Edelweiss Mourns in Ciputat

Yusi Avianto Pareanom

Translated by the author & David Colmer

Sunday, 10-10-10. There were people who chose to get married or give birth on this binary date, but it was also the day Aya’s body was discovered in ten pieces in four large black garbage bags dumped on the median strip of the main road outside Ciputat Market, South Tangerang. For three days, the bags had been ignored as just more garbage.


Edelweiss heard the shocking news ten hours later in her house in Nitiprayan, Jogjakarta. She was having dinner after a day spent painting in the studio, watching TV while she ate and flipping through the channels with her left hand, which still smelled of oil paint. A news flash on one of the stations gave Aya’s full name and Edelweiss put the remote control down on the table.

The reporter said that a suspect had already been identified: a housewife related to Aya who also lived in the area. Three days before, Aya had tried to collect the money her relative owed her, an amount of ten million rupiah. According to the suspect, Aya got angry when she asked for an extension and attacked her; she herself had only fended her off as a defensive reflex. Aya fell and hit her head on a marble table in the living room. The suspect cut Aya up in the bathroom, hid the body parts in the kitchen, then waited until midnight, when her husband and children had fallen asleep, before making two trips to the market by motorcycle to deposit Aya’s body parts on the median strip. She was counting on the garbage bags being carted off in a garbage truck early the next morning.

In a daze, Edelweiss followed the news while spooning food into her mouth, but stopped chewing as the story continued. When it finished she inadvertently swallowed the half-chewed beef rendang and started to gag. Quickly she tried to wash it down with tea, then ran to the bathroom and vomited.

Still weak, she came back out again. Her first thought was, why hadn’t Pandan contacted her yet? Pandan was Aya’s husband. Five years ago, he was still Edelweiss’s husband.

“He hasn’t come home from the police station yet,” Pandan’s maid explained. “He said they’re questioning him,” She also told Edelweiss that Pandan had reported Aya missing the day before yesterday, but the police had told him to wait.

Edelweiss went out to the front yard, lit a cigarette and smoked it quickly. She lit another and finished it too before going back into the house. She began to wonder if Danae had heard the news. Danae was Edelweiss and Pandan’s only child and just nine years old. The two of them, Edelweiss and Danae, lived alone in the big house.

Edelweiss knocked on her daughter’s bedroom door and waited for an answer before going in. Danae was working on a math assignment. Edelweiss rubbed the back of her daughter’s head and scanned the questions, which looked too difficult for fourth grade. Her daughter didn’t seem to know yet. Like Edelweiss, Danae was not fond of watching television.

“I have to go to Jakarta to see your father.”

Danae’s face lit up instantly. “I’m coming too. I miss Zulaika.”

Edelweiss shook her head. Then, carefully, she delivered the sad news without mentioning anything about a murder, let alone mutilation. Danae cried.


Edelweiss tried to get on the first flight to Jakarta, but there were no seats available until ten. Although Danae still insisted on coming, Edelweiss refused and dropped her off at her cousin’s in Jalan Kaliurang instead.

On the plane, one of the memories of Aya that came back to Edelweiss most strongly was of their last meeting at the house in Ciputat. She had come to pick up Danae, who had spent the Eid holiday there, but was reluctant to go inside the house she had once lived in. As usual though, Danae was so unwilling to be separated from Zulaika she had to be cajoled into leaving. Danae's eighteen-month-old half-sister was absolutely adorable. Only pride prevented Edelweiss from hugging or kissing the little girl.

“Danae, you’ll remember the lesson Mama Aya taught you, won’t you?” Aya asked when they were saying their goodbyes.

Danae nodded. Edelweiss was curious. “What lesson?”

“Oh, just a story about how we should follow the example of the prophets,” Aya said.

Edelweiss shrugged and said goodbye with a false smile.

In the taxi to the airport, Danae told Edelweiss, “Mama Aya said statues are like idols and you have to destroy them. That’s what the Prophet Ibrahim did.”

“So… do you think the statues I make are idols?”

“Of course not, we don’t worship them. Don’t be silly.”

Danae’s answer was reassuring. For a moment, Edelweiss wanted to ask the taxi driver to turn around and go back to Ciputat; Aya had dared to attack her and had tried to manipulate Danae. But Danae had school the next day and she had an appointment too, with a tobacco dealer from Temanggung who wanted to buy one of her paintings from the early 2000s.

Still, Edelweiss couldn’t just let the incident go. At the airport, she called Pandan. As she’d expected, her former husband started by asking her to be understanding, like local government officials who never have any other answer when people ask why floods can’t be prevented. He then defended his new wife. Pandan said that Aya’s intentions weren’t bad; they were actually noble, because she was trying to strengthen Danae’s faith.

