That Day, 365 Days Ago

When the Last Milestone was Placed

July 7th, 2013

It’s been a while since I posted on this dear blog. Back then, more than a year ago, I was caught up with lots of things which kept me busy for quite some time. Just when I though I finally had free time to think of and write something, fate just kept me from writing. Then, it was all just gone away. Not a single letter I put on this page after that day when destiny stroke.

I was never a good story teller but I always wanted to tell this story about a friend of mine. She was a special friend of mine, an extraordinary one. Not a friend that you just spend the time with, hanging out and share some laugh. I personally think calling her a mere best friend is an insult to her. Because she is an extraordinary best friend. Well, this is going to be long.

This story started way back then. Let us rewind a bit to August 2006. I was a freshly admitted freshman, in my orientation to know my new campus well. I spent my high school time in a special program which allowed me to finish high school in  two years. Thus, I went to university ahead of my high school friends from the same year, and just a few of my seniors, whom I don’t really know well back then, enrolled in the same program as mine. None of my classmates from the same program went into the same faculty. Therefore, I was practically alone in that new campus.

That is when she came. When I was just taking a break in campus after all those tiring orientation tasks, she was the one calling for me out of nowhere. To my surprise, she did already know my name. I’m pretty sure I didn’t wear name tag at that time. She was a freshman, just like me. So, yeah, we introduced ourselves. Her name is Marissa Danastri. She wanted me to call her Icha. She is my first female friend in University of Indonesia.

So, our conversation did not end there. We hanged out quite a lot back then, while we were still on orientation. As the first semester started, we hanged out more often. We even took the organizational activities. We went home together with Uchal’s car (he is our special friend), which we called BBB since the car’s number is B888V (dude, if only the last V is B). We listened to the same music, in Uchal’s car by the way. We sang as hard as we can in that 90’s Honda Accord. The three of us, the BBB regular passengers. That was a pleasant time, indeed.

In this legendary car is where we started to share dreams. It was only small dreams back then. Like how we wanted to join the Economics Department Student Council a.k.a. KANOPI and climb our organizational career there, or how I wanted to be the president of Economix, an international economic student conference organized by KANOPI, and I want them to be in my team. It was really a small and simple dreams, yet felt so distant from us back then. That was when we really underestimated how fast time can flow.

One-by-one, this simple dream of ours started to crop. July 2007, we placed our first milestone of our dreams. We were admitted as staffs of KANOPI, though the three of us was in different departments. So, we indeed climbed our career in this organization, as in the next period, we were promoted to department head. Again, we placed our next milestone.

In July 2008, I ultimately decided to take on the responsibility of the president of The 6th Economix conference. Icha was the first person I asked to become the vice president. Realizing that this was our dream to begin with, which started as a small talk in BBB. That cheap and small talk was about to be realized, much to our surprise how fast time has flown, and how dreams can always be realized. So, with the team we always dreamed of almost two years prior, we finally won the bid, and thus another milestone of our dreams was placed and fortified.

This is an important milestone, because it shows the two of us that long term dream can be realized just as we planned. We proved that daydreaming can become something, and distant dream is always achievable, though we were still in small scale.

We worked very hard to organize the conference. She was the best vice president I could ever had. While I was focused more on the external affairs, she handled the internal very well. She even sometimes organize my schedule, well, to be honest most of the time. She was always a good partner to take critical decision. She might be headstrong and stubborn in debates, much to my trouble to find equilibrium. I was always a bad listener. Well, literally and not literally. In literally, I often misheard someone saying something, probably because I get distracted too easily.While not literally, I can be as headstrong as she is. But in the end we always had the same conclusion. It was always for the best that we sought on.

We totally wrapped the 6th Economix together with the team. That was when all of us shared the tears of joy and laughter together, knowing that all of our hard works paid. Again, we remembered how this was all started as a silly talk. And we wondered just how far we can go after that with our dreams. Hence, we were on the last predetermined milestone. We had yet to decide what’s next.

When I fell in love, Icha was always be the first vanguard to motivate this love-awkward person named Roy. She always pushed me to take actions no matter how small or insignificant it may be to show my feelings, all to no avail as it usually ended up as an acute awkwardness that I experienced. This has eternally become quite a comedy in my life. When she fell in love, she always try to find me to get any advice or insight from me, which she clearly doesn’t need, due to my love-related-weakness and her stubborness. I believed that she can take care of herself without my advice. I always thought that Icha probably just want to share her story to me since I am her friend, in which I should know about her.

Anyway, Icha can also be irritating sometimes. She can sometimes call you saying that she was in a big trouble, then asked you to come over to help her. Sometimes it is really a trouble. But, some other times, she was just exaggerating the problem to gather all of us around. Then, she can hangout with all of us. Despite all of that, Icha had always been successful to gather us all, even after a long time of no hanging out. Then, we can share laugh together again.

As our years in university went by, I was appointed as vice president of KANOPI, while Icha stepped down from her seat in KANOPI. However, Icha didn’t stop to support me even though she was not in the organization body anymore. She was always be there when I need advice on the organizational problem. Though she has stepped down, it was still our dream. So, we need to accomplished it to the very end.

