searching for the extra from the ordinary

Walking with Our Own Shadow

"the shadow"-photograph by me

(to read in Indoonesian, see below)

Life can be a barrel of disappointments, sometimes.

~Lorraine Hansberry-A Raisin in the Sun


One day, two men met at a crossroad. Face to face, they seemed to take the same path. But as they stood waiting for one another to walk first, they kept silent. Nothing was said.

Finally, the first man said, “Are you going to take this path or what?”

To which the second man answered, “Yes, I am.”

“Then just go. If you just stand there, I’ll take the path first,” the first man continued.

“Please, you can go first. I’ll come after you,” the second man nodded.

“Well, then, okay, I’ll go first,” said the first man quickly. But instead of taking steps, he just stood still on his spot, swaying not a single foot. As for the second man, he stood still as well, but unlike the first man who seemed a little bit dizzy, the second man remained calm, even with a smile on his lips.

Feeling annoyed for some unknown cause, the first man started to get uneasy. He got even angry to see the second man smiling over his confusion. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you looking at me like that?” he said rathe iritated.

Smiling still, the second man answered, “There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just waiting for you to move on. Then I’ll come behind you.”

“Fine!” the first man said, somewhat yelling. He took a step forward, and as he did so, the second man did the same. He took another step, and the second man followed with another one. Trying to ignore the second man, whom he though weird, the first man continued walking. Still, he couldn’t focus on his pace; he constantly peeked to checked the second man. And everytime he did, he was getting even more uneasy as he recognized that the second man was walking on his own footprints, in exactly the same speed as his.

After a while, the first man could no longer bear his anger. He stopped, turned back to face the second man, and shouted harshly, “Why are you following me?”

Stopped right on the first man’s footprints, the second man answered calmly, “But I’ve told you I’d come come after you. And I thought you’ve agreed.”

This answer got the first man to his nerves. “Well, I did. I mean, why are you kind of stalking me? What’s your problem?”

“I have no problem. You said you’d go first, and I said I’d follow you behind. That’s all; I’m not stalking or whatsoever,” the second man replied firmly. “I do nothing but walking behind you as we’re going in the same path; why are you acting as if I’ve annoyed you?”

Didn’t know what to say, and this just made his feeling even worst, the first man yelled desperately, “I’m not acting like that! But you’re stepping right on my footprints, and…and you walk in exactly the same speed as mine! That’s weird. That’s pretty weird. What’s wrong with you?”

This time, the second man answered coldly, “Don’t ask what’s wrong with me. Ask what’s wrong with you! I’m stepping on your footprints and keeping my speed at your level so I won’t bump on your back. I’m doing nothing wrong, why are you so irritated?”

The first man was speechless; he couldn’t accept the second man’s answer nor could he reply to it. And as he was trying to manage his mind to understand what the second man had said, he noticed that he was starting to lose more focus on his own steps.

“Really, you don’t have to worry about my being here. Nor should you worry that I might kill you; no, I’m not doing any harm,” the second man continued. “Now, can you just continue walking? I’m not going to bump on your back, not unless you keep on turning back just to see me.”

Uncertain, the first man asked back, “Is that how it’s going to be?”

To which the second man answered, “Listen, why would you have to worry so much? You have your pace, I have mine. As long as you focus on your steps and keep your speed, there’ll be distance between us—close, but enough—so I won’t have to bump on you and ruin both our ways.”

The first man took few moments to think. He had no idea whether the second man was lying or not, neither had he the idea of what the second man could do. And at this point, he started to recognize that perhaps it’s his own worry that had made him uneasy; not the fact that the second man was actually there in his way.

Finally, the first man nodded. “Okay. I don’t know you, and I don’t know if i could trust you or not. But just forget that. I’ll move on.”

The second man responded, “I think it’ll be better for you if you know me from the beginning—something you’ve failed to do before taking this path. But it’s fine, either you know me earlier or later, you’d only need to know me before taking your path.”

“Is that so important?”

“Sure enough,” said the second man. “You’ll have me walking behind you along your path. If you failed to know me, like you just did, you’d just ruin your own steps worrying about me and things I might do.”

“But, do you know me firsthand?”

“Certainly,” the second man answered straightly. “You call yourself ‘human’, I’ve known that.”

The first man left speechless again. But this time, he felt better. Before turning back to face the path he’s taking, he asked the second man one last question, “Who are you, then?”