Edelweiss, who was already upset, got even angrier when Pandan added that having the statues in her house in Jogja wasn’t good for Danae, and that he didn’t want her adopting her mother’s lifestyle. Not wanting her daughter to hear and unwilling to make a scene in the waiting area, Edelweiss said in a muffled voice that if Pandan did not take back his words she would not allow Danae to come to Ciputat ever again. Pandan was stunned and abruptly changed his tune, pleading for her to accept his apology.

Edelweiss’s anger soon faded into a sense of misery. She was deeply saddened. She used to adore Pandan: he was her sun, her best friend. Now it seemed like his best quality was being easily moved.

Another incident that left an impression on Edelweiss had happened six months earlier, also when she was picking up Danae. At the time, Edelweiss was still willing to sit on the veranda waiting for Danae to finish playing with her sister. It was then that she overheard Aya singing to Zulaika.

“Jewish, cursed by God. America, cursed by God...”

As Aya sang the chorus over and over, Edelweiss’s self-control crumbled.

“Why sing a song like that?”

“It’s a good song,” Aya replied.

“It’s pretty heavy.”

“Children should be taught who their enemies are from when they’re little.”

“Come on, why have enemies? And anyway, what do you mean, Jewish?”


“The people or the religion?”


“Including prophets like Isaac, David, Solomon, Moses, John, Jesus and all the rest?” Edelweiss said.

“You’re funny. They're Muslims.”

“Even if their religion is Islam, those people were still all Jewish, they still had Jewish blood.”

“If they’re Muslim, they can’t be Jewish.”

“Gosh. OK, so, you think all Jews are cursed?”


“God can’t be just then.”

“They're always against God. It’s no wonder they’re cursed, just like the Americans.”

Edelweiss knew she couldn’t win arguments with people like Aya, but that didn’t mean she was willing to let it go; especially with Aya saying it all in front of Danae. At the same time she was convinced that if she stayed another five minutes, she wouldn’t be able to stop herself from literally burning down the house. She quickly left.

If it weren’t for Danae’s constant whining for her sister, Edelweiss wouldn’t have taken her back to Ciputat at all. In any case, after the argument about Jews, she avoided talking to Aya for more than ten seconds at a time, just as Hemingway strove to avoid the use of adjectives and a good cook avoids using monosodium glutamate.

Edelweiss didn’t like Aya beforehand, but the statue incident made her pity and hate her at the same time. Sometimes she even caught herself imagining how good it would be to one day hear that Aya had been caught by cannibals and boiled slowly before being eaten.

When a memory of that wicked thought popped into her head during the flight that morning, Edelweiss felt sick to her stomach.


Although only forty-five minutes, the flight from Jogja to Jakarta allowed Edelweiss to summon up her memories of Aya and array them before her. The more she tried to recall good things about her, the more reasons for disliking her came to mind. And it wasn’t even because the woman, who was fifteen years her junior, had stolen Pandan away from her; he and Aya had married around three years ago, two years after he and Edelweiss had gotten divorced.

At first Edelweiss had thought that Aya’s behavior around her was a mixture of embarrassment and insecurity, with a bit of fawning added in. She was sure that Aya's attitude had nothing to do with her being one of Indonesia's leading contemporary artists, whose work was discussed and sought after by domestic and international collectors, but stemmed entirely from two simple facts: she was Pandan’s ex and, arguably, half-owner of the house in Ciputat. Although Pandan had inherited the original house, they had used Edelweiss’s money to buy the land to the right and left and put up new buildings. When she left, Edelweiss only took Danae and never mentioned the house.

Edelweiss thought Aya’s insecurity about her position would last forever, or at least long enough. She couldn’t know or expect that Aya would have the nerve to remove the works of art she had left in the house and pile them up in a storeroom.

Edelweiss didn’t want to make a fuss and blamed herself; immediately arranging to have those works sent to Jogja. But what really hurt was knowing that Pandan hadn’t even tried to prevent Aya from doing such a thing, whereas in the past he had been the most ardent supporter of her work and had always contributed to her ideas. The works of art she had left in Ciputat were very personal, ones she would never sell because she had made hem for Pandan, even if that was something she had never said in so many words.

While packing the works of art, Edelweiss wondered what had happened to the cheerful, funny Pandan she had once known. She remembered how they used to chat away all night about silly, frivolous things. Bruce Lee, for instance. Pandan showed her a ridiculous mistake at the end of the movie Game of Death. The scene starts at night with Bruce Lee going into his enemy’s pagoda, but suddenly changes to daytime when his character, clad in a black-and-yellow-striped costume, is battling the NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You see it when Bruce Lee punches a wall to let the sun shine in, dazzling his opponent. When he re-emerges from the pagoda, it’s night again.

