Episode 1: Success and Failure (Ruby)

alarm-clock

Part 1: My regular day

Story Background            : The alarm rings in her room. She is getting up and opens her overly neat closet. He clothes are categorized by size, colors and even neatly folded. Her bags are all branded like LV and Hermes. She picks a formal cloth and taking a shower while hearing a Chinese song. Her maid has already made her usual breakfast, bread with butter and apple juice. The maid gave her the daily newspaper and her lunch box.She grabs it and taking it outside. The driver already opens the door to her car. They take the usual route to he work place.

“My name is Ruby. I am a 27 year old girl who works as an HR Manager. For everyday, I do the same thing all over again. Waking up, going to work, reporting work, interviewing people, meeting with co workers, going home, watching DVD and sleeping. My life has been a constant repetition for the last 4 years. Sometimes, I feel like I have everything yet deep down in my heart, I still feel so empty. Maybe it’s because I have been lonely for the past many years. So many of my friends have been married.

Invitation cards constantly come per week. Many of my co workers also already have found a  boyfriend. Some even got flowers on Valentine’s day at the office. I have watched so many Idol Dramas. I also want to find my white horse prince. But two of them have left my life painfully. As usual, my day starts by meeting up with my subordinates and hearing their reports.”

I walk in to a small meeting room to hear our weekly reports with Belle and Emily.

“How’s the progress?” I said.

“It’s good as usual. The post for a Plant Manager is closed by Mr. Kim and the other 27 post have already been filled up. Three are coming to sign their employment contract today” said Belle.

“May I see the contract?” I then review the contract shortly by checking the salary, date of employment and other checking list. I ask Belle again on how many new comers are joining today and she said they are five and their on boarding check list have already been prepared. The meeting continue like usual without major disctraction until Madam Marlene, my direct boss comes in.

“Ruby, we have a problem”

“Yes Bu” I follow her to her office room without Belle and Emily. Two of them look anxious and confuse about what just happened. Of course, at the same time I also feel the same.

“Ruby, this is highly confidential. Harold Ng is going to resign next month”

“Why Bu?”

“I have no clue. Some said that it’s because Mr. Ang has asked him to resign.”

“Why Bu?” I said the same question again as this come as a very big news. Harold is one of our group CEO and finding his replacement will be a very hard job to do. One month replacement is hell when it comes to recruiting top management person. It means that no going to the movies, no weekend and definetly no personal life for the whole month.

“Harold and Mr. Ang had a big fight and the two did not reach any agreement at the end.”

“Noted Bu. I understand. I will find his replacement as soon as I can.”

I then start to search at linkedin, the website which provides qualified talent pools and starts calling head hunter for help to search for the candidate without realizing it’s already 07.00 PM where most of the people have gone home.

“Have you eaten your lunch?” said the voice behind me. I turn back and realize it’s Karen my college friend / co worker / best friend and probably my closest friend nowadays. “Yes.” I lie to her to prevent her long lecture as usual.

“Then, why is your lunch box still heavy?”. She is shaking my lunch box and open it to see that it hasn’t been untouch. “Don’t you have gastrix pain?” “Don’t you hate seeing a Doctor?” “Don’t you hate spending money to go to the hospital?” “Don’t you hate pending your work because you are sick?” She asks non stop questions for the next 3 minutes before I stop her.

“Ok. Let’s go out for dinner, my treat!” I said to her while putting my right hand around her arm. This method always works when it comes to Karen. She hates spending money on everything. Therefore, when you buy things for her, treat her for meals or buy tickets for her to see the movies, she will say yes immediately and forget about the last arguement.

After finishing our meal, we go home seperately and finally I reach my comfortable room. As usual, I turn on the TV and start picking a random movie to watch. I glance at my DVD collection and wonder the number of quantity I have. It’s probably more than a small DVD stall at the mall. I sat on my bed and turn on my laptop while checking my emails. There’s one email unopen with the name Rudy. I hesitate to open it for a while and even point to the check and mark it as junk. After a few minutes, I decide it to open the mail.

Dear Ruby,

Hi! How’s it going? It’s been 4 years since our last conversation. My mother told me that you are now working in Jakarta. Thank you for still in touch with my mother for all these years. I meant to call you to see how you are doing but I have been busy. I just got back from Germany and want to see you. I am at Grand Hyatt Hotel now before I return to Bandung the day after tomorrow. Please call me no matter how late. My number is still the same as before.

