When the sun doesn’t set right

The sun was setting down in the sky. Within a few minutes the moon would come up, exchanging jobs with its eternal partner. For how many years one can’t remember, the sun and the moon have been the source of life for billions of people. They have been very faithful for human beings.

For most of us, though, their loyalty doesn’t interest us. Their constant devotion matters so little in exchange of fortune and fame. We are too busy to notice should the sun doesn’t rise exactly at 6 in the morning or if the moon hides behind the cloud. For Indra, his belief is the exact opposite. There’s no such thing as ‘busy’ when it comes to sunset hunting.

After his old friend, Sandro, got married last month, Indra was the only singleton in his group of five. He had been told for hundred of times to seek for a lifetime friend to grow old with by his peers. All advice that fell deaf to his ears.

“Sunsets are sexier than women. Even the winner of Miss Universe title,” he said.

“You fool! One day you will realize your mistake and that will be too late,” another pal replied. And Indra just smiled. He knew it would be futile to explain his choice.

“I wish I could marry sunsets. For not only they are beautiful, they, too, are punctual.”

Sunsets have driven him exploring Indonesian beaches. Every time he gets extra days off, Indra sets out to the sea. “I chase after my curiosity,” he told his friends whenever he was asked.

His friends even call him the sunset expert, the one people will turn to whenever they need all information about sunsets. “Hunting sunsets is like playing a game of life. It’s a matter of luck. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t. But when they do, the time length is always similar. Brief but breathtaking,” Indra once said.

Like an addict Indra never gets enough of sunsets. The more they are hard to view the more eager he becomes. Oddly enough, sunsets in the Putri island is one of the few ones he wishes to enjoy.

Indra didn’t want to visit the island because he knew Kepulauan Seribu that includes the Putri island had been too ugly. Trash has made Kepulauan Seribu unappealing for him. He had held this belief until a week ago when he was missing sunsets so much but with short holiday he had no option than going to Kepulauan Seribu.

What used to be so unattractive to him now turned out to be adventurous. So he packed his bag then sailed to the Putri island.

Like a long-distance lover en route to meet a partner, Indra was nervous and excited at the same time. So he had been spending one hour to embrace the moment. His heart leaped when the sun was blushing among grey sky. He held his breath when it was fully blooming, almost forgot to catch its ravishing view through camera lens.

He was standing in awe watching the sunset greeting him by far. Fifteen minutes went like a blink of an eye. The sky was covering it little by little until it was gone.

“Oh baby, I will come back tomorrow,” he said to himself after that.

Sunday morning would promise me another mesmerizing experience, so he thought. But when he woke up the cloud made him staying at his bed a bit longer. “The sun didn’t show up this morning,” he said to himself. He somehow pulled out white blanket that was covering his body throughout the night. He was surprised he felt so chill.

“Don’t worry, mister. I believe the sun will come up this afternoon. It’s often like this, cloudy in the morning but burning bright in the afternoon,” said an inn servant who was bringing him a tray of fried rice, eggs, fruits and mineral water.

Being a lone wanderer in the island since he came upon by himself was something extraordinary for he was always with his pals. His solo adventure was now forcing him figuring out how to enjoy spare time while waiting his lover welcoming him in a few hours to come.

So he was exploring the little island. His camera that was clinging on his left hand and a mineral water on his right hand were all that he needed to make him less alone.

Unlike most islands within Kepulauan Seribu, the Putri island is still blessed with white sand and pristine water. You can barely see any wide space left empty for trees keep it from the excessive ray of sunlight. Birds tweet here and there. Stone-made trails lay out to help inhabitants walking, especially after rain pours it down heavily.

About four hours from the Muara Angke port, not many travelers put the island in their desired place. Not only it is too far, the cost of an inn’s room is also pricey. “But the view is so worth it,” Indra thought just he stepped down from the boat upon the island.

He decided to encircle the island on foot, rejecting the inn’s offer of doing it by bicycle. He was sure he was fit to do that all for he got enough sleep the night before. “I believe I can do this all alone,” he said.

He captured moments through the lens of his camera but not too many. He was gazing at the blue sea that was meeting his eyes wherever he walked. He let the strong wind hit his V-shaped face. He inhaled the fresh air then exhaled it slowly. For countless times he let himself just be in the moments he was in.