“Maybe he fell asleep till night time,” Edelweiss said, amused.

“Cempluk, what do you think? If it was a real fight, who would win: the small dragon or the frizzy giant?” Pandan asked.

Cempluk, or pudgy, was Pandan’s nickname for Edelweiss.

“Seriously? I don’t know. What do you think?”

“I don’t know either. But what I do know is, of all the enemies in the Bruce Lee movies, the greatest is Chuck Norris. I'm sure if it was a real fight, Chuck Norris would win.”


“Don’t you know? There was a magician who could walk on water, but Chuck Norris can swim through dry land. He’s not just a champion, he has supernatural powers too. His tears are believed to cure cancer and other serious illnesses.”


“Yes, unfortunately Chuck Norris never cries.”

Edelweiss never laughed as hard as she laughed that night. She was sure then that she could live with Pandan for the rest of her life, whatever the circumstances. She didn’t know she was being far too optimistic.


A year before they divorced, Pandan’s father fell ill and died soon after. At the time, Pandan was working as a consultant for a company that was about to go public and he was so busy he was only able to go to Semarang to visit his father once.

After the death, Pandan was consumed by guilt; he began to neglect his work in the office and ended up resigning. He then joined an Islamic organization that took the same line as the one his late father had supported.

At first, Edelweiss didn’t mind. She understood Pandan’s deep sense of sorrow and thought that any consolation his new interest offered could only help. What she failed to anticipate was the organization’s fondness for prohibition. Communal recitation of Ya Sin, for instance, was not allowed. Whenever Edelweiss objected, Pandan argued that his organization’s decisions were invariably based on Holy Scripture.

They never had big fights in the sense of shouting at each other. No harsh words were said and no dishes were broken. Pandan didn’t ask Edelweiss to follow his lead either. But still the tension that surfaced every day was suffocating. Edelweiss felt like she was choking, as if she was losing the ability to distinguish colors. And she wasn’t a bus driver who only needed to recognize three colors: red, yellow and green. It was impossible for her to work at home, but at the same time, she had to prepare for a solo exhibition that was coming up fast in Singapore.

Their divorce was arranged quickly, but to the regret of many relatives and neighbors, who were also sad when Edelweiss left with Danae. After the divorce, Edelweiss brought Danae back to Ciputat to stay with her father once every few months. Not because Pandan didn’t want to come to Jogjakarta, but because she didn’t want him to. His single visit had already made her feel very uncomfortable.

During Danae’s stays in Ciputat, Edelweiss usually used her time in Jakarta to meet clients and friends, or treat herself to meals in her favorite places. At first, she made an effort to visit her old neighbors in Ciputat too, but their questions about the ownership of the house were so pointed, she preferred to avoid them as much as possible.

Also Edelweiss couldn’t stand being in Ciputat because she found it heartbreaking every time she saw Pandan. Her ex-husband was fine physically, but she could only see his behavior as weak. The mischievous glint was gone from his eyes. He didn’t call her Cempluk anymore either, but only Bunda Danae, Danae’s Mother. Seventeen suffering samurai, Edelweiss cursed when she first heard him address her like that.

So when Pandan said he was getting married to Aya, a kindergarten teacher, Edelweiss, despite feeling jealous, truly hoped that Pandan would recover his happiness. But her hope vanished when she found out that Aya worked in the organization’s kindergarten and the marriage had been arranged by the head of the organization.

As Pandan was unemployed at the time and living off his savings, Edelweiss suggested he build small houses to rent out on the quite extensive stretch of land to the left of the house. Pandan agreed. The number of small houses soon doubled and Pandan was able to generate a substantial income, the kind of income that allowed Aya to lend money to the relative who then cut her into ten pieces.


Aya was already buried by the time Edelweiss reached the house in Ciputat. Pandan had chosen to conduct the funeral immediately after the remains had been released from the hospital that morning. Edelweiss thought it a wise decision.

When she arrived, after two or three seconds of awkwardness, Edelweiss hugged Pandan. He cried on Edelweiss’s shoulder, maybe for a minute, but to Edelweiss it felt like hours. Some neighbors were crying too. Several members of the organization stared in silence and seemed to wonder. Edelweiss shook hands with Aya’s parents, but couldn’t get a single word out of her mouth.

People kept coming to pay their respects into the night. Some of Aya’s relatives looked awkward in the knowledge that both victim and perpetrator were members of their extended family. Edelweiss chose to stay in the backyard. She passed some time picking and eating custard apples from the tree she had once planted. There, for the first time she embraced, held, and kissed Zulaika, who was being looked after by her nanny.