Regards, RC

My feelings are all mixed up. First, Why does he want to meet me? Second, How does he know that I am still close with his mother? “Stupid me.” I said to myself. Of course, his mother is the one who told him. And my final and scary thought will be “Does he still love me?”

Ruby day dreaming

Rudy and I met at Junior High School. He was my senior. At college, we met again accidentally in a book store. He and I shared the same hobby which is staying in our room for hours. We like to read, play with our computer or watch TV in our room. We are both quite introvert people. We started to exchange our phone number and we can talk on the phone for so many hours. He was living in a different city from Jakarta. Back then, my life is a lot simpler. I took an Economy major and have plenty of spare time unlike now. We’ve become close and even plan to get married before He left me to go to German for a job offering.

I pick up my phone and look at my phone book to search for the name “Honey”. I hesitate to press call as it’s already 10.00 PM.However after debating my own consideration,I begin to think that his email said to call him no matter how late. I am then pressing the green button at my BB phone and wait for the waiting ring.

Ruby calling from bedroom

“Hallo” Rudy’s voice is the same as I remember it before

“Hi!” I said to him softly with hiding my nervous and shaking sound as if there’s something stuck in my throat.

“Cing?” He calls my Chinese name straight away. “I have been wondering whether you will call me” “How are you?”

“Good.” “How are you” replying back to him and my nervousness is not starting to calm down.

“I am good, still experiencing jet lag though.” “Hm…Can we meet tomorrow?”

I feel nausea straight away and begin to silent for a moment.

“Are you still there?” He finally replies back

“Yes, I am still here.” I then try to brace myself up and ask him “Is there something important to discuss?” “Are you ok?”

“I just want to see you and ask you for a help.” “I need you to do something for me.”

“May I know what is it?” I wonder about the matter which he has asked me for a help. The usual Rudy never bothers anyone if the matter is not urgent. He has always been an independent person. His parents are divorce a long time ago and He needs to be strong as He already supported his mother since his first semester in college. He’s super duper talented in IT and got a job offer at IBM Germany as the head of software engineer at their HQ.

“It’s hard to talk on the phone.” “Can I treat you for a long lunch tomorrow?”

I am wondering his offer and open my BB phone to see my calendar appointment. “I have a lunch interview with a candidate tomorrow” I said to him.

“When are you free tomorrow?” His sound is a bit pushy.

“Let me see.” I then check my calendar and even desperate to see that I have a full interview day tomorrow since 09.00 AM to 08.00 PM almost nonstop. “Damn Emily. “Why is she giving me 12 candidates to be interviewed tomorrow?”

“Cing?” Rudy said my name again after a while

“I probably don’t have time to meet you before 08.00 PM tomorrow. Is 09.00 PM ok? We can meet at the Hotel lobby for a chat.” I often go to the coffee shop at Grand Hyatt to interview a high position candidate. I am familiar with the hotel stuffs there.

“Honestly, at night I am wondering that you can meet up again with me and my mother.” He said with mumbling voice.

“Pardon?” I am now starting to confuse. All my mixed up feelings are now even more mixed up. Deep down in my heart could not avoid me to think ‘What is it? Don’t tell me that He wants to start things again by bringing his mother’ He knows that I am still close with his mother.

“How about I go to your place now?” He said unexpectedly.

“It’s already late. Can we just talk on the phone?”

“No, I need to see you in person. I have something huge to tell you and ask you probably one of the most important questions I will ask a person in my life.”

My “getting back together” feeling starts to get even stronger due to his statement earlier. “Ok, I said to him. Let’s meet up at Starbucks Sarinah. It’s near to Grand Hyatt Hotel. Just ask the hotel reception to get you a cab and drives you there. I will meet you in half an hour.”

“Thank you Cing” He replied

I go outside my room and starts calling my driver’s name.

“Iwan….”

“Yes Bu.” He came out from the back and wonders why am I calling him this late.” For your information, I never go out to any bars to meet some friends. My social life is very simple. Go out to eat at the restaurant or to see a movie or go shopping. Usually, I never go outside this late hour.

“I need to go to Sarinah now. Are you sleepy?”

“No Bu. Let me prepare the car for you”

Iwan has worked with me since I first start join the company. He’s a very dedicated worker. I feel so bad to bother him to drive me this late as I know that he needs to rest. I then open my closet to pick up a cloth. I am starring at my pile of cloth for a while and do not seem to find anything good for me to wear. I have been longing to see him for a long time and deep down in my heart, I want to look my best when seeing him. I finally choose an outfit from our last date and put on a simple make up which never been wore except when going to a party. I then change my bag from this ridiculously expensive bag to my regular bag. I don’t want him to think that I am a high maintenance girl. I can’t stop biting my nails because I am nervous to see him.