To which the second man replied calmly, “You may call me ‘disappointment’.”


The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

~William Faulkner


Once we make it to notice things that have disappointed us and accept that they do ‘exist’ within us, we’ll know what things they might affect—we’ll know how to deal with them. The more we try to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist, the more we’d feel haunted and worried.

Disappointments will always exist, but once we stop worrying about them, we’ll be able to walk to wherever we want, unannoyed by any worries and fears. They may be following along the way, but they won’t bump on us and ruin our journey.


Yogyakarta, 08 February 2012


*** *** ***

Life can be a barrel of disappointments, sometimes.

~Lorraine Hansberry-A Raisin in the Sun


Suatu hari, dua orang pria berpapasan di sebuah persimpangan, dan mereka sepertinya akan mengambil simpang yang sama. Keduanya sama-sama menunggu sampai salah satu berjalan lebih dulu, tanpa berkata-kata sepatah pun.

Pria pertama akhirnya buka mulut, “Kau lewat jalan ini atau tidak?”

Pria kedua menjawab, “Ya.”

“Kalau begitu, lewatlah. Kalau kau hanya diam mematung saja di situ, aku akan jalan duluan,” sambung pria pertama.

“Silakan, jalanlah lebih dulu. Aku akan menyusul,” pria kedua mengangguk.

“Baiklah, aku jalan duluan,” pria pertama menyahut cepat. Namun, bukannya langsung berjalan seperti yang dikatakannya, ia malah tetap berdiri di tempatnya semula, tidak satu langkah pun diayunkannya. Pria kedua pun tidak beralih, namun ia terlihat tenang dan bahkan sedikit tersenyum, tak seperti pria pertama yang kelihatan gelisah.

Entah mengapa, pria pertama merasa tidak nyaman, dan kegelisahannya pun makin tampak. Amarahnya pun mulai muncul karena melihat pria kedua memandanginya sambil tersenyum. “Ada apa? Kenapa kau memandangku seperti itu?” tanyanya sedikit berang.

Masih tersenyum, pria kedua menjawab, “Tidak ada apa-apa. Aku hanya menunggumu berjalan, setelah itu aku akan berjalan di belakangmu.”

“Baiklah!” potong pria pertama setengah berseru. Ia maju satu langkah, dan pria kedua itu pun mengikuti satu langkah di belakangnya. Pria pertama itu melangkah lagi, dan si pria kedua pun langsung mengikuti langkahnya. Walau dirasanya aneh, namun pria pertama mencoba mengabaikan pria kedua itu dan ia terus berjalan. Sayangnya, ia jadi tak bisa memperhatikan langkahnya sendiri; sedikit-sedikit ia menoleh ke belakang dan mendapati pria kedua itu di belakangnya, mengikuti langkahnya. Setiap kali menoleh, ia semakin merasa tak nyaman dan gelisah karena ia sadar bahwa si pria kedua itu ternyata menapakkan kaki tepat di jejak langkahnya, dengan kecepatan yang persis sama dengan langkahnya sendiri.

Setelah beberapa lama, pria pertama itu tak mampu lagi menahan berangnya. Ia menghentikan langkah, berbalik badan menghadap si pria kedua, dan berteriak, “Kenapa kau mengikutiku?”

Si pria kedua ikut berhenti, tepat di atas jejak kaki pria pertama, dan menjawab tenang, “Memang aku sudah bilang akan mengikutimu kan? Dan sepertinya tadi kau tidak keberatan.”

Jawaban itu membuat si pria pertama makin resah. “Ya, memang. Maksudku, kenapa kau membuntutiku? Apa maksudmu?”

“Aku tidak bermaksud apa-apa. Kau bilang kau jalan duluan, dan kubilang aku akan mengikuti di belakangmu. Itu saja; aku tidak membuntutimu, atau apapun juga,” ujar pria kedua tanpa ragu. “Aku tidak berbuat apa-apa. Aku hanya berjalan di belakangmu karena kita menuju arah yang sama; kenapa kau bertingkah seakan aku mengganggumu?”

Tak tahu harus menjawab apa, dan ini membuatnya semakin tidak nyaman, pria pertama itu berkata dengan nada putus asa, “Aku tidak bertingkah begitu! Tapi kau berjalan tepat di atas jejakku, dan…dan kau juga berjalan sama cepatnya denganku! Aneh. Sangat aneh. Apa yang salah denganmu?”