Two hours was all that he took to ensure all parts of this island were being seen. Here came the last part of his habit whenever coming to beaches: playing with the water and the sand. He was heading to the island’s sea part that was close to the inn he was staying at.

Little did he know someone had the same idea with him. From a far, he was noticing a woman in black was already doing what he wished to do. She was wearing a blue headscarf. Long black trousers and a red backpack bag. She left her camera and green sandal at the edge of it.

Her head was looking down the clear water while her feet were playing with the sand. Sometimes she was picking up a handful of water then releasing it all. She was smiling all the way unknowingly someone was watching over her from behind.

Ten minutes passed. The stranger was still immersed on her activities submerging her feet on the water and Indra didn’t move any inches at all. The woman started withdrawing from the water when the tide was coming toward the bank. It went up and up that it reached the woman’s thigh. Indra, too, realized he should leave her before she knew it all. He walked away just when she was about to turn her head.

She was relieved that the camera and the sandal were still there. Then she was heading back to the inn, completely clueless she was just being observed.

Indra reached the inn with head full of thoughts about he just saw. He hardly saw her face yet the way she was enjoying herself in the beach astonished him. One hour went away without him doing anything much. He kept lying on his bed while watching his mind processing things about the experience. Until a knock at his door woke him up.

The servant was standing in front of the door bringing lunch consisted of rice, vegetables, meat and fruits. Two bottle of mineral water were in the tray, too.

“Sir, is there any women residing in this place, too? She is alone I believe,” Indra asked the servant.

“Hmm.. I saw a short, nice woman checking in yesterday, mister. May be that is the one you are talking about. But I don’t serve her, my fellow does,” the servant said.

“Well, then. Thank you, sir,” Indra said.

After eating all the meal Indra decided to sleep. He was surprised he got tired after walking around the little island. It must have been because of the very fine weather that caused his eyes to feel sleepy.

At 4.30 pm he was ready to leave the hospice again. Just him and the camera that were going to accompany him watching the sunset. It must be more dazzling than yesterday’s,” he expected.

He walked to the spot where he had been spending waiting for the sunset to appear. When he went there a woman was already busy preparing for her camera. She was setting the lens, adjusting the focus when Indra came. Without any more thoughts, Indra believed this was the same person whom he had seen in the beach before. The bag and the headscarf were the same.

While he were able to flee when they were in the beach, Indra couldn’t and didn’t want to take the risks as this was the best point to look at the sunset. He had no choice than being there despite his wishes of viewing the sunset on his own.

He was sitting in a rock nearby the one the woman was at. He didn’t dare to take a look at her face though he was eager doing so. He was attempting to start absorbing the view laying in front of him. It took some moments for his mind and heart to fully impregnate the sky because his heart was beginning to leap, this time around it was because of the woman, not the sunset.

As Indra was working on putting his overall mind into the landscape, the woman completed the arrangement. All was set and now I am ready to snap, she said. When she snapped a few pictures she then realized she was not alone.

She saw a man was also heading to the same object as she was. She was gazing Indra’s face. She stopped taking pictures for a while then extending her hand to him.

“Hi, Amalia. What’s your name? I bet you come from Jakarta,” she said.

A little shocked, Indra was welcoming Amalia’s hand.

“Indra. Yes, I am from Jakarta. Are you here alone?” he asked.

“Yes. I always travel alone. I love doing it solo. And you?”

“This time I go on my own. Why always solo?,” Indra asked again.

“I don’t know. I just love it.”

They ceased conversing as their eyes were spotting the sun began emerging with its red  beam was radiating, reddening the space.

Both Amalia and Indra were quiet, savoring the opening show while anticipating more and more to come.

But no more than that. The sun was shyly burrowing among the clouds. The watchers kept waiting and waiting only to realize none was left to be seen. For about 20 minutes the sun didn’t show more of its body. It was instead sinking itself between the clouds. The sky was changing into dark, its red color was gone.

“Oh my.. I spent Rp5 million and now this was all that I’ve got?,” Amalia said.

“Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t mind at all because I met you here. This was worth all the chase.”

They then left the point for having dinner. Together.



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