On the way to Starbucks, I am memorizing back our last meeting during our break up. It was April 9 2009 when he told me that he’s going to take a job offer outside Indonesia. “I already signed the contract” is the sentence I never forget in my life. I was crying hard not because he left me. I don’t mind taking a long distance relationship and I am willing to trust and wait for him to come back. My tears were mostly that He didn’t inform me before hand. I was feeling left out and even felt as if I wasn’t important. It felt as if He had abandoned me. It seems as if the shortest journey ever since there’s no traffic at Jakarta during this hour. I finally see him through the glass door, already waiting for me in while drinking his coffee.

starbucks_coffee_1

Part 2: A Bitter Coffee

I try to power up my heart as if my body is like a mobile phone which needs to be charged. My readiness level is only up to 10% capacity. The only question in my mind is a simple WHAT IF. What if this and what if that. Around 100 possibilities seem to flash my mind when I stare at him through the glass door. He may realize that someone is staring for him for quite some time. He sees me and waves his hand as a signal. I walk slowly as if I am so afraid to see him again but 3 meters distance will never far to walk. He is standing to greet me and say “Hi, long time no see.”

“Hi, how are you?” I said to him with a fake – practiced confidence over the last few minutes against my bathroom mirror back at home. Luckily, I has been my job for the past few years to meet new people every single day. I even have interviewed a CEO with IDR 200 mil plus salary to offer him a new job in our company. I was shaken at first but as some people might said that practice makes perfect. Nevertheless, the nervous level which usually strikes my body like high voltage electricity is nothing to compare to this unbearable situation. I am just hoping that I won’t faint in front of him.

“How are you Cing? You look tired. I am sorry to ask you to meet me suddenly.”

“What’s wrong? Is your mom ok? Is it her health?” I am being more curious than ever.

“O No.. She is fine. Nothing to worry about her.”

“Ok. Then what is it?

“I need to ask you for a huge favor.”

I am waiting for him to finish his sentence but it seems that it is so hard for him to speak up. “Yes Rud, ask away. Is it about money?” After rethink about it, it seems that it’s a very silly to question him about money as he is far richer than I do. His monthly tax pay is probably even higher than my earnings combined in one year.

“No no.. It’s not about money.” He smiles and suddenly laughs loudly.

“Cing, You are still as sincere as I remember. What I am about to ask you is probably too much. But as you know, I don’t have any close friends. I don’t know whom I should ask this favor if not from you. After all, you are the closest person I have known in life. Only you who can help me”

“Ok. Then, what is it? Don’t make me nervous.” I said impatiently as this conversation seems taking forever.

“I am getting married.”

He said it quickly and with a straight look to my face. It is the same look as when he decided to tell me that he has signed a contract to go to Germany.

I am speechless and feel the highest level of shock while holding my bag. As my hands begin to get cold, the waiter then comes to our table to give me a menu and asks about my order.

“I will have a Frapuccino  Caramel.” I said to him while trying to hold the tears which seems cannot be held anymore. I am thinking on what respond I should give and also what will be next word should I tell him. For the moment, I wish that I am a disable person who is not able to speak.

“Where is the toilet?” I ask the waiter even though I already knew the place back and forth. The waiter then told me the location. “Please excuse me for a moment.” I smile at him as if nothing was happened. I am going straightly to the toilet with a wonder woman speed you have seen on the television. I walk into my of the closet cabinet, sit and lock myself. Nothing is left out to do but crying. I cry so hard. As hard as the moment when he had decided to leave me.

“What did I even bother to come?” I said this sentence over and over again as I don’t know how to brace myself anymore.

I then look at my mobile phone and try to dial a telephone. It only took me a second before I press 0817XXXXXXX as this one of the three phone number I always remember by heart. One is the phone number of my mother, the second one is the phone number of my driver, and the third one is the phone number of my childhood friend, Anthony.

“Hallo?” He finally answers the phone after my six times trying. His voice tells me that He has already slept at the time.

“Thon, I am sorry to disturb you.” I am then crying some more and pretty sure if somebody comes to the toilet she might think that one of my family member may just died from a long illness.

