@celfmagazine Writing Challenge #1: THE GAMES [A Short Story]
This is my entry for the First Writing Challenge hosted by @celfmagazine.
This short story cover all the themes required by this challenge: Determination, Childhood, and Nature.
For the rules/guidelines of this challenge, see this link
Hope you all steemians enjoy this...☕❤
January, 25th 1998
Dear Borges, I’ve read your letter, and I’ve read your burdens and complaints that you said you are no longer able to bear. Indeed, sometimes I also feel the same: there is something that seem lost when the town, when we are, becoming bigger and bigger. But why therefore we should be outraged? Why we should be sad and shut yourself off in your room? Why you should regret and curse everything?
Dear Borges, I will say once more that I ever felt the same thing that you feel. But now I’m used to ignore it all. All the things which make us angry and annoyed. Now I’m used to erase, ignore, and eradicate all those things with one thing that I am sure you can do well: to remember, to rearrange memories.
Well, this evening, go outside. Go to the terrace. Notice all the things around you. Notice carefully that the world is preening. And together the wind, the sky, the cloud, and the sun painted the earth. It is the moment when the end of the day and the beginning of the night mixed together in a dimension of time, mingled together to be a batter of colors which will be astonishing you.
Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember that it were at that moments, at that hours, that we used to be so free? Don’t you remember that at that moments we used to have a game that we played together? We played the game when the sun set and the moon rise and we walked outside. We walked outside our house to the front yard wearing our night clothes and headgear which keep us from the rain and the cold of the yard. The yard was spacious and located in the middle of our village or in the corner of our village with dark-blue shiny wet grass which forged by dew and the moonlight. At the time the full-moon shone and the sky was clear and green and I, you, and our friends gathered in the yard. The light came only from the full moon and you saw me dimly. We were surrounded by trees—mango, kapok, banana, guava, and bamboo trees—field fences, ditches, and in the distance, not so far away, stretched dark blue paddy fields gleamed because of the moon light.
Go outside to the terrace. Yes, this evening, go outside to the terrace. Drink your coffee, tea, or other beverages which you prefer, lit your cigarette if you smoke, then look at the evening sky which started to mould a moon above the housetops of our dull town. Forget your job, your family, your neighbor, your colleagues. Forget all those people that you said already become dead things which no longer interested in playing a game. Forget that tomorrow you still have, or you imagine you have, a lot of works that has to be done this evening or this night.
Isn’t it the weather so good? Isn’t it the full moon will be so beautiful? Isn’t the sky too green and majestic to go unnoticed? I know now you don’t have playground, terrain, or yard anymore, I know now you don’t have an open space that can make you happy and celebrating the full moon anymore. So do I. I know in front of your terrace what you see are only the walls and housetops that impede your sight, the walls and housetops that jostled and irregular. I know in front of your house there are only small paths that lead to a highway, and irregular small alleys that lead to nowhere. The small paths and small alleys are too narrow, with fug from jammed ditches which make you dwarfed and your fantasy declined. The small paths and alleys which can’t be a place to play a game. I know now you are alone. I know now you can only enjoy the twilight, the bright evening sky, and the full moon from your narrow terrace, alone, while in front of or beside your house you heard noisy music, noisy quarrel, or moaned intercourse. So do I.
But, like I said before, I already used to erase and efface all those things. I already used to ignore any kind of voices, appearances, and feelings by sitting in the terrace drinking coffee, or tea, or other beverage.
That day was Saturday evening. But I also used to do it at Friday evening or other days when tiredness, boring and revulsion are no longer bearable. I know you can do it as well. Sitting at the terrace. Alone, quiet, and only paying attention:
Little by little, step by step, the houses, the alleys, the shops, the ditches, the factories, the terminals, and the streets erased by the moon light. Little by little they disappeared and turned into a vast playground in the middle of a village which already familiar to you and me. Fresh air blows from behind the bamboo, mango, kapok, rose apple, and coconut trees. There are also teak, banyan, and mahogany trees. In the playground the grass outspread silvery blue, shining because of the dew and the moon light. The voices of insects from behind the bush sound like calling you and me and our friend to come out of our house welcoming the night and the moon which were flirting happily at the sky. At the distance, from the silvery green paddy field, we heard dimly the voices of frogs which sounded like singing and celebrating the bright night. There are also the flashes of the owl’s eyes, staring at the paddy field and the playground through the branches of large kapok tree waiting for rats to come out foraging—or perhaps also celebrate the moon.
