The Wingless Angel

She was exhausted and slightly ill from a long yoga training. She slept the whole day, woke, got ready and rode her scooter to watch my silver screen debut, sat on hard cement floor and stayed until the movie finished. She apologized for coming just in time for the movie and not before to accompany me. She offered to take my backpack when I was called to the front. She sat in the same spot watching me and following the whole discussion even though she barely speaks Indonesian.

She waited until I finished talking with everyone. She asked if I was hungry and drove me to a restaurant. The restaurant was almost closed so she held my helmet while I ran down the street to find some food. I ate my food, bumped into some friends and chatted some more. She waited until we’re done talking. She drove me to the place where I parked my scooter, then she went home. She checked if I got home safe.

That wasn’t the first time she went the extra mile to be there for me. Cheering me all the way, supporting me, reminding me that I am loved. She uses the words ‘brilliant’, ‘amazing’, ‘beautiful’ more than I can remember. Because sometimes it’s hard for me to love myself.

When you have friends like that, keep them. Keep them in your heart and soul and never let them go. You don’t call them besties or sisters. They are wingless angels sent from above because Someone up there knows how difficult it could get sometimes.

They are here to remind us that we are loved. Massively.


The Old Man’s Love

“It’s been more than 10 years since your mother passed away. 11 years in just few months. Time flies.”

I nodded, even though he could not see me. Skype isn’t really our thing.

“Do you have a boyfriend? You aren’t so young anymore.”
“I’m taking it easy.”
“Don’t you need someone to take care of you?”
“I can take care of myself, Pap. And I’d rather be happy—you know what I mean.”

Silence hung in the air. But it wasn’t an awkward one. I knew he understands me.

“How about you? Got a girlfriend?”
“Why? You think I got one?”
I shrugged. “Perhaps. You need someone to take care of you, I guess.”

And he knew I could get a little saucy.

“You know the idiom, don’t buy a pig in a poke?”
“You don’t be with someone because he is handsome, rich, or because he can take care of you. You should be together because he is the best person for you, the best you could ever have, and vice versa. Because he loves you like no one else can.”

And no one can love me like your mother. She’s hard to beat, that woman.

I have been hearing him saying it over and over again the past 11 years and it still brought tears to my eyes.

She loved me unconditionally. That’s the word… unconditionally. She understood me. She chose to be with me when nobody else would—not even my own family. A woman like that is hard to find.

“And a man like you isn’t exactly easy to find, Pap.”

He isn’t my real father, even though he’s more real to me than anyone else has ever been. He was in love with my mother since forever and loved her enough to let her go, to see her married another guy. He loved my mother so much that he took her back and patiently attended to her while she recovered from the wounds and damages my abusive father afflicted. He was the last and the only person by her side when cancer took my mother away. Divorce was a huge deal back then. Marrying a widow with two kids was even a bigger deal, especially since he was raised in a prominent family. It meant being a cast-out, a black sheep that brings shame and disgrace to the whole clan. My grandfather disowned him shortly after he took my mother in.

The marriage, or should I say, the signing of papers was far from glamorous. It was done in the small town hall. Nobody heard them exchanged wedding vow, yet they stuck together through thick and thin for as long as I knew. Without so much of a celebration or glorious declaration of never-ending love, they were an example of “till death do us part”.

My mother taught me to stand for myself, to be strong and courageous. My stepfather taught me to love unconditionally and persistently. He taught me that love heals and it stays, even long after the person is gone.

“I love you.”

He rarely says it, though. If you were raised in a conservative Chinese family you’d know what I mean. Exchange of words isn’t our best quality. But it’s there.

“Love you too, Pap.”

We meant it. We both knew we did.


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The Day I Lit a Candle

I used to love candles. Among my favorites were lavender and vanilla that smelled so good and strong it only took one to perfume my entire flat. Good quality candles were expensive though, so I settled for cheaper ones (and I mean MUCH cheaper). I would buy them in bulks and stack them in a shelf so they were always readily available.

I used to love candles so much I had nearly every color, shape and scent you could think of. Until that afternoon when I woke up abruptly from a nap, feeling nauseous with enormous headache. I had forgotten to put out the candle and it burned in the air-conditioned room for hours. I stood up to realize that my sight was slightly blurry. I felt suffocated and my room was filled with a very strong smell (I think it was vanilla) I could almost taste it. I ran to the sink trying to ignore the limping feeling on my legs. I’m still not quite sure of what happened during my nap, but my relationship with beautiful candles ended that day.

It had been two, three years since I lit my last candle. One night, I brought someone back to my place and he asked if I had candles. It was raining cats and dogs and I thought it had something to do with blackouts that happened every now and then, so I answered, no, I did not have candles, but I got a pretty good flashlight.

“Not even one?”
“You don’t like candles?”
“How come?”

Months later, I paid him a visit. Sure enough, there were candles everywhere. In the bathroom. Bedroom. Living room. Even balcony. He lit a thick, blue candle on my bedside and I stared at the flame wondering if I would get suffocated during my sleep, because he liked candles so much and asking to put it out would be too rude.

He put it out before we slept. And did it again the next evening, and many times after. I felt slightly uncomfortable, but the feeling quickly dissipated when I realized how soothing and calming the candles actually were. I even used them to warm my hands during the chilling winter.

Long before my stay ended I made peace with all of them, and not only that. My fondness of candles slowly returned. Another friend gave me a lemongrass candle the size of my palm and made sure I went home with it. That night, I unwrapped the candle and lit it carefully. I turned off all lights and sat in my bed admiring the steady flame and basking in fresh scents of lemongrass and citrus. I felt serene and peaceful. Candles offer a gentle reminder: no matter how solid the darkness, light will always make a way. Light doesn’t need force. It pierces through effortlessly. All it does is be, and darkness would never be able to defeat it. Two days later, I went to a supermarket and bought candles in bulks.

My candles have taught me a precious lesson: to not throw away something good just because it fails once, twice, even more. Granted, sometimes things just don’t work out and there’s nothing we can do about it. Sometimes it hurts so bad that we could not even think of giving such thing another shot. But we also know it’s there. Deep down we know. It always is. Something that we love. Waiting for us to give it another chance. To try one more time. And always one more time.

Because it’s worth it.


“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” – Maya Angelou

The Enemy

We are our own greatest enemy.

And so we beat ourselves up

We judge ourselves until we bleed

We compare ourselves to others

Each day and night, every single time

We are so hard on ourselves

Because we are, indeed, our greatest enemy.

But even God says, “Love your enemy.”


Hell Yeah

Loving my life to the bits. It’s been a grand journey with amazing people along the way. Some stayed for minutes. Some will stay for life. And probably many other lives.

Can’t get enough of mind-blowing convos, senseless discussions, compliments from almost-strangers, silly random lines, unreasonable jokes, tons of fun, flirt and wit.

I’m an addict and proud of it.

2014, bring it on.