“What is happening? Are you ok? Where are you? Did you have an accident? Are you physically well? He starts to question me over and over again.

“I am physically ok.” I say this to reduce his panic attack. He sounds very worried.

“What is it then?” His voice sounds calmer than before.

I couldn’t speak up and tell him the truth about what just happened. I don’t even know where to begin and even explain him about the situation. I am hoping that he is here with me because he always knows what I feel without telling anything

“I……..” I try to produce a voice but I just cannot stop crying.

Ruby crying in the bathroom Ruby in the bathroom 1

“Is Rudy coming back and ask to see you?”

My feeling is now confused on how on earth does he know about this? Suddenly, I stop crying and ask him “How did you know?”

“Rub, I know you since forever. We grew up together. What else will make you cry hard besides Rudy? You never care about someone this much.”

I still find it hard to believe his explanation and try to postpone the interrogation for later on. “I am at Starbucks Sarinah with him now” I finally able to speak normally while sobbing my tears with the toilet tissue.

“I am coming over now.” He said it quickly and then hung up the phone.

“Hallo? Thon? Are you still there? Hallo? Please don’t come over.” Oh.. Great! This is not how I hopped things to turn up. I then think about the awkwardness will the three of us having conversation later on. “I shouldn’t make that phone call!!!” I said it to myself while hitting my head with my both hands. Second later, I calculate how long it might take Anthony to reach Sarinah from his place. He lives in Karawaci while working with one of the biggest property group in Indonesia. Maybe 30 minutes will do. I am sobbing my face immediately and try to pretend as if nothing big has happened. “Just like ripping a band aid. Quick and painful.” As I know Anthony for so many years, I can imagine what will happen. He will come over to see me as He has always been there with me for the past 20 years. He might even punch him. I send a text message to my driver, Iwan and tell him to go home first as Anthony probably will drive me home. I pull myself together and start to walk out the room with a new founded courage. This bravery comes from a desire to protect two of most influencing men in my life beside my father. I won’t let anything bad happen to the two of them.

“Sorry for taking so long. I had a stomachache.” I lied to him while grabbing my coffee from the table. “So, where were we?”

“Cing, are you ok? Your eyes look red. Your face doesn’t right. You look very pale.”

“I am ok. Just sleepy and have not enough slept for the past few days” I then lied again. I remember that Anthony will arrive at any moment and try to rush our conversation. “You told me that you are getting married and then the waiter cut you off. Please do continue”

 “Ok. As you heard before that I am getting married. She is a colleague of mine in Germany. We are the only Indonesians who work in the company. Her name is Anna. I told you about her as she was the one who also got selected for a promotion to go to Germany, remember?”

“Yes. So, where is the invitation?” I said to him calmly in the straightest forward method, trying to rush the conversation even more. I already got to use of receiving my friend’s wedding invitation for the past 2 years. It seems that everybody is getting married except me.

“Well. This is the big problem. You are the first to know about this.”

“What do you mean?” I am even more confused than ever. “Do you mean that your family and her family haven’t known that the two of you are getting married?”

“Yes. Nobody knew about this.”

“Why? A wedding is a big think. You should let your parents know about this. They will feel happy. They are longing for you to get married. Don’t you remember? Your mom has already asked me to marry you in only 2 weeks after our dating.” It took me a second for me to regret to say the last sentence in front of him. I have my pride and don’t want to let him know that I still remember every single part of our memory. It’s a silly move from me.

“She’s already pregnant.”

By looking at his facial expression, he seems waiting for my reaction about this. As if he is waiting to reconfirm something. I know this expression when he asked me whether it is ok to go to her ex girlfriend’s wedding.

My heart is aching even more. I don’t even know that this level of pain exists. I don’t know what to say and how to even react about this. For us Indonesians, to get pregnant before getting married is still not an ordinary custom. It has been considered as a taboo.

“Cing, I am sorry to bring this news to you. I know that this must makes you uncomfortable. But, I really don’t know whom should I talk to or even consult about this. I have been away from my family and even from the country for the past 4 years. I haven’t made any phone calls to my dad, my sister and both of my brothers. The only call I have made is to my mom. That phone only came two times per month top and the conversation never last more than 5 minutes except when we were talking about you.”

Suddenly, I feel really angry. Why is he still saying things to get my hope up? He told me that I am the only one whom he can talk to. He said that he still talks about me with his mother. What is his point? Why does he keep act like that? As if I am still important to his life. I then say things fiercely to him and want to disappear as soon as I can. “Rud, get to the point. I am already tired. I have to wake up early tomorrow and I will have full day activities tomorrow.”