At the right side, a little bit far from the playground through the path which embedded with banana trees, your house and our friend houses stand quietly. My house stands near the paddy field, beside a small hut and a granary, farthest from the playground. All of the buildings were made of old bamboo tree and they stood in a row beside the paddy fields. Petromak lamps shine from the inside of your house and our friend houses, their light radiate out from the holes of the bamboos. My house was not so bright, there were only two small wall lamps which illuminating the whole house. The wind blows softly shaking the ends of woven dry palm leaves of your house and my house.
One by one, with a sense of carefree, tiny and rather big figures start to come out of the houses, walking slowly to the playground. You were also come out of your house. With fried tempe in your hand you walked slowly and quietly while singing our ancestor songs. Your mother, father, and uncle gather together at the terrace talking about debt, rainfall, and crops in the fields. When your tempe is done, without sandals you ran after your friends who have gathered in the playground.
In the playground, Ucok, Asep, Dul, Aku, Cecep, Akib, Apri, dan Irzan were already waiting for you to start the game. There were also some girls which already playing snake-hose when you came. They were in the corner of the playground, beside the rose flowers which were implanted by your mother, my mother, and friends of our mother before we were born. And that, the girl with long braided hair, Arabic face, and tan skin, was a girl who always make you happy. You often give her toys and food: toy cars from pieces of banana tree, dolls from kapok tree, guavas which you stole from behind your house, and fried tempes which you stole from your father dish. Her name is Delaila.
She was a cheerful girl. You once said to Irzan that she is a sweet girl, and you were told by her friend that she said you are a handsome boy. You often accompany her when she came home after school in noon or evening. You also often invite her to the garden behind your house to play toys car or dolls. Sometimes you and her come into quarrels but then reconcile again.
In the playground, I and you ignored the moon, and the night didn’t make us cold. When the moonlight was increasingly bright, you and me and our friends started the game. The sound of frogs in the distance, the sound of insects in the field, slowly disappeared and erased by the cheerful voices of our friends starting a game. That night you, me, and our friends played hide and seek game because snake-hose game was a boring game and gobak sodor was too often we played.
“Hompimpa...alaikum...gambreng!!” we screamed together simultaneously so that the girls which were on the corner of the playground surprised. Sidah turned her head toward you, and you saw her. She smiled at you, and you smiled at her too. Hom pim pa should be repeated because all of the players opened our hands. “Hompimpa...alaikum...gambreng, Mak Inah jualan dendeng..!!” Akib, Irzan, I and Dul screamed cheerfully. I and them happy because we opened our hands while the other players close their hands. We laughed and jumped up and down happily toward the right side of the playing-ground.
Ucok dan Apri screamed excitedly. “I won, I won . . . cihuyyy . . . !! Never mind, Cep, it will be better if you guarded the ‘fort’, hahaha!” They both jumped up and down while running toward us, me, Akib, Irzan dan Dul who laughed freely at the corner of the playground. Now, there were only you and your two friends, Cecep dan Asep. “Never mind, never mind!! Hurry up!” Cecep shouted tensely. “Hompimpa...!!” All of you closed the hands. “Aaaah..,” Asep and Cecep shouted together at the same time. You just quiet, your face looked a little bit tense. “Hompimpaaa..!!!” You said it loudly with the hope that you will win. But it was Cecep’s face which became bright because you and Asep closed your hands while he opened his hand. “Haaa . . . I won, I won! Never mind, Sep, guard the ‘fort’! You guard the ‘fort’. It will be better if both of you guard the ‘fort’! hahaha . . .!” Cecep jumped up and down while laughed happily. He was not directly went to the edge of the playground, but waiting for what happened next between you and Asep with the face full of victory.
Now, there were only you and Asep which has to determine who is the one that has to guard the ‘fort’. Your face and Asep’s face looked tense, full of hope to win. The foreheads, the faces, and the necks of both of you were sweated.
