You Are

In my other lives, it did not take me 24 years to find you.

One version of me found you when we were little, matching scrapped knees and all. The blinding light of hospital emergency room beamed on your cheeky smile with hair drenched in blood. My na├»ve typhus-clouded mind mistook it for battle wound, something that you received after gunning down a couple of hideous monsters. And unlike the rest of insipid people in the room, you smiled back at me after I tentatively gave you a little wave. "In here because of fever," I said. "What about you? Were you fighting demons?" I asked.  "No," you replied "I am here because of me." I nodded as if my nine years old brain understood what you meant by that. Watching our exchanges, our adoptive uncles decided to let us keep in touch with each other—decidedly then was through mails and attended phone calls. This was our most innocent cute meet.

My other version met you in between rows of secondhand bookracks. At first, there was no sparks whatsoever since each of us was there strictly for school-related assignments. You were doing a school project with your friends, filming a short documentary about how the price of a book did not directly affect the cause of illiteracy in Indonesia since secondhand bookstores were not exactly flooded with people. On the other hand, I was there for a less intimidating school project—finding a certain old book that was no longer printed and sold in any bookstore chains. Amidst English literature and half-colored drawing books we met each other, each of us thinking the other worked at the store. We effusively apologized afterwards for making the mistake, but that was not before we helped each other on our projects. This sparked friendship and, much later on, courtship.

Another version of us meeting each other in the early days of our lives was through the wars that resided in both of our heads. A lot of self-hatred that accumulated throughout the years of our lives made us tear each other apart—ruined every predisposition that we thought we had about ourselves. We pulled apart anything and everything that made us who we were; every wicked, heinous, malignant part of us was burnt to ashes. We were half-villain and half-hero to our own mind. It took us meeting each other to disrupt that into something that was no longer a pair of abomination, but just a pair of human beings, trying to love one another completely and trying to fill in the emptiness that in which our own hatred used to reside.

A version of us got properly introduced to the other when we were abroad during a gathering for postgraduate Indonesian students. We always saw the other during the night bus ride home, but it never occurred to both of us that the other was fellow Indonesian. As it turned out, the reason why we always saw the other during late hours was because our night classes often lined up with each other and we lived a street apart. So we decided then and there to always come home together. It was not long until we came home to one another. This scenario introduced us to domesticity long before we understood what it was.

But none of these versions is as good as our own. We came into each other's lives at the right time that I think the Universe conspired with itself to match us together. In this version, my own, I have always wished to find someone (and even something) like you (and your love). You are my necessary kindness from the Universe. You are what it owed to me after eons of nothing but silence echoing in the void. You are specifically made for me, every last minutiae of you. All your atoms and mine was destined to collide and fuse together as if the exact moment life created you, it also designed me to complement you. In this Universe, I am blessed for having you in my life even after solely carrying my own heartache for two and half decades, even after shedding pints of my own blood after self-declared war on my own brain, even after unattended fancy dinners, even after discovering unsharable facts, and even after searching for the meaning of life by myself. This version of mine loves this version of you and could not even be more blessed to have you in my life—a fact which I am sure any other version agrees with that. You make sense of everything that this world brought upon me. You are essential, important, and crucial. You are how defined strength, bravery, and home.