The ceremony lasted until eight thirty. Edelweiss participated for a while, hoping that it would be somehow moving, but she was disappointed. The event was only monotonous.

Feeling exhausted, Edelweiss lay down for a moment in Danae’s room, the room which was only occupied when her daughter came to visit. When she woke up, she didn’t know how long she had been there. Pandan was sitting in a chair not far from the bed. His eyes looked tired, though his lips tried to smile. Edelweiss got up and hugged him; Pandan cried again. A few minutes later, driven by a strange emotion, they undressed and had sex. Edelweiss felt Pandan’s tears on her shoulder. Afterwards, Pandan fell asleep.

Edelweiss looked at her watch: one o’clock in the morning. She put on her clothes and washed her face. Her mind was not yet able to digest what had just happened. Consolation? She freshened herself up and left the room. There was no one around. She grabbed her bag and walked out of the house. In the front yard, she lit a cigarette, then headed out to the street to look for a taxi.


© Yusi Avianto Pareanom, by arrangement with the author.

Translation © Yusi Avianto Pareanom and David Colmer.


Yusi Avianto Pareanom


Minggu, 10-10-10. Beberapa orang memilih menikah atau melahirkan pada hari bertanggal biner itu. Aya ditemukan pada hari tersebut dengan tubuh terpotong sepuluh dalam empat kantong plastik hitam besar yang ditaruh di pembatas jalur di jalan raya depan Pasar Ciputat, Tangerang Selatan. Selama tiga hari, kantong- kantong ini sempat dikelirukan sebagai sampah yang banyak bertumpuk di sana.


Edelweiss mendengar kabar mengejutkan itu sepuluh jam kemudian di rumahnya di Nitiprayan, Jogjakarta. Ia sedang istirahat makan malam setelah seharian melukis di studio. Ia makan sambil iseng menonton televisi, tangan kirinya yang masih berbau minyak cat memindah-mindahkan saluran. Breaking news di sebuah stasiun menyebutkan nama lengkap Aya, dan Edelweiss meletakkan remote control di meja.

Berita itu menyebutkan bahwa tersangka sudah tercokok, seorang ibu rumah tangga yang masih kerabat Aya dan tinggal di kawasan Ciputat juga. Pagi tiga hari yang lalu Aya menagih uang yang dipinjam kerabatnya itu, jumlahnya 10 juta. Menurut pengakuan tersangka, ketika ia minta tempo lagi, Aya marah dan menyerangnya sehingga ia refleks membela diri. Aya kemudian terdorong jatuh, kepalanya menghantam meja marmer di ruang tamu. Tersangka memotong-motong tubuh Aya di kamar mandi dan menyembunyikan hasilnya di dapur. Ia menunggu sampai tengah malam sampai anak-anak dan suaminya tidur lalu dua kali bersepeda motor menaruh potongan tubuh Aya di depan pasar. Ia berharap kantong-kantong itu langsung terangkut truk sampah keesokan paginya.

Edelweiss tanpa sadar mengikuti awal berita ini dengan masih menyendokkan makanan ke mulutnya. Tapi, begitu narasi berjalan, ia berhenti mengunyah. Ketika berita selesai, rendang yang belum betul-betul lumat di mulutnya malah meluncur ke tenggorokannya tanpa ia maui. Ia cepat-cepat mendorongnya dengan teh tawar untuk kemudian lari memuntahkan semuanya di kamar mandi.

Masih lemas, ia keluar kamar mandi. Pikiran pertamanya setelah itu adalah mengapa Pandan tak langsung menghubunginya. Pandan adalah suami Aya. Lima tahun yang lalu, laki-laki itu masih suami Edelweiss.

“Bapak dari tadi siang belum pulang dari kantor polisi, Bu. Diperiksa, katanya,” kata pembantu rumah Pandan. Pembantu itu juga bilang bahwa Pandan pada kemarin lusa sudah melaporkan hilangnya Aya ke polisi. Tapi, saat itu Pandan disuruh menunggu.

Edelweiss keluar ke halaman depan, menyalakan sebatang rokok dan mengisapnya dengan cepat. Ia menyalakan sebatang lagi sampai habis sebelum masuk rumah. Ia mulai menduga-duga sekiranya Danae sudah mendengar berita tersebut. Danae adalah anak tunggal Edelweiss dan Pandan, usianya sembilan tahun. Edelweiss dan Danae tinggal berdua saja di rumah mereka yang besar.

