and
Mythology | Mitologi

4 November 2012

Mythology

As a child he like looking at himself in the mirror in his mother’s room.
“That’s you,” his mother said as she released a bird inside him. The bird
was beautiful, with clear pupils and a rose colored beak. “It will be your
friend even when I’m not here.”

As a teenager, his mother moved the mirror into his room. Each time he
looked at himself, the bird cooed and circled above his head. What was
it saying? What did it want? When he wasn’t there, her was sure the
bird suffered and felt lonely.

As an adult, maybe because he was constantly busy with work, he rarely
looked at the mirror. And the bird, maybe because he often gave it no
mind, rarely showed itself to him. For years, for tens of years, they
seemed no longer to be part of each other. But then one day, after he’d
reached middle age, he saw it again: an ugly disheveled thing, much like
the gloom that had taken hold of his life. Was that really it?

Now, as an elderly man, in front of the mirror, he bitterly longs for it.
But the bird, that bird, never actually existed.

Mitologi

Saat kanak-kanak, ia gemar melihat dirinya dalam cermin
di kamar Ibu. “Itulah kamu,” kata si Ibu seraya melepaskan seekor
burung ke dalamnya. Burung itu cantik, pupilnya terang, paruhnya
merah muda. “Sebagai teman, tentu, bila Ibu tak ada.”

Saat ia mulai remaja, cermin itu dipindahkan Ibu
ke kamarnya. Setiap ia berkaca, burung itu berkicau berputar
putar di atas kepala. Apakah yang dikatakannya? Adakah
yang diinginkannya? Bila dirinya tak ada, ia merasa
burung itu kesepian; dan tentu menderita.

Saat dewasa, sebab entah sibuk bekerja, ia mulai
jarang berkaca. Burung itu, entah memang karena ia lupa,
jarang pula tampak olehnya. Bertahun-tahun,
berpuluh-puluh tahun, mereka bagai bukan bagian
dari bersama. Tapi suatu ketika, dalam usia separo baya, ia
melihatnya. Burung jelek, kusam, tak ubahnya kelebat muram
dalam hidupnya. Betulkah itu dia?

Kini ia telah tua. Di depan cermin, pedih,
ia sering merindukannya. Burung itu—burung itu,
memang, sebenarnya tak pernah ada.

Payakumbuh, 1997

English translation by John H. McGlynn

This entry was posted in 40.1: INDONESIA and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Related Posts:

Please read Cordite's comments policy before joining the discussion.