“Suiiit...jrenggg!” You lose, and must guarded the ‘fort'.
“One-two-three-four-five-six-seven.... Have you all done it yet?”
You heard the voices of yelling behind you. “Tu-wa-ga-pat-ma-nam-ju-pan-lan-luh. Have you all done it yet?” there were no answers, no voices. You has to search for the hiding places of your friends. You just turned around while sneaking about to find, from the corner of the playground, Sidah, who had apparently noticed you guarding the ‘fort’, waving her hand to you with a pleading expression. Slowly, you approached her and she murmured while pointed to the big kapok tree at the right side of the playground. “Akib is hiding behind the big kapok tree.” Right after Sidah murmured at you, Akib went out from his hiding place with the face full of anger. “Unfair, unfair! It must be repeated!” You dissapointed, dejected, and then ran back to the guava tree, your ‘fort’. At the edge of the playground, Sidah only bowed her head, she looked like sad, or pity. But you ignored her.
“One-two-three-four-five...Have you all done it yet?”
You closed your eyes with your hand while leaning your head to the guava tree, felt annoyed. There were no answers, what you heard was only the girls’ voices at the edge of the playground. You have to search for your friends.
The full moon was already right above your head. Its light was so bright, and it illuminated the entire playground. The grass became silvery white, beautiful as the moon. The trees shined silvery blue, fragrant as the moon. The sky became silvery blue and bright as the full moon.
Now you hid behind the lush tubers in the field. Your face flashed, your breath fast, your body and head sweated. Your clothes a little bit wet because of your sweat and dew that began to fall. In the middle of the playground, under the guava trees, with tense and annoyed face Akib guarded the ‘fort’ and searched for the hiding places. His face was sweated, his breath fast, his body and his head also sweated. Meanwhile, in the distance, from behind the lush of the banana trees, big figures appeared in pairs. Their big shadows covered the grass which laid in the edge of the streets. Their pale blue faces shined because of the moon light which mixed with the night. You knew it was late at night, and they came to ask us to come home. You knew the night was late, the playground already foggy, but you still feel fresh, and you and me and our friends were still continuing our hide and seek game. Your face was still brightly happy. You saw trees and you felt that they looked at you cheerfully.
Only the girls that now sat at the edge of the playground, and their faces looked tired after playing snake-hose for hours. But I was sure you are sure that that they were also reluctant to come home. I was sure you were sure they were still happy. Happy as the happy frogs at the distance which sang louder and louder. Happy as the happy insects in the fields which seemed to answer the voices of the frogs. Dan that, at the far corner of the playground, beside the lush roses, you saw Sidah still laughed happily. I was sure you sure that Sidah did not want to go home yet. You saw her eyes still bright as the stars around the moon. You saw she was embarrassed because being teased by her friends who knew that Sidah was waiting for you to come out of your hiding place. You saw her eyes and face seemed a little bit nervous because she was afraid that you will lose the game. You were sure Sidah still happy and you were happy too.
Dear Borges, I knew you will be tired sitting for a long time at the terrace. Quiet, and only observing the night and the moon. I knew you will be cold because the terrace was not a playground where you can play a game that can make you ignoring the cold and evening breeze. I knew your tubers will be finished, your coffee will be completed, and your cigarette only remaining one, while there are not enough money to boy something because anything becoming more and more expensive, while the night is still so long. I knew you will be sad, or upset or angry because from the rear, side and front of your house the sounds of intercourses, quarrels, and noisy music will be heard again, while the night grew colder and darker. But, at least we, for a while, can be fresh again. At least for a while you and me can forget, ignore, and erase our city which often make us upset and wrathful. After that, after the night reached the darkest level, and the cold is no longer bearable, you and I can hastily enter into our sleeping room, relaxing our bodies, and slowly, forgetting the night and the moon.***
My Warmest Regards
This is my original short-story and also can be found in my collection of short stories "Matinya Seorang Atheis" (Not yet translated into English) -- © 2011 @zaimrofiqi.
For the proof and detailed informations about the book, see this link
This is the first time I translated this story into English and hope there will be a party/publisher who want to translate the whole book into English or other languages.
If there is any party who want to do this translation, please contact me via email: [email protected]