Edelweiss mengetuk pintu kamar anaknya dan masuk setelah anaknya menyahut. Danae sedang mengerjakan tugas matematika. Ia mengusap kepala anaknya dan dari belakang sekilas membaca soal-soal yang ia rasa terlalu rumit untuk anak kelas empat SD. Dari sikap Danae, Edelweiss yakin anaknya belum tahu. Seperti dirinya, anaknya tak begitu gemar menonton televisi.

“Ibu mesti ke Jakarta, ketemu ayahmu.”Wajah Danae langsung gembira. “Ikut, kangen adik.” Edelweiss menggeleng. Dengan amat berhati-hati ia menyampaikan kabar duka itu tanpa menyinggung sama sekali tentang pembunuhan, apalagi mutilasi. Danae menangis.


Edelweiss mencari tiket pesawat paling pagi ke Jakarta. Tapi, ia baru bisa mendapatkan penerbangan pukul sepuluh. Danae sebetulnya berkeras ikut, Edelweiss melarang dan memilih menitipkan Danae ke rumah kakak sepupunya di Jalan Kaliurang.

Di atas pesawat, ingatan tentang Aya yang paling kuat menyerbu Edelweiss adalah pertemuan terakhir mereka di rumah Ciputat. Saat itu ia menjemput Danae yang berlibur Lebaran di sana. Ia sebetulnya malas jika harus masuk ke rumah yang dulu pernah ia tempati, tapi seperti biasa Danae harus benar-benar ditarik karena anak itu sangat tak rela berpisah dengan Zulaika. Adik tiri Danae yang baru berumur satu setengah tahun itu lucu dan benar-benar menggemaskan. Gengsi belaka yang mencegah Edelweiss ikut memeluk atau mencium-cium anak itu.

“Kak Danae, masih ingat pesan Mama Aya, kan?” tanya Aya kepada Danae ketika mereka berpamitan.

Danae mengangguk. Edelweiss penasaran. “Pesan apa, memangnya?”

“Sekadar cerita kok, Kak, bagaimana kita meneladani perilaku nabi-nabi,” kata Aya.

Edelweiss mengangkat bahu dan pamit dengan senyum basa- basi.

Di dalam taksi yang mengantar mereka ke bandara, Danae buka mulut. “Mama Aya bilang patung itu sama saja dengan berhala, jadi mestinya dihancurkan. Nabi Ibrahim melakukannya.”

“Menurutmu, patung yang Ibu buat itu berhala?”

“Enggaklah, kan tidak disembah-sembah. Ibu aneh tanyanya.” Jawaban anaknya menenangkan Edelweiss. Sesaat tadi, kepingin betul ia meminta sopir taksi memutar haluan kembali ke Ciputat. Aya sudah berani menyerangnya, mencoba memanipulasi Danae pula. Tapi, keesokan harinya Danae mesti bersekolah dan ia juga punya janji ketemu dengan seorang juragan tembakau asal Temanggung yang ingin membeli karya lukisnya periode 2000-an awal.

Namun, tak mungkin Edelweiss membiarkan insiden itu begitu saja. Di bandara, ia menelepon Pandan. Seperti yang sudah ia duga, bekas suaminya itu pertama-tama meminta pemakluman—persis seperti pegawai pemerintah daerah yang tak punya jawaban lain saat ditanya mengapa banjir tak kunjung bisa dicegah—kemudian membela istri barunya itu mati-matian. Kata Pandan, Aya tak punya maksud buruk, mulia malah, karena ingin mempertebal iman Danae.

Edelweiss yang sudah gusar semakin marah ketika Pandan kemudian menyebut bahwa kehadiran patung-patung di rumah Jogja memang kurang baik bagi anak mereka, dan sebaiknya Danae tak diajak ikut gaya hidup ibunya. Dengan suara tertahan karena tak ingin didengar anaknya dan membuat drama di ruang tunggu, Edelweiss bilang bahwa jika Pandan tak menarik kata-katanya ia tak akan sudi mengizinkan Danae datang lagi ke Ciputat. Pandan kaget dan nada suaranya mulai berubah. Laki-laki itu lalu minta maaf mengiba-iba.

Kemarahan Edelweiss dengan cepat berubah menjadi rasa nelangsa. Ia betul-betul sedih. Dahulu, lelaki itu sangat dipujanya, mataharinya, teman terbaiknya. Sekarang, sepertinya kualitas terbaik yang dimiliki Pandan adalah mudah terharu.

Insiden lain yang masih membekas pada Edelweiss terjadi setengah tahun sebelumnya, juga saat ia menjemput Danae. Saat itu ia masih bersedia duduk di teras berlama-lama menunggu Danae bermain-main dengan adiknya. Ketika itulah mendengar Aya menyanyikan lirik ini kepada Zulaika.

“Yahudi laknatullah, Amerika laknatullah...”