Rudy seems to feel bad and starting to grab my right hand. “Cing, I apologize. I really am sorry. Let me take you home and I shall explain everything on the way home.”

“No! I don’t want you to know where I am living now.” I said to him with the same angry tone as before. “Please continue to speak. Keep it short and straight to the point.”

His eyes begin to teary as he might realize that he has hurt me or sense the angry tone which I rarely express to him. During the 3 years of our relationship, I only have been angry with him once. I have loved him too much and I was afraid to express any negative emotion in front of him. I was afraid that he might not like it. I was afraid of being left out. With him being unhappy is the last thing I want him to have in our relationship.

“Let go of my hand Rud.” I pull my right hand hard.

He is taking a deep breath and tries to pull his words together. “Cing, there are two things which I need your favor.”

“What is it?” My voice starts to calm down as I saw his teary eyes. I still just couldn’t resist.

“First, I need your help by being beside me to explain things to my mother tomorrow. I know for a fact that she is still hopeful that we will get back together. I might even think that she loves you more than she loves my own sister. She told me that you are the daughter she never has. My mom never forces me to get married. Not even when I dated Sandy for 6 years. She kept asking you to get married with me before not because of my age, but because of you in particular. As you know that she likes a girl who is well behave and has a high standard of managing herself. She was very angry when my sister got pregnant before getting married. Until now, she has not approved Ko Yangyang (the husband of Rudy’s sister). You are well aware that they have been married for more than 5 years. I really don’t know how to speak with my mom. Please help me..”

I then take a deep breath and postpone my answer. “Ok! Let us put aside this matter and move on to the second favor.”

“Well, it is more really of three favors which I need to ask from you, not two.” He said it carefully and retries to grab my hand but failed.

“Ok. Spit it out” I am looking at the watch, wondering whether Anthony will be arriving soon. I even look at my BB to see if there are any text messages from him. So far, no sign of him yet.

“The second favor is I need you to see Anna.”

“What? Are you crazy? Why on earth would you want me to see Anna?” I raise my voice

“You have always been good to persuade people. I need your favor to persuade her something.”

“What do you want me to persuade her Rud? Why are you trying to make things awful for me? Has this been not complicated enough?

My tears suddenly begin to tear down as I cannot hold it in front of anybody anymore, not even in front of him. I just don’t care about my pride anymore. This is just too much.

ruby cries

“Cing, please don’t cry. Seeing you like this makes my heart broken. The last thing I want to see from you is when you are unhappy. I am so sorry to do this to you but I have no other options. I have no other way. She wants to do an abortion. She wants to kill the baby.”

The sentence which comes out from my mouth is only two words “How come?”

Why on earth a mother wants to kill her own baby. I just couldn’t understand. Does she not love him? Was it only because of one night stand? Were they drunk? Did Rudy force her to do it? “Impossible.”

Even though we have broken up, I know for a fact that Rudy is not that kind of guy. He is very cautious. He is very laid back person. It took years before Rudy has a bravery to confess his feelings to me. The voice in my heart starts to think of many more possibilities on why she is trying to do this sinful abortion. I cannot ask Rudy those straight forward questions which cross my mind. It will be too awkward. I then try to choose one option from those possibilities.

“Does she not love you?”

“No, she loves me very much.”

“Then, what is it?”

“She thinks that I don’t love her and yes, my feelings for her are everything but love. It is a slight affection, it is a responsible, it is friendship, and it may be a lust. I didn’t even realize it.

I really want to slap him in the face for his last answer like I have seen in my idol dramas lately. But my hands couldn’t move. My feet could not move either and I begin to digest what it means. Why Rudy wants to marry someone He never loves? Why did he make a baby with someone he doesn’t love?

“Why… Why… Why…” I said to myself repeatedly. Rudy seems to hear what I am saying to myself and give me the simplest answer:

“You don’t need to know.”

I then try to hold things together and then calmly ask him “What is the third favor you were going to ask?” This cannot be worse than those two things he has said to me. It’s just no way that things could get any worse.

He then put his weak smile and said softly “No. I don’t want to ask you that favor again.” The tears come down from his face and he cries harder than before., even harder compare to when we broke up before.

“Why?” I asked him curiously.

“You have been through enough.” He starts grabbing tissues from the table and put them to wipe his face and table splashed with his tears.

