Things We Lost in the Fire

Muelheim a.d. Ruhr, (originally wrote on) (started at) January 27th 2009

3:18 p.m.

Nope, this is not a review of Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro’s 2007 movie, this really IS about things that I lost in the fire. The turning point of my life… the separation line of my past and present. The most historical and dramatic night I’ve experienced so far (knock on wood… mudah-mudahan ga ngalamin hal sedramatis itu lagi).

Wondering why I wanted to discuss this black page of my life all of the sudden?? Well it started when I have the sudden urge of memorizing my life, all the craziness I’ve lived, all the tears I’ve shed, the laugh I’ve had, the achievements I’ve made and then I realized… I don’t have ANYTHING to help me memorize it. No pictures, no files, no year book… no NOTHING. Only this low capacity brain of mine that sometimes just not enough to satisfy my nostalgic mood. And it is all thanks to that ‘magical’ night of September the 2nd 2005 – the night when my sky was in flame.

To tell you the truth… I can’t really remember the details of that night. It felt so surreal to me, like that kind of dream that you know it was a dream and you wanted to wake up but you can’t. I remember I was in a cab with my sister and brother – we had to separate with our parents because we were not together when we heard the news and we had to hurry back home – all feeling very upset and worried. I was still in disbelief until we arrived in our neighborhood and saw the crowd and the red night sky, that was when I realized that everything was real… That God decided to ‘try’ us. It was like one big bonfire.

It was a heart-stopping scenery to watch… but -believe it or not- we decided to watched it anyway. Our neighbor forced us to come inside their house but we somehow refused and wanted to watch as everything turned to ashes. When the fire started to reach my room, i remembered thinking “there goes my bed, my books, my laptop, my Elmos”, got to admit… for a moment I felt emptiness.

I’m sure it was very hard for my parents though, seeing the live that they’ve built for almost 20 years vanished right in front of their eyes. But they were very strong… ow I know they are strong, but that night brought them to a whole new level in my eyes. We are the kind of family that likes everything light, no huge fights, no cold wars. We are the kind of family that ate rambutan on the rubber band inside our living room while half meter high water flooded inside our house. That’s how light we kept things are… but that day, the extremely calm reaction from my parents makes me wonder, are we normal?? All they did was hugged me from behind and whispered “God gives ordeal to those who are changing for the better, hopefully this is a sign that we are changing for the better.” Is it okay to say that I’m proud of my parents?? cause I am extremely proud..

The post fire was a mess, my parents had to go to the police station all night, leaving us three – all tired and heart broken- at our aunt’s house. Seeing the strength of our parents (i think) made us to make a pact: to cry as hard as we want to for the night and then stop. We didn’t want to be another burden for them. And I think that’s what we did… secretly crying our heart out that night. The day after, we went to a shopping mall to get some urgent things, and somehow to make matter worst the parking ticket decided to disappear and the parking booth officer wanted to make a huge deal out of it. Buuut.. instead of accepting an apology, that guy was being yelled by five tired-smoke-smelling people. Hahahaha… poor guy, he didn’t know what he’s gotten himself into. I felt sorry for him… “Maaf ya, Mas!!”

Yep, one hell of a night that was… my boring life was shaken by one event only. But the surprising lessons are what’s worth to share.

Yeah I lost my home… I lost my comfort zone… my room for more than 15 years, my Harry Potter books, my Elmo Puppets collection, my magic-eight-ball (God I love those toy), my oh-not-so-trendy clothes; leaving me a pair of jeans, a pair of favorite shoes and a blouse made by my grandma – which I rarely wore but decided to wore on the night of fire. But amazingly enough, although I loved them very much… those are not the things I missed.

I missed the pictures I had from my early days up till that night. The ridiculous photo of me in kebaya on Kartini Day at my Junior high school (it’s not even pretty!!!), the picture of “ruby the nerd” goofing around on the streets of Tokyo, the precious moment of last excurcion with my High school friend to Lembang, until the happy graduation moment. I missed my diary… those lame writing about boys or any other childish matter I used to complaint and laughed at. My thesis that I worked so hard for. My feeling of being comfortable lying silently in my room. In short, I miss my past… I miss those little things that can relate me to my past. We can always earn money, build new houses, reproduce certificate… but we can never reenact our past.

But like people said… in every disaster there is always a light. We found our lights too.

Do you know the saying: A friend in need is a friend indeed?? Couldn’t agree more. We were blessed with so many people around us to help. There are a lot of friends visited us that it looked more like a gathering than a fire victim visitation. They brought us some clothes – which I still wears, by the way; food even furniture or simply expressed their condolences, all very highly appreciated. At time like that you’d know who your true friends are…

Another thing I learned was how important your family is. At the end of the day, it is not the wall that you need, the roof, the doors or the windows. It’s the people that you love, those that could say “everything is going to be alright” and strive together to get back on your feet while comforting each other. At the end of the of the day, THAT is your home instead of a hundred and fifty square meter building.

Well I sure do lost all my old love letters… I lost the clothes I borrowed from my bestfriend… I skipped work for a week back then… just blame it on the fire. But without it, I would have missed all the good things I have now; one of them is my husband. So it was not so disastrous after all, wasn’t it? You know what they say: Those that can’t kill you, can only make you stronger (gotta love whoever that is that comes up with that line!!!).

If anything… I would love to get ‘my past’ back, but it would be hard, huh?? So guys, learn my lesson, it may sound cheesy but cherish every moment you’re in, every memories you have and every person you love cause when it’s gone… it would be hard to get it back.

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