I lost my books. A flood washed away 95% of my collections.
It was Thursday last week when the flood hit the house. Rain had been pouring the whole night-before, and by morning I could see the water level in the river had risen significantly. It wasn’t that the flood came suddenly. I and my housemates managed to do some preparations: lifting up everything to a higher place in the house, which is not that high and not that many. However the water level was too high and it reached every high place we thought it wouldn’t reach. It was predicted to be knee-high, it turned out to be chest-high.
“The biggest flood since we’ve been here!” said our neighbor.
We took our shelter in the next house which had a higher ground. I had with me my laptop, mukenah, and nothing much more. I didn’t get my cellphone nor wallet. Water continued rising up and up and up. I got nervous and started a let-it-go coping mechanism. My neighbor, taking a glance at our house’s condition, warned me that water had reached the cardboard boxes where I kept my books.
I could hear my mind’s panic-yet-try-to-keep-calm uttering, let it go.
By then some useless thought passed my head. Ah, I should’ve put the books higher, or do this, or that. If I had arranged it better the books could’ve been saved. Ah. But the water kept rising up and up and up so mercilessly that it eventually almost sank the house. Looking at the water level, I knew nothing would be saved. This made the coping process easier, like, Kay, I lost everything. Can’t be helped anyway, I did everything that I could. I tried to remain calm, closed my eyes, recited dzikir, and just waited for the water to be drained.
How about university certificate? Plus score transcript?
Actually I had forgotten those papers, didn’t even know in which box I put it. Those things don’t really have a significant place they deserve in my mind. But, you see, my brother had lost his high school certificate (his latest education level) and that had made my mom very sad slash angry. So I was rather worried about how I would tell my mom about it. It’s one frightening episode to imagine..
Around afternoon, when the water was finally drained, I and housemates went checking the house. The mud was thick. I saw books lying around, covered in mud. Quite a heart throbbing scene. I located my wallet, grabbed some hanged clothes (that made them unreached by the water), and went to my brother’s house nearby. His place was also flooded but not that bad.
Long story short, words were spread that later at night a second flood would come. A bigger one. Thus we were going to take refuge in another house, further away from the affected area. I got back to the house to grab anything I could save from the second wave. After some minutes scraping, I miraculously managed to find my cellphone and certificate.
My cellphone was inside a bag happened to be hanged up high, so it wasn’t hit by the water. My certificate was inside the only unbroken cardboard box. The flood had washed the box into the yard, but its lids were still neatly closed so things inside didn’t get all muddy. My certificate and score transcript was slightly wet but most importantly still intact. Yokatta.
The second flood did came, though not as big as the first one.
You know, I lost many things in life–most frequently cellphones. Okay, I know maybe it’s not a significant loss. But talking about loss and sadness + disappointment that trail with it is still not easy for me. First off, I have to face myself and calm her down. Similar to a heart break, I’m worried that discussing loss will only remind me of the pain. Yet I’m also worried that blocking the channel will build up a tremendous unbearable feeling. It’s also hard to remain serene whatever others say.
When appearing to be perfectly calm, some will be disturbed and say, “Aren’t you sad? Oh, you must be used already with this kind of things. Oh, you must have a good prosperous life you could re-buy anything you lost. *shrug off*”
When appearing to be sad, some will say, “Your situation is actually much better than the majority of people in the world. You should be grateful that it’s only [something] that you lost. Don’t act like a crybaby.”
Some are brilliant detectives who quick to find who’s at fault–me, of course–by saying, “How could that happen? Did you keep everything safe? I know you must not, you’re a messy girl. I’ve told you like millions times that you should xx yy zz. You never change.”
Some other are very well prepared to take the role of a wise teacher and deliver a sermon, “This is God’s warning. You have to evaluate yourself, muhasabah. Maybe you don’t give enough charity. Maybe you’ve been neglecting your religious duty.”
I well realize that those words are, to some extent, true. The problem is just within myself. I long to be consoled so I want to tell my feelings, but I’m afraid people will just see me as spoiled. Even if they do empathize, I’m afraid that I’d be weaker and become too dependent. I find myself trapped between the wish to rely and the wish to be capable.
So, back to the after-flood. It took me some time before deciding that I need to tell a friend. I started indirectly and built from that. Luckily I got a proper response. I felt that the friend was being sincerely empathic in just the right amount without exaggeration. So I was encouraged and my heart got lighter. Now I have the gut to openly discuss my loss in this post. Thank you, friend.
To conclude the story, I want to say that I’m feeling fine. Losing things makes me realize that I’m okay without them. In fact I can’t really call it a ‘loss’ because, ya, I started life with nothing at hand. Books nevertheless had been the major source of my pride and happiness, but those earthly things don’t define me. Few days ago I scraped the hill of all muddy-torny books. Karlsson’s words kept echoing in my head, “Aah itu kan hanya barang duniawi.” I did a quick assessment to keep some that could be saved–just a little few. As I threw the rest away, I bid them farewell.
Thank you for coming to my world, letting me read you, and serving my hoard all this time. I’m grateful for everything we’ve been through. :)
For those of you who gave me those books, I’m sorry that I couldn’t keep them safe. You know you can always give me new ones. Hehe. ;)
Hey. You only own things you can’t lose. Now, what can’t you lose? Think about it and set priority straight.
Be safe, folks!
Wow, this has become quite a long post. Thanks for keep reading.