It was a sunny noon when I was walking back to my apartment from the shopping mall across the street. I was held back by the side of the zebra crossing by vehicles that wouldn’t stop. It was a mild traffic, but cars and motorbikes rushed just because it was a one-way street. Having been through a sore mood since the day before due to a battle of principles in my head, I was too tired to be angry at the inconsiderate drivers who didn’t seem to know or care what a zebra crossing was for. So I just stood, waiting helplessly until there was long enough gap in the traffic to let me walk and cross the street normally.
The chance finally came. The next cars were at least 20 meters away from me, and I crossed the street. It felt like a small victory for traffic scaredy like me. Suddenly, when I reached the sidewalk on the other side, I felt the breeze. The wind, the blue sky, the mild traffic, walking on a sidewalk, all took me back to the feeling I probably haven’t had since 23 years ago. I was in a Summer holiday. School had been out for a few weeks, I had nothing much to do other than biking around the apartment complex or taking a walk to the nearest Taco Bell to get my favorite burrito. It was a fine Summer day in East Lansing, Michigan. A small town where I spent 2 years and 9 months living with Mom who was studying hard, while having to put up with teenage me, to get her PhD.
Looking back, I think I was a confused and lonely teenager with angst, which usually means annoying and rather difficult. I daydreamed a lot, I spent a lot of time in my room making things from scraps if I wasn’t singing to the rock songs played loudly from my boom box. I worshipped MTV. I dreamed of becoming a music video director, which later lead me to enroll in art school, and I thought almost everyone especially adults were phony. I had a huge crush on Holden Caulfield. Being mildly popular in school back in junior high in Bandar Lampung before I moved to East Lansing, it was, I guess, sort of a shock to me that I didn’t have many friends there. ‘Thanks’ to language barrier and being shy.
The trees in the park, the breeze to which the leaves were dancing, the sidewalks where I felt the wind while riding my bike, and the green grass were my Summer friends. Once in a while I’d play with a few human friends, visit each other’s flat or biking somewhere together. But from what I recall, it was mostly just me and the breeze. Just like this noon, when I was walking back to my apartment.