There’s a moment of silent from both of us while we are still looking at each other’s eyes deeply. I then finally begin to speak.

“Ok! Let’s pretend that I say yes. For the first favor, I already know what to do. I know your mother for a long time. I think that I can help to explain things with her, maybe not in “truthful” way. I will tell her that it’s my entire fault. I will try to deceive her that I already have somebody else and there will be a zero chance for us getting back together, not because of you have disappointed me but I am the one who disappoints you. I will try my best for your mother to accept this situation as smooth as possible.

His tears begin to fall down even more. He wipes his face with his hand repeatedly without stopping.

“However, about the second favor. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know the background of your story for the past few years. I don’t know her and never even met her in my life. I don’t know the past events of the two of you. I don’t know anything except that you told me that she’s your co worker and loves you. I could search in youtube how horribly the baby will react due to an abortion. I have been given a sex education in Sydney before but I am not sure that this will help. I am sure that she might have seen it before.”

 I try to reject his request for me to meet her. Bottom line, I just don’t want to get involve in their relationship. It’s just too painful for a pregnant woman to accept this. I don’t want to hurt anybody. Especially, I don’t want Rudy to lose his happiness. He seems to grow a huge deal of love when it comes to the baby. I am afraid that with me meddling in; she might even think that I am being too noisy and it will affect the baby for somehow.

“Ruby, the reason I have asked this from you is because you are the person that she has always compared herself with. She always has this insecurity feeling that I still love you. I still have feelings for you. She even gets mad with many little things. She gets mad when I am listening to a song from the CD you gave me. She gets upset when I put on the sweater you were once bought for my birthday. She is bothered should my mom talks about you. She even gets unhappy should there’s anything remotely connected to you like your picture for example. I have tried to explain things to her that I will become a responsible father and I will treat my love story with you only as a beautiful memory. The moment I had let you go, I have realized that you will never mine to have.”

“Rud, if she hates me that much, why do you even want me to see her?” Just tell her that you don’t love me anymore. Your feelings for me have been long gone. You have changed and let her know that people can change. Just reassure her with your love. Don’t use the word responsible. Girls hate that. Say that she will be the only girl you love from now on and please tell her that I am nothing but a friend to you now.” I said this with another scratch mark in my heart. This mark will eventually last.

“That, I cannot.” He looks down to the carpet.

“Cing, I don’t want to lie to the person who I will spend the rest of my life with. I don’t want to have any relationship, especially marriage based on lies. Even with an arrange marriage from the last decade, they need to be truthful with each other. They already knew that they didn’t have feelings for each other yet they decided to marry each other for the greater good. I hate lies, I always have.”

“Ok! Then don’t tell her that you love her if it is not true. Just tell her that you don’t possess any feelings for me, that I am nothing for you. That’s after all is the reason you left me to Germany without telling me before hand.” My voice begins to rise as I am really frustrated with the situation.

“That I cannot tell her either.”

I then stood up, ready to burst my emotion all over the place and starts yelling a bit.

“What now? Why even that you also cannot tell her?”

“It’s because that it is also not true.”

I sit again, powerless with another 100 questions to ask him but afraid to find out the real answer. This is just not right. Does he mean that he still loves me or even He never stops loving me? “No way!!” If that the case, he would not have left. Non sense… Everything just doesn’t make sense. Suddenly, there’s a light which stares my eye. I realize that it’s the light from Anthony’s car. I am then rushing over, grabbing my bag and says to Rudy “I will call you. I cannot talk right now but I will call you. Bye.”

I am running towards his car and knocking his window. “Hi!” I said to him. He gets out from the car and touching my face with both of his hands.

ITWY 13

“Are you ok? Rub? You look so miserable!”

“I am fine” I just said another lie today. It probably has already piled up as high as Mount Everest.

“No, you are not fine. Where is he? I want to see that bastard.”

“He already left,” I said to him with another lie. I am then grabbing his hand to go outside of the parking lot. I am trying to pull him as far as I can hope that he does not see or meet Rudy.

“What happened? Tell me the truth!”

I am then begging him to stop asking question. “Please take me home. I don’t have any strength left. I am so tired. This has been a long night.”

He knows me better than anyone. He knows when he needs to stop pushing me. He then puts his right hand around me and accompanies me to his car. He opens the door for me and gets into the car without checking into the coffee house.

“Just sleep. I will wake you up when we reach your place.” He put his hand softly to my head and graces them as if I am still a child.”