Pertahanan diri Edelweiss jebol ketika lagu itu diulang-ulang. “Mengapa menyanyikan lagu seperti itu?”

“Kan bagus, Kak,” jawab Aya.

“Berat sekali.”

“Sejak kecil kan anak mesti diajarkan siapa saja musuhnya.”

“Aduh, mengapa harus punya musuh? Lagi pula siapa Yahudi yang kau maksud?”

“Ya semuanya.”

“Bangsanya atau agamanya?”


“Termasuk para nabi seperti Ishak, Daud, Sulaiman, Musa, Yahya, Isa, dan masih banyak lagi?” tanya Edelweiss.

“Kakak lucu ah, mereka kan Islam.”

“Kalaupun agamanya Islam, bangsa dan darah mereka tetap Yahudi.”

“Kalau Islam ya tak mungkin Yahudi dong, Kak?”

“Ampun! Oke, jadi, menurutmu semua Yahudi bakal kena laknat?”


“Tuhan tidak adil, dong.”

“Mereka kan selalu melawan Allah, Kak. Pantas kena laknat. Orang Amerika juga.”

Edelweiss tahu bahwa ia tak mungkin menang omongan dengan orang semacam Aya, tapi bukan berarti ia harus membiarkannya, apalagi kata-kata itu diucapkannya di depan Danae. Hanya saja, kalau memaksa bertahan lima menit lagi, Edelweiss yakin bakal membakar rumah itu. Maka ia pun cepat-cepat berlalu.

Kalau saja bukan karena Danae yang selalu merengek rindu kepada adiknya, tak mungkin Edelweiss sudi mengantarkan lagi anaknya ke rumah Ciputat. Yang pasti, sejak obrolan soal Yahudi itu ia mulai berupaya menghindari bercakap-cakap dengan Aya lebih dari sepuluh detik seperti halnya Hemingway berusaha keras menghindari pemakaian kata sifat dan juru masak yang baik menghindari monosodium glutamat.

Insiden patung membuat Edelweiss yang sudah tidak suka kepada Aya menjadi makin benci sekaligus mengasihani. Ia kemudian kadang membayangkan betapa nikmatnya bila suatu hari mendengar kabar Aya tertangkap suku kanibal dan direbus dengan api kecil terlebih dahulu sebelum dimakan beramai-ramai.

Pikiran jahat yang teringat pada penerbangan pagi itu membuat perut Edelweiss mual.


Perjalanan udara Jogja-Jakarta yang hanya 45 menit itu ternyata mampu mengeduk dan memampatkan kenangan Edelweiss akan Aya. Semakin ia berusaha mengingat hal-hal baik tentang Aya, semakin banyak alasan yang ia dapatkan untuk tidak suka. Bukan karena perempuan yang lebih muda lima belas tahun darinya itu menikahi atau bahkan merebut Pandan. Pernikahan Aya dan Pandan berlangsung hampir tiga tahun yang lalu, dua tahun setelah perceraian Pandan dan Edelweiss.

Edelweiss awalnya menilai perilaku Aya di depannya adalah campuran rasa sungkan, minder, dan setengah menjilat. Sikap Aya ini Edelweiss yakini muncul bukan karena ia salah seorang perupa kontemporer terdepan Indonesia yang karyanya dibicarakan dan diburu kolektor dalam dan luar negeri—ia yakin hal ini tak masuk dalam hitungan Aya—melainkan karena dua fakta sederhana, ia bekas istri Pandan dan juga boleh dibilang setengah pemilik rumah Ciputat. Sekalipun rumah itu adalah warisan yang diterima Pandan, Edelweisslah yang kemudian dengan uangnya membeli lahan di samping kanan dan kiri dan mendirikan bangunan rumah baru. Ketika berpisah, Edelweiss tak pernah menyinggung-nyinggung soal rumah itu dan pergi hanya dengan membawa Danae.

Edelweiss mengira sikap sadar posisi Aya akan bertahan selamanya, atau setidaknya cukup lama. Yang tidak ia ketahui dan perkirakan, Aya berani menggusur karya-karyanya yang masih tersisa di rumah Ciputat ke gudang dengan cara menumpuknya begitu saja.

Edelweiss tak mau ribut dan lebih menyalahkan dirinya dan segera mengirim karya-karya itu ke Jogja. Tapi, ia betul-betul terluka mengetahui bahwa Pandan tak berusaha menahan sedikit pun. Padahal, dulu laki-laki itulah yang paling bersemangat mendorong Edelweiss berkarya dan selalu memperbarui gagasannya. Karya-karya yang ia tinggal di rumah Ciputat adalah karya yang sangat personal, yang tak akan pernah ia jual karena ia buat khusus untuk Pandan sekalipun ia tak pernah menyatakannya secara langsung.