As our time in campus was reaching its climax, we started to share an even distant dreams. We dreamed of studying abroad, stepped our feet outside the border of our country, and absorbed as many wisdom as we can from developed countries out there. We dreamed of contributing to our country’s well-being, to the world as well, and ultimately for humanity with the knowledge and ability that we acquire in our grand voyage. All of those great dreams, so distant that you might laugh at us, so silly like joining government cabinet with all of us friends as a team, so big that we felt so small compared to our dreams.

Our experience in Economix, though its on imcomparable scale, had strengthen our faith on achieving them. So many milestones we need to placed in order to achieve them. How long and hard the path that we need to take after this. But, we kept going on with those dreams, because those are dreams we shared together.

That was when I fully realized that Icha is not a mere best friend. She was a friend whom I shared my dreams with, who walks together with me to achieve it, no matter how hard and long it will be. That what makes Icha special. That was the very first time I ever had a friend whom I shared my lifetime dreams. Not just me and Icha, but also many friends of us in the same friendship shares the same dreams. It was never my dreams. It is our dreams.

Finally, 2010, we graduated. From that point onward, we will walk in our own path, chasing dreams in our own way, with beliefs that one day our road may converge, and thus our dreams will be fulfilled. Then Icha joined the Ministry of Communication and Information of Indonesia, while I spent my freshly graduateness as a voluntary primary teacher in remote area. Our road diverged at that time.

We talked  to each other less after that, especially since I was living in remote area, so far away from her. We did not even met face to face for months. We only talked on telephones or texts that we hardly did that time. However, when I tell her that I finally got a scholarship to continue my study to USA, I can hear and feel how overjoyed she was. I already placed another milestone to our dream. It was her turn next to put her, and I believed she will in no time.

After I returned from my service as primary teacher, in 2011, we talked even less. I got a job as assistant-researcher in Bank Indonesia. Our workplace was not that far. Yet, we grew even more distant. We were too caught up with our works that we didn’t really communicate for months. This is the pinpoint which I mentioned at the very beginning, of the reason why I did not write for my blog.

Then at one point, in 2012, probably a month before my resignation from my job since I had to prepare for my departure to USA, Icha asks us for an afterwork meet up. That time, I missed the meet up since I was taking an overtime to do works that I need to finish before my resignation. It’s not that I need to finish it by tomorrow. It’s just that I prefer to finish everything early even just a bit, not that it will give me big trouble if I didn’t finish it that day.

So, I missed the chance to meet her. Then, it was getting harder to meet after that since I even had to do my paperworks for my departure preparation. At the beginning of July 2012, I finally finished the paperworks and most of my office works, so I finally had free time to post on my blog. I already planned to do it on my weekend. I just had to find a topic to write.

Finally, Saturday came. I was chilling out by playing games as usual for my weekend light activity after five days of work, trying to find topic for my blog. Then, my cellphone rang. It was a call from Uchal. Well, it might be an invitation to hang out as usual.

So, I casually picked up the phone, even trying to sound as fun as usual. But what I only heard a panicking voice from Uchal’s girlfriend and our special friend, Happy. I could not really understand what she meant. She kept on convincing me to come over Icha’s house without explaining why. I jokingly refused because Icha had always been trying to sound mysterious and serious to invite us, yet in the end we hanged out casually and having fun as usual. But then, the phone was handed to Uchal. Uchal was trying to sound calm. Then, he said something that I could not digest at first. He said it over and over again. The very same sentence. The sentence that I never even imagined in my wildest dream.

Icha has passed away.

The moment of pause is like a year long in my mind. I just could not believe what I heard. I am always bad with listening. I just hoped that my listening was as bad as ever. But, damn, why it worked so well at that time. I heard it loud and clear, that Icha has gone forever. That an accident took her away.

I rushed to Icha’s house after that. I tried to drive as calm as I can even though I knew my heart and my mind was on skirmish. I did not hope that it was just a dream, because I know I was wide awake. I just hoped that when I arrived at Icha’s house, I will find Icha there safe and sound, as healthy as ever, then naughtily laugh as she succeed on gathering us together, just like how she would do, just like how she always do.

But then, what I found at Icha’s house was never what I hoped for. I could not see her victorious smile anymore. I could not hear her laugh anymore. I could not get pissed on her exaggerating problems just to gather us together. Because, it was not an exaggeration, no more exaggeration. Because, Icha had really gone.

365 days ago, Icha had finally placed her final milestone.

I was so broken. I felt like a hole had been bored through my heart. I practically lost my mind as I sent text messages on Whatsapp messenger that will never be replied. Yes, I did send messages to Icha’s phone number, though I was totally concious that she would never reply anymore. When I opened Icha’s conversation page with me on the messenger, I could only see blank pages. Yes, I did cleared my messages months ago to save phone memory. This blank page shows how I didn’t get in touch with her, and I regret it. I sought redemption by sending her message, though it was clearly too late.

