The Journey, vol.10: The Meatballs, The Noodle, and The Strawberry Juice
Abdul seems to know exactly the Bandung’s city map, so in less than 30 minutes his car arrived to the Upper Dago from the train station. He stopped his car on a park ground of small restaurant which is written “Badali, Original Sundanese Meatballs”. Well, it’s been a long time a go since my last time eaten Sundanese meatballs.
“Let’s get a table for us.” Abdul asked me while he went out the car first. I followed him then, carrying my backpack since there is my precious laptop. And the suitcase I left it on the car trunk.
Abdul already has been served by the front office, and he seems to discuss the table. And, the service officer nodding her head, while his hand showed to a table which is a little bit inside. Abdul returned his body, looked at me, and waved his hand and calling me.
I accelerate my walk from the car. Getting into the direction where Abdul went to, a table which was showed by the resto’s crew.
“Here’s the menu, Sir. If you’re ready to make an order, please call me, Rani.” Said the waitress while giving 2 sets of menu. Abdul was sat down when I arrived on the table.
Not long enough, the waitress went away, and I sat on the chair across Abdul.
“What do you want to eat, Bil?” Abdul asked while reading the menu.
“I think a portion of meatballs and noodle is great, Dul. Or you had another suggestions?” I answered while reading the menu also.
“Mmm.. it’s good though. In this place, all the meatballs were great. So that’s why I got you here. And what do you want for the drink?”
“I’d prefer strawberry juice of course. All of Bandung’s strawberries were good, right?” I put the menu to the table. Abdul looked at me for a while.
“I think you’re right. It’s been a while since my last time I drank strawberry juice.”
Abdul waved his hand and a waitress came by again. Rani. The waitress which gave us the menu.
“Ready to make an order, Sir?” Rani asked. She’s carrying out her mini notes and a pencil.
“Yes, please. I’d like to order two original strawberry juices, one dry noodles and a full tendon meatballs, and one special meatballs and noodles.” Abdul answered.
“Is there any, Sir?”
“I think that’s all for now.”
“Alright, Sir. Let me replay your order. Two original strawberry juices, one dry noodles and a full tendon meatballs, and one special meatballs and noodles.” Abdul nodded after heard the order. “Yes, Sir. Please wait for ten minutes for the meatballs. If there’s anything else, would you please call us.”
The waitress took the menu and then went away.
“So, how’s the story you’ve got married yet?” I opened the conversation.
Abdul smiled. He changed his seat position.
“Well shortly, I was on a match arranged, Bil. My both parents at Tasik did that. You know it do you, that people outside the city have lots traditions to do. And so, I’m a husband and the head of the family, since almost two years a go.”
“What? Two years?” I shocked after realized how long Abdul has married.
“Yes. Two years. Ever since I got my first job after the college graduation.” Abdul nodded.
“Well, your wife then, how is she?” I asked again.
“Haha.. this is the funny thing, Bil. Because, I bet you’ll be more surprised.” Abdul’s saying getting into my curiosity. “So, the story goes like this, you know that at high school I didn’t have any time at all to get a girl. I was just got a feeling to a girl, but never got them as a girlfriend.”
I nodded. The story was right, because Abdul was the member of school religion organizations, and they were very keeping their self as pure as they can be. But Abdul sometimes talked with me, about his feelings to girls.
“Then, the fact is here, in Bandung, since I was on the college, I was a little bit hard to keep my self as on high school. I don’t know why, but maybe it was also because I was far from my families – farther than the high school, or it was only me which can’t lie again. But the truth is, there’s a girl in here.
“I met her from the weekly mentoring which I was attend when I was still a student. I was at the third semester, while she was on first semester. You can say that she’s junior below me. We’re on the same university, but different department. I was on Biology, and she’s on Physics.”
Abdul stopped his story for a while when a waitress came by with two big mug of fresh strawberry juices.
“Thanks.” I said to the waitress after she put a mug of strawberry juice in front of me.
“The meatballs and noodles is on the way, Sir.” And the waitress went away.
Abdul took his juice, and drink it a little. I did the same thing. WOW, the juice was so fresh! And of course, it became more delicious with an old friend, and past stories like this.
“For the time on the college, we’re close enough, Bil. We send tausyiah to each other, any inputs, being a friend in need, especially for talk, and so. But we never get our relations further than that. We never officially said that we’re on serious relationship. Because we’re deal, that we’ll just like that, and similar to a close friendship.
“Then, on my last semester when I was doing my final task and my graduation Bil, she’s just said that she needed her own time, and get away from my life. You know how does it feel, do you? When we’re on the critical point of our life, and we needed so much support to get things done, just in sudden the person which we hoped the most went away like that.”
I went silence. Something felt hurt on my chest. I know that feelings. Being left by a person when we’re in need the most for their presence.
“I went extremely down, Bil. I also told that to her. I was hoped, she could be back to me. But she said that she couldn’t do it. When I asked why, she didn’t tell me the reason. But she told me then, that I can’t gone wrong just because no presence of her. Because, she believed that I can be better. No matter what. And strangely, her words were powerful. My spirit rises back again, even it didn’t the same like when she’s by my side. But then, my final task finished on time, and I graduated.”
The waitress went back again, carrying a tray filled with to bowl of noodles and meatballs, and she put it on our table.
“Please enjoy your order. There’s all, Sir. If you would like to make any order, please contact us. Thank you.” Said the waitress.
