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If Only

sesungguhnya realiti itu tidak indah;

     I cycled home through my usual route today. after three years of using the same road, you automatically make your turns without doubting a thing as the mind wanders to whether the 100 Yen shop is still open or if there's still time to defrost the chicken. I was about to reach home when out of the corner of my eye I noticed something out of place. The roads and lights were right, but there was something missing. What used to be the bright orange hair salon with graffiti decorations was now a naked building. The signs were removed, even the pale yellow Volkswagen beetle  that used to sit in front of it was no where in sight. How sad I thought to myself. This was the third shop that has closed down.
     There used to be a bakery just across the bicycle shop. Risa and I would always stop by and get some buns  for tea from the old man who owned the shop. He made his own little stamp cards for loyal customers to get a discount. My favorite would be his apple pies and custard filled bread sticks. He always spoke kindly to me. Even though he only asked the same thing each time, it was always amusing talking to him. "You are in your first year? Well good luck!" "Second year? Your Japanese is very good!" "So how do you like Japan after three years?"
     I was planning to go back there, just before I graduated. I wanted to tell him that I was finally going back, and I was going to become a teacher like I had said before. Maybe visit him whenever I return. I stopped going to his shop after Risa went to New Zealand, but I still pass by it all the time, everyday, and kept the promise to say goodbye.

and then one day it was just gone.

just like this hair salon. A FOR SALE sign stood at the sliding glass door. Instead of hot buns the windows were barred, and blinds pulled all the way down. The veranda of the small apartment that he used to live in above the shop was also empty.

I always assume that the shop was always going to be there. Just as easily how we assume people are always going to be there. We delay, and we forget. We say maybe tomorrow, but never today. When it disappears there is only regret, and wishing that I had just walked in the day before to say hello again. I still have the last stamp card he gave to me, September 17. 

For now, I can just look at all these buildings changing, while I cycle on home, unchanged. Hoping that maybe when I come back here someday, a few of the places that I still love will still be around, so I can reminisce and just remember the good times. 

I don't know if he moved to a bigger shop. or maybe to another prefecture. Maybe got a chance to open a shop Tokyo? Maybe I could find him there. Maybe, and say hello again.

If only i had asked his name.     


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1992; Part time writer, full time dreamer. A person who writes for comfort and is learning how to become a kungfu master

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Dilema Sekuntum Bunga


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