Kali ini, si pria kedua menjawab dingin, “Jangan tanya apa yang salah denganku. Tanyakan apa yang salah denganmu! Aku berjalan di atas jejakmu dan dengan kecepatan sama denganmu supaya aku tidak menubrukmu. Aku tidak berbuat macam-macam, jadi apa yang kaupermasalahkan?”

Pria pertama itu tidak bisa berkata apa-apa; ia tak bisa mencerna apa yang dikatakan pria kedua, namun ia juga tak tahu harus menjawab apa. Dan saat ia berusaha memahami apa yang diucapkan si pria kedua itu, ia juga sadar bahwa ia mulai lupa pada tujuannya sendiri.

“Kau sama sekali tidak perlu khawatir akan keberadaanku di sini. Kau juga tak perlu takut aku akan membunuhmu; tidak, aku tidak bermaksud melukaimu,” lanjut pria kedua. “Sekarang, bisakah kau teruskan jalanmu? Aku tidak akan menubrukmu kecuali kau terus-menerus menoleh ke belakang.”

“Begitukah?” tanya pria pertama ragu-ragu.

Pria kedua pun menjawab, “Dengar, kenapa kau begitu khawatir? Kau berjalan di jalanmu, aku berjalan di jalanku. Selama kau perhatikan langkahmu dan menjaga kecepatanmu, akan ada jarak di antara kita berdua—tipis, tetapi cukup—sehingga aku tidak akan menubrukmu dan mengacaukan langkah kita berdua.”

Pria pertama itu berpikir beberapa saat. Ia tidak tahu apakah pria kedua itu berbohong atau tidak, ia juga tak tahu apa yang mungkin dilakukan pria itu. Dan saat itu, ia mulai sadar bahwa mungkin rasa khawatirnya sendiri-lah yang membuatnya gelisah; bukan keberadaaan pria kedua itu.

Akhirnya, ia pun mengangguk. “Baiklah. Aku tidak mengenalmu, dan aku juga tak tahu apakah kata-katamu bisa dipercaya atau tidak. Tapi sudahlah. Aku akan jalan lagi.”

Pria kedua menjawab, “Kupikir akan lebih baik buatmu jika kau mengenalku sejak awal—yang nyatanya tidak kau lakukan sebelum mulai berjalan. Tapi tak masalah kau mengenalku lebih awal atau nanti; kau hanya harus mengenalku sebelum mulai berjalan.”

“Memangnya penting?”

“Tentu saja,” sahut si pria kedua. “Aku akan terus berjalan di belakangmu sepanjang perjalanan ini. Jika kau tidak mengenalku, seperti yang terjadi sekarang, maka kau hanya akan mengacukan langkahmu sendiri dengan kekhawatiranmu akan keberadaanku dan hal-hal yang mungkin kulakukan.”

“Tapi, memangnya kau sendiri tahu siapa aku?”

“Tentu saja,” jawab si pria kedua pasti. “Aku tahu kau menyebut dirimu ‘manusia’.”

Si pria pertama terdiam. Namun kali ini, ia tidak lagi merasakan gelisah yang sangat. Sebelum membalikkan badannya kembali ke arah yang ditujunya, ia bertanya untuk terakhir kalinya,”Lalu, kau ini siapa?”

Jawab si pria kedua, “Kau boleh menyebutku ‘kekecewaan’.”


The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.

~William Faulkner

Begitu kita berhasil mengenali hal-hal apa saja yang telah membuat kita kecewa dan menerimanya sebagai sesuatu yang memang ‘ada’, kita tahu apa yang mungkin akan terpengaruh olehnya—kita tahu bagaimana harus menghadapinya. Semakin keras kita berusaha mengabaikannya, semakin kuat kekecewaan itu membayangi dan menghantui kita.

Kekecewaan akan selalu ada, tetapi begitu kita berhenti mengkhawatirkannya, kita akan bisa melangkah ke manapun yang kita tuju tanpa dibayangi kegelisahan dan ketakutan. Kekecewaan memang akan mengikuti, namun ia tidak akan menabrak dan mengacaukan langkah kita.


Yogyakarta, 08 Februari 2012



2 responses

  1. aaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. keren!

    February 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

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