A Witness of The Golden Mist
by, 12-08-2010 at 11:43 PM (541 Views)
Mr. Siswoyo and I (18 y.o. at that time) were walking in my middle school’s alley. It’s been 4 years since the last time I came to that school, but he was still the same person like I always remember.
Mr. Siswoyo, my math teacher, is a skinny, quiet, and calm gentleman. He always wears an old white shirt, grey trouser, and an old peci (Indonesian traditional hat) every day. Overall, he looks old, ordinary, and boring.
While walking, he explained the reason why he called me. Since I graduated from there 4 years ago, the Youth Red Cross Club where I used to joined, has been move backwards. The club has not won any competition and lost many members. The situation was pretty sad and the principal asking for improvements.
There is this prestigious annual competition for the Youth Red Cross Club from all middle schools in the province. When I was the club president, my school always won the competition. Mr. Siswoyo thinks that winning the competition will bring back the club’s honor, so they can get more members and support from the school.
Unfortunately, the competition rules forbid 2 or more schools to have the same coach. The coach at my school apparently was coaching another school too. The coach must choose 1 school, and he chose that other school. My school was left without coach.
When Mr. Siswoyo found out that my little sister was a student at his school, he asked for my contact number and offered me to be a temporary coach until the competition over. I took his offer.
We stopped at a club room. He introduced me to all members of the Youth Red Cross Club. I looked around. There were less than 20 students in that room, age between 12-14 years. My little sister was one of them.
I talked to my juniors for about an hour, gave them questions about the club’s practices and activities, and what obstacles they have now that made them doubt they can win the competition.
“Do you really think we can win the competition?” asked a student.
“I believe so,” I answered.
“What makes you so sure?”
I lifted my chin. Over confident. Arrogant. “Because I said so.”
At the competition
I was sitting on a bench alone, watching my juniors at the field. I felt disappointed. They were laughing, crying, yelling, jumping, and hugging each other. We won all the categories and got the trophies. We also received the Grand Trophy.
From the thin air, the aristocratic image of me showed up, standing in front of me. Her hands were on her hips, with anger on her face.
I introduce you with: my ambition.
Her job is to make sure that I know how big of a failure I am.
“Second winners?” she hissed. “What the fuck is that?”
“We win,” I told her shortly.
“They receive second place for all category! None of them get the first place! You call that ‘win’?!! Second winner is not winning, you fucking loser! And you call yourself a coach?!! What kind of coaching is that?! You’re a FAILURE!!!”
That’s true. We did win the entire category. But we only get the second place. This is what pissed her off. She wants the first place on every category. The reason why we get the Grand Trophy, though, was because we have the biggest amount of trophies.
“I’ve tried my best,” I whispered weakly.
“BULL-FUCKING-SHIT!” she screamed furiously. “You didn’t try hard enough, that’s why they get SECOND place instead of FIRST place, you pathetic moron!!”
A warm hand on my shoulder stopped me from self-torturing. I turn my head and saw Mr. Siswoyo. He smiled gently and nodded once. “Thank you,” he said.
I forced a smile on my face. “No, Sir. Thank you.”
He investigated me for a second. “You don’t look happy.”
He sighed. He lifted a finger to point at my juniors. “Look at them, my child. Do you remember when the last time you were so happy like that?”
I looked at them and shook my head.
“Exactly,” said Mr. Siswoyo. “As far as I can remember, every time you didn’t win the first place, you were very disappointed. Then you’re punishing yourself by training like crazy to get the first place on another competition. I thought you’ll be happy and stop torturing yourself when you finally got your first place. But I was wrong. The only expression you gave was a relief, like you just accomplishing a task, a duty. I always wondering, why are you so hard on yourself.”
That was the first time Mr. Siswoyo, or anyone, ever talked to me like that. I didn’t realized, that all of this time, someone was actually noticed my habit of self-torturing.
Why am I so hard on myself? Because I’m no genius, that’s why.
Since I was a child, I realize that I’m just an ordinary average kid. I was never special. Always un-noticed. My parents always criticize my looks, my attitude, my effort, my grade, everything. I was never enough.
At school, always the most talkative and the prettiest students that gets the teacher’s attention. If someone making fun of me or trying to bullying me and I told my teachers, they just ignored me, like it just doesn’t matter to them whether or not I’m still alive. My shallow friends ignoring me because I’m not pretty, smart, rich, sweet, talkative, attractive, talented, nor friendly.
Never once, I complained. I accepted life for what it is. I patiently waited for anyone to notice me and talk to me. I stop talking to my teachers unless they give me questions. When nobody cares and I was alone, I finished my assignments, read books, or drawn in my own imagination. When some of my friends trying to make fun of me, I just ignored them or attack them until I defeated them. When I was sad, I searched for empty room (mostly bathroom) and quietly cried there, carefully made sure no one will listen to my cry.
At home, while my parents were working, I took care of the house and my siblings since I was age 8. I sweep and mop the floor, cleaning the furniture, cleaning all the bed, water the plants, maintain the garden, wash the dishes, wash and iron the clothes, warm the dinner, bath and feed my siblings, tell them story when they go to nap, and assist them on their homework.
I was working like a slave. And of course, nobody noticed. Never once, I complained. Yet never a word came from my parents’ mouth as appreciation, as like everything I do was a duty every child must do. Even a light dust beneath the sofa would made them scolded me for hours and lectured me about the sacrifices they did every day to keep the whole family alive, how ungrateful and unhelpful I am as a child, how I could’ve done better to show my appreciation, and nonstop comparing my brain and looks with my perfect cousins’.
Everything I do was never enough. And I was just an ordinary average stupid kid.