never see the world the same way ever again.

And then you get it.

You can’t hate him simply because you love him too much to be able to hate him. After all the ups and downs, fireworks and turmoils, late-night romance, and silent tears, no matter how sad and lonely you feel, deep down inside you know that all you really want is for him to be happy. It surprises you, at times, that you are actually capable of loving someone that way.

The one who never leaves will always be around as you’re stepping into the milestones of your life: a relocation to an exotic country, an international best-selling book, an around-the-world trip for a year, a death in the family, an engagement, a marriage, a first child. He may be there to congratulate or console you (either in person or via Facebook), or he may not. But you know that he is (and will always be) the first person that comes to mind when you’re having these big moments in your life. And for a while, in the midst of euphoria or tragedy, he reminds you of the person you were, the person you always are, and the person you choose to be.

The one who never leaves is there inside of you as you’re listening to your favorite songs. When you’re visiting beautiful places and dancing with beautiful strangers. When you’re having a cup of coffee, gazing out the window, and realizing that you’re looking at such a lovely view. He is in your heart when you’re spending your time doing the things you love, as you’re falling in and out of love with somebody new; when you finally have the courage to kiss someone and be vulnerable again after a long time.

You know that this is how the two of you arethat you have gone your separate ways and lived your separate lives. No matter how close you are to the one who never leaves, there is also a distance now–one that is not merely physical–that you cannot trespass; unless he allows you to. But you will never know if that will happen, or whether you would want to cross that distance once again. So you are moving on with your life, your heart has healed from its swells and bruises and only gotten stronger.

If you’d like to be really honest, there will always be a glimmer of hope, no matter how faint, that the one who never leaves will be the one you can hold and hug and kiss every single day, the one you can cuddle and snuggle with whenever you feel like it, the one you can wake up to in the morning and fall asleep with at the end of a lovely evening. But soon, you ditch that hope and smile as you slip into another sunny day of yours, knowing that life is good the way it is. He has appeared in your life and you know that it’s enough of a blessing in itself.

Today, whether he’s here or not does not really matter anymore–and it does not bother you at all. Because despite everything, you know that he will always be the one who never leaves.



42 Responses

      1. Belakangan sedang senang dengar musikalisasi puisinya Sapardi oleh Reda Gaudiamo. Jadi tadi membaca tulisanmu lagi sambil dengar “Hujan Bulan Juni.”. Hanny kenal dengan mbak Reda kah? kalau belum, suatu hari kalau ke pasar akan kami kenalkan. Selain Hanny, beliau juga teman baru yang manisnya tak kira-kira. Oh, dan Hanny pasti akan suka baca buku NaWilla karangannya 🙂

          1. Maaf, mengganggu percakapan kalian ini. Aku kaget mendengar Mbak Reda sering datang ke Pasar Santa. Semakin banyak alasanku untuk datang ke Santa, nanti. 🙂

            Hany dan The Dusty Sneakers, kalian penulis yang keren sekali! 🙂

  1. and the one who never leaves is the first person that comes to mind while i read this.
    so so so touchy, hanny, ihiks :’)

  2. Langsung mbrebes mili baca ini. Luar biasa dalem banget dan jleb. Baca ini sambil pasang lagu a thousand years christina perri. Makin meleleh deh. Thanks for reminding me on this.

  3. Your writings are always gorgeous and right to the heart, it’s always like having words finally speak on behalf of myself. Terima kasih untuk selalu menulis dengan manis, mbak! *mau langsung ke pojokan sambil denger Meteor Shower nya Owl City dan mewek-mewek* :’)

  4. its very deep, and surprisingly I kind a get that feeling now so yeah, its very motivating me and to be grateful for anything that happen in my life, so thank you for this writing 🙂

  5. It’s interesting how those things you said are very true.
    too truthful in fact that it becomes scary.

    everybody has the one who never leaves. but nobody talks about it.
    nobody defines it in such clinical manner.
    it was supposed to remain ambiguous. and undefined.
    a secret to be uttered on your deathbed.

    a life-long question that was supposed to remain unanswered.

    how did you find the courage to give it a name
    and become totally nonchalant.

  6. Thank you for writing this. Since I am not good in words & you have expressed it in a perfect way. I’m lucky, tho. I have my -The One Who Never Leaves- here, finally. <3

  7. Mbak hani I really love your writings. Most of them are oh-so-me! Like you could describe my thoughts so clearly, right in every detail. Especially this one. Please write more about the one who never leaves since I, and probably some people out there, need to know more about what to do with this creature. Hehe

If you made it this, far, please say 'hi'. It really means a lot to me! :)

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Legs and Apples
Do it because it’s fun. Because it brings you joy; because it’s meaningful to you. Do it because it gives you simple tiny pleasures. Do it because it makes you smile.
The view from De Klok
I took another digital detox this weekend—I limited myself to a 5-minute screen time on Saturday and Sunday to quickly check my business account. I closed my social media account for the rest of the days.
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.