I heard the sound of the car being starts and I can also feel that his left hand holds my right hand tightly. Suddenly, I feel better. I feel so much better. I feel save. I feel that I am not alone anymore. The next minute, my eyes were already closed and fell asleep right away knowing that everything is going to be alright for now.

“Rub, we are here.”

I open my eyes and uncover the blanket which he puts around me. The blanket has always stored in the dashboard just in case if I fell asleep in his car.

“So sorry that I fell asleep. Will you stay overnight? I don’t want you to drive away this late of night.”

Deep down in my heart, I really wish for him to stay. I just don’t want to be alone.

“Of course that I will stay. I wouldn’t leave you unaccompanied.”

He grabs his gym bag and brings it with him.

“Have you already planned to stay over?” I asked him.

“Yes.”

“How come?”

Who I am if not your guardian angel.”

I feel touched and blessed to have such a best friend by my side and talk to him with the most grateful feeling. “Thon, you know that I can live without Rudy, even without Roy. I can live without my parents when I was in Sydney. I can live without any of my friends or my jobs as I can always make or find a new one. But, I just couldn’t imagine my life without you. I may not live without you by my side. Thank you.”

He smiles and then hugs me tightly.  “You won’t lose me. You will never lose me. I will always be there for you no matter what.”

We walk together to my flat at Sudirman Park. I rent a 3 + 1 bedroom apartment. One for me, one for my maid and the plus one (small study room) for my driver in case He needs to stay over, and the other one for a guest room in case my parents are coming to stay over. However, my stuffs are just too many and I haven’t got a time to buy the mattress. The guest room becomes a super neat girly warehouse filled with books, DVDs, and other things. Luckily, I have a very comfortable sofa couch bought from online which my friends can use sometimes in case they need to stay over. After opening the door, I said to him that He could crush on the couch while I am grabbing a blanket and a pillow for him to sleep. I then realize that I promise Rudy to call him. I tell Anthony that I have to go to a bathroom first before continuing our conversation. I come into my room and then my bathroom and lock both keys. I just wish that Anthony couldn’t notice that I am making a phone call.

Ruby bathroom

“Hallo?” Rudy answers the phone based on the first ring.

“Hallo Rud. I am sorry to have left suddenly. Anthony came and I didn’t want you two to quarrel.”

“I know. I saw his car outside. Are the two of you together now?”

“It’s none of your business.” I said to him with a harsh tone. I am angry about his reaction, as if he doesn’t know that I still love him. He has seen my reaction before.  When he told me that He’s getting married, even when He’s telling me that Anna has already pregnant. Tears never lie. I am also not an actress who can just cry on cue.

“I am sorry” He apologizes with regret. “Even now, I still don’t like how the two of you tend to grow closer. I saw he put his arms around you and I even saw that He kissed your forehead while you fell to a sleep. If the two of you are not together, I don’t see a reason why a guy should do that to a girl.”

“Please stop it!” said me angrily with the coldest tone I’d ever said to him before.

“As I restate again that we are not more than friends now which makes this none of your business. Anthony is never that kind of guy. We both know him for so many years. How can you say bad things about him? He has always been there for me. During my ups and downs, He never left. You don’t have the right to accuse him as being the bad guy. He is not the one who gets a girl to become pregnant before even marries her and not even loves her in the first place.”

I feel sorry immediately that I have lost control and even said that last sentence to hurt him. I wasn’t doing it on purpose. It’s just my emotion has been a roller coaster for the past few hours.

“I apologize. I shouldn’t have said that. I am not supposed to judge you. Really, I am not at liberty to comment on anything.”

There’s a moment of silent on the phone for probably one minute.

“Rud? Are you still there?”

“Yes.” He answers softly as I hear him sobbing his tears like he got a bad cold.

“I am truly sorry…….”

I apologize again hoping that it will make him feel better. Rudy is not responding to me and I really don’t know what to do now. I am angry to myself. “Ruby, as if he has not been through enough” I should be there to support him, not make things worse for him. This is the right way to love somebody. Then, I say to him the most bravery sentence I’d ever spoken in life.

“Rud, I am willing to help you, just text me Anna’s phone number. Is she staying in Jakarta? Is she staying at the same hotel as yours? Just leave it to me.”

“Cing, you don’t have to do that if you feel uncomfortable. I have never seen you to have this kind of strong reaction. I shouldn’t have contacted you in the first place. I know how much pain she will cause when you have to see her. She is not a people person. Just undo this favor.”