Saat mengepak karya-karya itu Edelweiss bertanya-tanya ke mana perginya Pandan yang dulu periang dan lucu. Ia ingat bahwa mereka dahulu bisa semalaman berbual-bual tentang soal remeh- temeh yang menggembirakan hati. Tentang Bruce Lee, misalnya. Pandan menunjukkan bagaimana bagian akhir film Game of Death berisi kesalahan yang menggelikan. Adegan yang dimulai dengan Bruce Lee masuk ke pagoda musuh pada malam hari tiba-tiba berubah menjadi siang ketika si pendekar berkostum kuning setrip hitam ini bertarung dengan bintang basket NBA Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Hal itu terlihat saat Bruce Lee melubangi dinding agar sinar matahari masuk mengganggu mata lawannya yang peka. Ketika Bruce Lee turun dari pagoda, suasana di luar sudah malam kembali.

“Siapa tahu ia ketiduran sampai malam,” kata Edelweiss, geli.

“Pluk, menurutmu, kalau tarung beneran, siapa yang menang: si Naga Kecil atau Raksasa Kribo?” tanya Pandan.

Pluk, atau Cempluk, adalah panggilan sayang Pandan kepada Edelweiss.

“Serius? Tidak tahu. Menurutmu?”

“Aku juga tidak tahu. Tapi, yang kutahu, dari sekian musuh Bruce Lee di film, yang paling hebat adalah Chuck Norris. Aku yakin, kalau berkelahi sungguhan, Chuck Norris yang menang.”


“Kau tidak tahu? Ada pesulap yang bisa berjalan di atas air, tapi Chuck Norris mampu merenangi daratan. Ia tidak saja jago tetapi juga sakti. Air matanya dipercaya bisa menyembuhkan kanker dan penyakit gawat lainnya.”


“Betul, sayang Chuck Norris tak pernah menangis.”

Edelweiss tak pernah tertawa sekeras malam itu sebelumnya. Pada detik itu ia yakin bisa hidup bersama sampai mati dengan Pandan, apa pun keadaannya. Ia tidak tahu bahwa ia terlalu optimistis saat itu.


Setahun sebelum mereka berpisah, ayah Pandan di Semarang sakit- sakitan. Tak lama kemudian, ia meninggal dunia. Selama ayahnya sakit itu, Pandan hanya sempat datang sekali karena sibuk menjadi konsultan sebuah perusahaan pengembang yang akan go public.

Kematian itu menyulut rasa bersalah Pandan sehingga pekerjaannya di kantor terbengkalai dan ia kemudian mengundurkan diri. Ia lantas mengikuti kelompok pengajian yang alirannya sama dengan yang diikuti almarhum ayahnya.

Mula-mula, Edelweiss memaklumi yang dilakukan Pandan. Rasa berduka sangat pribadi, dan kalau Pandan bisa mendapatkan penghiburan lewat kegiatan barunya, tak apa, demikian pikir Edelweiss. Yang tak disangka Edelweiss, kelompok yang diikuti Pandan sangat senang melarang ini dan itu. Betul-betul ini dan itu. Bahkan, menggelar Yasinan pun tidak boleh. Kapan pun Edelweiss keberatan, Pandan selalu berdalih pilihan kelompoknya selalu bersandar pada kitab suci.

Mereka tak pernah bertengkar hebat dalam artian yang satu berteriak dan yang lain membalas dengan jeritan. Tak ada kata- kata kasar yang keluar. Tak ada pula barang-barang yang pecah terbanting. Pandan juga tak menuntut Edelweiss melakoni apa yang ia jalani. Tapi, ketegangan yang merambat setiap hari ini mencekik Edelweiss. Ia sesak dan mulai merasa tak bisa membedakan warna. Padahal, ia bukan sopir angkot yang hanya butuh paham tiga warna: merah, kuning, dan hijau. Ia tak bisa berkarya di rumah itu, sementara saat itu dalam waktu dekat ia mesti menyiapkan pameran tunggal di Singapura.

Perceraian mereka berlangsung cepat. Banyak kerabat dan tetangga yang menyayangkan. Mereka juga sedih ketika Edelweiss pergi membawa Danae. Selanjutnya, setiap beberapa bulan sekali Edelweiss mengantarkan Danae menginap di Ciputat. Ia melakukannya bukan karena Pandan tak mau datang ke Jogja melainkan karena ia [EH1] memang tak ingin. Pandan pernah mengunjunginya sekali, dan ia benar-benar merasa tak nyaman.