I sent her everything about our story. How we met, how we finally became friend. I sent her about our dreams, our passion, and our promises that we have yet to fulfill. I sent her everything I have about her in my mind. I try to recollect everything about Icha from the deepest domain of my memory. I was like trying to remind Icha about everything, blindly hoping that she might return. But, I knew I was wrong. I knew that what I was doing was completely wrong. That I had to accept it.

That was why, at one point, I stopped doing that completely. I finally cleared my mind. I almost strayed to a wrong path. Icha’s death is my greatest shock after losing my grandparents. I was never been that down. I was always bragging on how positive thinking I was, yet I cannot even keep a single positivity that time. I felt very small and weak at that time. I had to start over again.

Then, I decided to make my first post on my blog to be the story of Icha and me. But, in front of computer screen. I could not find any words to say. I had wrote papers, articles, even undergraduate thesis successfully. Yet, I cannot find any words to say about my very best friend. Then, I decided to leave it be for a whole one year, until I find the words, until I can recollect all of the puzzles about her. Until that, I will not post anything in my blog. I swear that it would be my last time doing this.

Days later, we personally talked with Icha’s mother, whom we already knew very well for a long time. She told us stories about Icha. Some we had heard from Icha herself and some was new for us. Icha was always a good daughter, we know that, as she was always a very good friend.

Then, Icha’s mom told us how busy Icha was with works for the last couple of months. She was always been full of work. She left home early in the morning and came home very late at night. It was hard for her. But, she can always maintain her smile. She said that she really wanted to hang out with us, just like how it was. But, she just couldn’t. That time when she asked us to hang out after work, she was actually quite stressed and needed moral support.

It was like a lightning struck to my head. Icha was very busy. So busy that she cannot even hanged out on the weekend due to many circumstances. Then, when she finally spared some time for us, I passed it because of work. When she needed support the most, I passed it because of work. I passed it because of work that I can actually did the day after. Only for that foolish reason, I failed to present in front of a friend in need. Some friend I am.

That time, I finally completely realized how precious time is, even every minute, every second. And more importantly is how we must spend that precious time with those who are precious for us, that is family and friends. That is how you live with no regret. Because there will be time when you have to bid farewell with those you love. You will really miss them afterwards. That is why, spend your time wisely, spare enough time for those you love.

Icha had always been beside me ever since that time, August 2006. Yet, six years later, I failed her. I did not even sit by her side when she needed the most. I always talk about frinedship. Like I can talk about friendship, I failed to fulfill my duty as friend. I really wanted to apologize to Icha. But, I can no longer do that. So, what I can do is to fix my mistakes. I will spend more time with my family and friends. I will live a life that I will not regret.

The picture above is the last picture of the two of us. I put this picture on my profile picture on facebook and twitter in order to reminisce the memories about her. It stayed there for exactly one year after her death. Yeah, today marks the day I change the picture.

Then. Icha’s mom told us that Icha actually already got a scholarship to study abroad from the ministry she worked. It was decided that she would continue her study in Australia.  I felt relieve hearing that. Icha did not forget our dream. She was always right on track. She placed her milestone of our dream, like how I believed she would. Unfortunately, she was never be able to accomplish that.

At that moment I decided, that I will fight for her part, too. I will live her share of life, since we share the same dreams. I will study for her part, too. I will accomplish the dreams for her part, too. All of my milestones ahead of me now, are hers also. As it was never my dreams to begin with. It is our dreams. I will make sure that even though she is no longer present, but her spirit carries on. That is the least that I can do, to a friend who shares the same dream, to a friend that always by my side.

My friend, especially you who get the chance to study abroad, just like what she dreamed of. There are thousands or many more people like Icha who dreams the same thing but never get the chance to accomplish it. All we have to do is to study to the fullest, in order to honor those who cannot. Because, we are very lucky after all.

July 7th is a date I will not forget. Because that is the day I lost a very precious friend, a special one. That is the day I learned a lot about life, though I never hoped that I would learn it this way. Today is exactly one year after her death. I finally put some words here, lots of them, about Icha. I hope that I can finally look forward from now on.

Finally, I will close this by saying something that is a long lost trademark of Icha. When texting, posting on someone’s wall, or any written activities that Icha do to anybody, she would put her trademark which consists of her name and the recipient. A trademark that I always considered silly and “alay” back then (for those who don’t understand “alay”, google it). It is and expression of how Icha love everybody, as she put ‘ChaCykRoy’ means that Icha loves Roy. However, I no longer consider it silly or alay. Because, it was her trademark, then I believe it is beautiful.

Bagus Arya Wirapati


Exactly right now when I type this, I open her contact in Whatsapp messenger after months. All of my messages is still there. The top of the page shows “MarIcha, last seen 6:35 am, 7/7/2012”. I sent my last message. Then. I finally deleted the whole messages, I’m moving on. :) 


Fadila Primaria Dewi said...

Makasih kak Roy udh berbagi cerita ttg Mb Icha yg bahkan baru aku ktahui smpai sekarang..
Mb Icha pasti seneng bgt disana krn baca tulisan ini and having such a good friend like kak Roy. sukses selalu kak:)