“Rud, just text me her phone number. Where is she staying now?”

“She is in Jakarta. I don’t know where she is staying. We were apart from the airport. Her family is in Surabaya. She probably stayed at any good hotels in the city near to the big malls. I don’t know where she is and she has not replied any of my text messages today.”

“Ok! I will contact her and try to meet her by tomorrow before night. What time am I suppose to meet with your mother?

“Aren’t you busy tomorrow? I thought you already have a full schedule. We can meet mom at anytime you want. She will be here for the whole day. I can accompany her to do other things first. You can come by to the hotel to see her. We can have a late dinner, or even just a chat in my room. Anything you want.”

“I will not come to the office tomorrow. I just want to get this over with. Hopefully, after tomorrow, everything will be better for the both of us.”

“Cing, why are you still willing to help me? I thought that you have given up on me. I thought that I hurt you so bad when I left you to Germany. I thought that you hate me.”

I am speechless for a while and answer back to him:

“Because I have made a promise that whenever you need me, I will be by your side no matter what. I am your family and I will always be ready to be by your side no matter at how much cost will it take. Even though my promise was taken years ago, it doesn’t mean that it is not still valid. I never break any promises to anyone not even once.”

He then speaks softly “I wish that I could do the same”

He is then hanging up the phone immediately without saying good bye and text me Anna’s mobile number right away. I go outside to see if Anthony has fallen asleep. He has lied down on the couch. However, the couch has not been remodeled into a bed couch. He has not put his blanket also.

I put his blanket to cover him and then he opens his eyes.

“I am sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up. Please go back to sleep.” He is sitting down and grabbing my left hand, asking me also to sit down.

“Now, tell me everything.”

Anthony and Ruby hang out

I am then telling him everything about what happened. I need him to help me to put an act in front of Anna. I need him to help me change Anna’s mind to do an abortion. If it is not for Anna, I wouldn’t tell him everything. I know that he will punch Rudy in the face and tries his best to protect me.

After a long painful story which breaks me down to tears once again, he starts to respond fiercely as fierce as I had predicted.

ruby cries and anthony consoles

“Are you crazy Ruby Lee? Are you out of your mind? Why have you not changed even a bit?”

I know straight away that he will become this angry. He rarely calls my full name. I don’t stop him to let any of the emotions out as I know that he only wants what is best for me. I need to make something up as if the favor is for my own good. For me to see Anna is beneficial for me.

I rest my head on his shoulder and tell him “Help me to do this. I need this closure. You know that I haven’t been able to get over him for all these years. I still hope for him to come back. I still wish that He will feel sorry to have abandoned me before. Help me. By doing this, I might really believe that it is over. I can start to open my heart for another guy, a better guy, someone who loves me for at least as much as you do love me.”

Anthony is hugging me and whispers “You know that I could never reject when you are asking for a help. But, this is just too much. I just don’t want to see you experience this kind of pain. It is not worth it. It is just not. How can he ask such a thing? How can he be this selfish? Even though he is your ex now, he should have been the one to protect you, not the other way around. Furthermore, it should be his responsibility to persuade the girl, not yours. You don’t owe him anything. It’s him who owes you everything.”

I then burst into tears, feel his brotherhood / protected love for me even in a greater love than my own brother loves me, maybe even more than my parents love me. I never know. I never disclose my problems to my family as I am a very introvert person. I don’t want them to worry about me. But right now, I feel loved. I feel protected and most importantly, I feel that for any reasons that no matter what, he always stands up for me.

“Please… Please help me.. I just want to put an end into this. I will not go to work tomorrow. Can you please also take an off day tomorrow? I need you.. I need you..”

I begged him with letting myself crying hard. I can always let go of myself in front of him. I can laugh as loud as I want, cry as bad as I might look or even sleep as long as I want to sleep. I can always be myself when I am around him.

“Rub, don’t beg me like this. As if you have nobody else beside me. I could never reject you. I cannot see you like this. Seeing you crying like this cuts my heart into pieces. I would rather undergo any the worst thing in life even death itself rather seeing you like this. I promise you that the next guy you end up with will not hurt you like this. I won’t let this happen.. Never and never again..”

“Are you willing to help?” I wipe my tears by his T shirt on his chest.

“Yes. Now, go to sleep. It has been a long day for you. Go to sleep..”

“Ruby, I promise you.. This too shall pass..”

ITWY 6

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