Me and Abdul nodded together and watched the waitress went away.
A bowl of meatballs and noodles got in front of us each but it didn’t get us any taste to have it. I – myself still wanted to hear stories of Abdul’s.
“After my graduation, I tried to contact her again. Alhamdulillah, she replied and agreed to meet me again. I wanted to meet her, because I wanted to let her know that I’ve graduated, and also maybe it’ll be a goodbye. After my graduation, I didn’t wanted to get longer in Bandung. I wanted to get back to Tasik again.
“And, that day, the day which is agreed together to have a meet, I see her. She’s changed, Bil. She’s more beautiful than last time I saw here.”
“Well, it could be just your feelings because you didn’t meet her for a while.” I said.
“Haha… it’s possible though.” Abdul laughed. “Still anyway, even she’s more beautiful, she looks like carrying so much burden. I didn’t do my plans to let her know about my graduations, and just asked her if there’s anything wrong. Weird, she answered at that point. But her stories could get me a light strike in the middle of the day.
“She said that she had an arrangement for her fiancée by her parents. With a guy which was still her relative. But the guy was lived on different city though. And, she’s Bandung citizen, but her family was originally from Garut.”
“What? Arranged? With whom?” I shocked.
“I didn’t know at that moment. Because, even though I pushed her to speak up, she just didn’t want to tell the story further. And, I didn’t want to push her more. Because her eyes were covered with tears. It’s full of emotions moment. I think I was also tears up, but then I hold it up.”
“And, finally she said the goodbye before I did. She said goodbye, and said an apology if there’s any mistakes that she has done. Because she’s already on an arrangement with the person which her parents chosen. I couldn’t do anything else, besides saying an apology, and told her that I’ve graduated, and also saying goodbye because I’ll go back to my hometown.
“I bet if you’re me on that moment, you’d feel sad the most. It was like all ruined!”
Somehow Dul, I do know that feeling. My heart went bitter again.
“Then I went back to Tasik after I got the certificates. I just don’t care anymore about the graduation ceremonial. I just wanted to forget and make lost all about the campus because my heart was broken. I was so desperate and thought that I wouldn’t fall in love again with any girl. And, I think my both parents knew it.
“While fixing my feelings, I applied for many positions at Tasik. the vacancies were so few. Especially for a Biology graduate like me. I wanted to be a teacher, but there’s no call for me yet. And, because I didn’t want to take any more time being jobless, I applied to a research agency here in Bandung, and somehow I got it.”
“Hold it for a minute, Dul. I think I’m hungry. Why don’t we take few snaps of our meal?” I cut Abdul’s story and took a spoon and fork to get into my bowl of meatballs and noodles.
“Haha, you got the point, Bil. Infact, the meal will be cold if it’s longer than.” Abdul smiled while get into his food.
A scoop. Second scoop. And a gulp of strawberry juice. Yes! I’m ready to hear more of your story, Dul!
“So, what happened after you got your first job here in Bandung?” I asked.
“Well, I planned not to get this job though. I just went on thinking of her again and again. And finally, I spoke to my parents, about this. I didn’t want to get back to Bandung again, because my heart didn’t right to do it. They understood what I’m saying. And, they said if I wanted to get more comfort, it’s better to get married.”
Haji Rahman – Abdul’s father was sighted on my mind. He’s talking to his son, Abdul. He was a good man, a very good man. I met him once, on the high school when he visited to Abdul’s rent room.
“And you said yes directly?” I asked.
“I didn’t say that. I refused. I hadn’t had any candidate. And I just afraid I’ll think of her again after I got married. I can’t do that to my wife.”
“But finally, I can’t do anything more to reject their will, because they say that they already had a candidate for me. And actually, they had it since a long time ago, but they didn’t tell me from the first time. They did that, because they wanted me to focused on my study. And they said, my candidate was also studied in Bandung, on the same university with me.”
“What? How could it be?” I was surprised – again.
“I was also surprised like you did on the first time I heard. Because, how could they got my candidate which is on that criteria? But then they said, my candidate was my relatives, from my mother families. And, when they said that my candidate was from Garut, my suspect went directly to someone.”
“Wait! Let me guess, your candidate was your close friends? Am I right?” I took another scoop of my meal.
“YOU GOT IT RIGHT!” Abdul answered. “I was hundred percent convinced when both of our families going into some introduction, sort of silaturahim between both of the girl and the boy. She was surprisingly shocked, but she can’t hide her happiness after she knew that her arranged fiancée was me!”
“Haha.. your story was just like on the TV, Dul!”
“Well then, I was extremely curios. And, approximately six months after the silaturahim, after I accepted the Bandung’s job, I’m officially being her husband.”
“Weird, but it’s real though. Great things. You got to be a match.”
“It could be. And I’m very grateful because I got her, Bil. Alhamdulillah.” Abdul said.
“And now, she’s graduated then? Where do she work?” I asked.
“She’s graduated, Alhamdulillah. Now, she became a teacher nearby our home here in Bandung.”
Abdul take his strawberry juice, and then his meal. I went also to my meal. This bowl of meatballs and noodles was great. It’s so delicious.
“How about you, Bil? How’s Salma? Haven’t you married yet with her?”
And now my turn to felt like as a lighting attacked into my heart. I stopped take into my meal, and starring at Abdul.
“Mmm.. I didn’t with her again, since a long time ago.” I answered.