My Jakarta Girl

I love that girl since first day I met her.

Oh yeah, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Matthew, I came from Germany but right now my family lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. I attend middle school in Jakarta International School (JIS) which using english language, america's curriculum, and had students from different countries.

The girl I mentioned earlier, I don't know her name. But I can't forget her face that day. The day when I was beating some jerks. Some other kids tried to stop me but they also got beaten while others staring me in dislike and quickly left.

That girl was different, she did not scared or hated me. She approached me and whispered "I know you had problems but you won't let them had more reasons to call you loser, don't you?" Since that day I tried to act like a gentleman in front of her and watching her when we met in some classes.

She never let anyone had a chance to pick on her or call her loser. Even Mr. 'pudge', the worst teacher in this school who likes to humiliate every students. I love but also hate her, I wonder if she had problems like myself. I sometimes tried to approach or help her, but I never sure to asks her to be my girl friend.

One day I met her at the library. She was helping the librarian, carrying heavy books to techers' room. That was my chance. After making sure my hair is tidy, I approached her.

"Hallo, ada yang bisa saya bantu?" (Hello, can I help you?)

"Ja, danke." (Yes, thank you.)

I wondered how she could know I am a german and our language but I don't know how to spoke it in Indonesian.

"Nama saya Matthew." (My name is Matthew.)

"Ich heise Titiek." (My name is Titiek.)

"Senang bertemu denganmu nona Titiek." (Nice to met you miss Titiek.)

"Gleichfalls." (Nice to met you too.)

I don't know what to said next in Indonesian, we walked in silent for a few moment then I laughed awkward.

"To be honest, I'm not fond with Indonesian language."

"I can't speak dutch either."

We both laughted. Seeing her opened to me, I felt I might can go together with her. I took the risk, asked her would she like to be my girl friend. She was smiled and noded. That was the best day of my life! Yeah!

I never regret my decision altough I was frustated because I can't bring out my problems with destructive habits like fighting. I promise to myself to do my best, for her. Well, I got benefits anyway. She was so nice, she listened every words I talk to her, even when I starts cursing. She never jealous when I befriend another girls. Of course I wont dissapointing her trust. I learned many things from her especially in that day.

Usually I never told the truth when I ranting, I never told an afternoon rest time, in school's park.

"My parents are totally jerks! They never care any single thing I say or I do! I think they don't care if I'm unhappy, I'm just a kind of robot for them! I should obey their stupid programs while they have fun touring the world! Dammit, they not even share story, photos, or souvenirs from their tours!"

"I'm sorry to hear that."

I don't know why, but her short reply makes me angered. I don't care if her eyes showing care and concern.

"No, you are not. You just like them, tryint to control me. You don't had problems. You even refuse to tell me your address."

"It is on waduk, tanjung duren utara so I was ashamed to tell you."

I walked away, refuse to hear any words. She wasn't chase me and I said to myself great. I was satisfied but it just my stupid pride. Because I know I felt empty altough I wasn't admit it. When I was alone in my empty house I started to regret my behavior.

I called her on the phone but machine answered it, something means like unavaiable connection. I don't have her mobile number, she said she don't have a mobile phone. I was nervous, I was afraid if I wasn't settle it soon, I would lose her. So, altough she wasn't tell me her complete address, I called taxi and went to waduk, tanjung duren utara.

It took thirty minutes from my house at Karawaci to tanjung duren. The scenery also different, while karawaci aren't crowded by vehicles and not polluted to much, roads near tanjung duren crowded by vehicles especially buses and you can see the grey smoke filled the air. There also many beggars, illegal pavements, and trashes everywhere. This place is so dense while Karawaci felt like empty field compared to it.

When I arrived at waduk, I was surprissed. Waduk is a reservoir from ciliwung river with houses around it. But not like reservations in Germany, the water is polluted by trashes and the color is black. The houses there are more concerning, they aren't maded with concrete or bricks but with any wooden boards or sheet-irons. They also not laid proportional, I don't think it would be effective to cover the inhabitants from rain or heat and that place are high-risk flood zone. Slums in movies I seen had far better shelters.

I was ashamed for my behave but I should apologize to her. I tried to ask people around but they don't understand english nor german of course. With hand signals, at last I know which is Titiek's house. The house is small, around 4x4 meters without second story. There is a small land fenced wit hbamboo sticks, I saw three small kids playing there, along with a pair of chicken and three chicks. I felt terrible for what I had done to her.

"Hallo... Titiek?"

Titiek quickly came out and greeted me like I never dissapointing her. Her cloth was simple and not up to date like everyone I ever saw in my neighborhood or malls. She asked me to come in, I was so ashamed for my acts.

I entered her house. The lightning wasn't turned on to save electricity. There only two rooms, separated by a rusty sheet-iron. The front room had an old sofa, a wooden table, a cabinet, a cupboard, a small refrigrator, and a petroleum brazier. The second room had mattresses for they slept, without a bed, and a cupboard.

I wasn't asking it that day but they took shower and such in public closet which is just a box maded with four sheet irons and had hole to the reservoir. They took water from public underground pump and put them into buckets. The same water source used for washing clothes, combined with cleaning 'sands', or boiled for drinking water.

I also wasn't asking it that day but Titiek got scholarship for her school. Her father work as public driver while her mother work on her richer neighbor house at main street of tanjung duren utara. Their salaries only enought for primary needs like food and sanitary needs. Titiek teaches her neighbor to get money for her school transportation.

"I'm sorry. I was so selfish and dumb. I don't know your situations, I was so careless. I..."

"Don't worry Matthew, you were not hurting me."

"Titiek, you are so patient."

"There is no use of being depressed, I prefer searching the positive side."

"The view toward problems are what make us unhappy..."

"Or vice versa," Titiek agreed. "Anyway, next day I won't be in this house anymore but in my cousin's, five houses to right from here. Government decides to use this land, it is their's."

I felt sad because she would share rooms with more people but I'm not upset because it. She doesn't free from problems, she had more problems than me, she deserve to angry at the world. But she doesn't do that, she knows recipes for staying happy and shine with her kindness. She doesn't do good deeds for getting happiness but because feeling happy. Oh, what a wonderful girl!

©Amethyst Orchard 2004 - 2009.