Selama Danae di Ciputat, Edelweiss biasanya menggunakan waktunya di Jakarta untuk bertemu klien, kawan, atau sekadar memuaskan makan di tempat-tempat yang ia senangi. Awalnya, ia masih bertandang ke tetangga-tetangga lamanya di Ciputat, tapi pertanyaan-pertanyaan mereka seputar kepemilikan rumah nyaris seperti hasutan sehingga ia memilih menghindari mereka sebisa mungkin.

Edelweiss juga tak betah berlama-lama di rumah Ciputat karena setiap kali melihat Pandan hatinya perih. Fisik bekas suaminya itu baik-baik saja, tetapi seluruh geraknya tampak lembek di matanya. Tak ada lagi sorot mata yang dulu sering bersinar nakal. Tak ada lagi panggilan Cempluk untuknya, yang ada hanyalah Bunda Danae.

Tujuh belas samurai merana, maki Edelweiss dalam hati ketika pertama kali sapaan itu ia dengar.

Maka, ketika Pandan berkata akan menikah lagi dengan Aya, seorang guru taman kanak-kanak, Edelweiss sungguh-sungguh berharap kegembiraan Pandan kembali sekalipun ia menyimpan cemburu. Harapan Edelweiss pupus begitu tahu bahwa Pandan menikahi Aya karena dijodohkan ketua kelompok pengajiannya, dan Aya bekerja di taman kanak-kanak yang dikelola kelompok itu.

Mengingat saat itu Pandan tak lagi bekerja dan hidup dengan mengandalkan tabungan, Edelweiss memberi saran agar Pandan membangun kos-kosan di lahan kiri rumah Ciputat yang masih cukup luas. Pandan menurut. Berkat rumah-rumah petak yang kemudian dengan cepat bertambah dua kali lipat itulah Pandan beroleh penghasilan yang lumayan. Penghasilan yang memungkinkan Aya meminjamkan uang kepada kerabatnya yang kemudian memotong-motongnya menjadi sepuluh bagian.


Aya sudah dimakamkan ketika Edelweiss sampai di rumah Ciputat pada tengah hari. Begitu jenazah boleh keluar dari rumah sakit pada pagi hari, Pandan memilih langsung memakamkannya ketimbang menyemayamkannya di rumah. Edelweiss merasa itu pilihan yang bijak.

Saat datang, setelah kecanggungan dua-tiga detik, Edelweiss memeluk Pandan. Laki-laki itu menangis di pundak Edelweiss, semenit mungkin. Edelweiss merasakannya berjam-jam. Beberapa mata tetangga ikut basah. Beberapa mata anggota kelompok pengajian menatap bertanya, tapi mereka tak angkat suara. Edelweiss juga bersalaman dengan kedua orangtua Aya, tak keluar kata-kata apapun dari mulutnya.

Sampai malam para pelayat masih berdatangan. Beberapa kerabat Aya terlihat kikuk karena korban dan pelaku adalah anggota keluarga besar mereka. Sejak sore Edelweiss memilih menyingkir ke halaman belakang. Ia menyempatkan memetik dan memakan srikaya supermanis yang dulu ditanamnya. Di sini pula ia untuk pertama kalinya memeluk, menggendong, dan mencium-cium Zulaika yang sebelumnya dipegang pengasuhnya.

Pengajian selesai pukul setengah sembilan malam. Edelweiss sempat ikut sebentar. Ia sebetulnya agak berharap mendapatkan pengajian yang menggetarkan hati. Ia keliru, acaranya berjalan datar.

Kelelahan, Edelweiss beristirahat di kamar Danae, kamar yang sampai sekarang hanya digunakan jika anak itu datang menginap. Edelweiss tak tahu sudah berapa lama ia terlelap. Ketika terbangun, ia mendapati Pandan sudah duduk di kursi tak jauh dari ranjang. Mata laki-laki itu letih tetapi bibirnya mencoba tersenyum. Edelweiss bangkit dan memeluknya. Pandan menangis lagi. Beberapa menit kemudian, digerakkan oleh perasaan yang ganjil bagi keduanya, mereka membuka pakaian dan melakukannya. Edelweiss merasai air mata Panda di bahunya. Setelah selesai, Pandan tertidur.

Edelweiss melihat jam tangan, pukul satu dini hari. Ia mengenakan pakaiannya, membasuh muka di kamar mandi. Kepalanya belum sanggup mencerna yang baru saja terjadi. Penghiburan? Ia merapikan diri dan keluar kamar. Di lorong depan kamar tak ada siapa pun. Ia mengambil tasnya dan berjalan keluar rumah. Di halaman depan, ia menyalakan rokok. Ia melangkah ke arah jalan raya mencari taksi.


© Yusi Avianto Pareanom, dengan persetujuan penulis.