Sometimes, you worried some memories were just gonna go away. They were there, waiting behind the layer of time, yet you might need someone else to unlock the door. Someone who witnessed the memories with you, who was holding the spare key. Later on, that person might lost it. You worried no other soul would care enough to keep the memories of you. Because deep down, you were all alone. Because, after all, some memories were orchestrated to be forgotten.

“People are too unpredictable. I prefer working with software and computer.”

“It’s always hard in the beginning,” she spoke slowly, her voice warmed the November breeze, “you will get used to it.”

“Sometimes it gets tougher when I don’t have someone to talk to.”

“I understand, Rean.”

I stared at the ceiling. The pale moonlight streamed in through the opened curtain.

I understand. Even through the silent phone line, I still could see her smiling.

We laughed here and there. We talked about bits and pieces. Our time difference, my weekend activity, her new shoes, my work, her final project, the coffee of East Timor, the casino in Perth, what was new at the university and what was not.

“I miss Perth so bad.”

I had kept those words since the first day I came back home to Indonesia. My mind just told me to do so, until last night. When I was talking to someone who was breathing the Perth’s air. Who understood what kind of miss that I was shouting. What kind of pain that I was enduring.

And, eventually, I spoke another words. Those words.

“I miss you too.” It sounded like a whisper.

But she realized who she was talking to. She knew the jerk would say the very same thing to another girl.

“So you are missing a Chinese girl now?”

I answered yes, but her laugh drowned it. I remembered that laugh. It was at our seismic laboratory session when I said Chinese bad words as many as I could. Her eyes narrowed when she laughed at each of them.

“Will you come to China this year?” That soft voice covered something. An expectation.

“Next year, hopefully.”

My hesitating sigh enveloped an uncertainty.

**

“I was invited to Shenzhen for an interview.”

She talked about an email. An answer in the middle of this oil crisis. A job opportunity that never crossed her mind. An English teacher.

I closed the world behind me and tightened the earphone. I heard no sound other than hers in that twenty seconds of quietness. Her voice was clear as it could be. It was like listening to her talking on the university library’s fifth floor where no louder-than-whisper-sound was permitted.

“They asked me to come after finishing my master here in Australia.”

I opened my eyes. I was back to my bedroom in Dili. Yet, my mind was still trapped somewhere.

“Next year, if I work there, come to Shenzhen. It’s near Guangzhou. We can take an hour flight. Once you told me about Shanghai. You do like a big city, right?”

Shanghai. We were at the Mill Point that day, overwhelmed by the gentle rain, standing side by side. A winter wind swept through her long hair before it slipped into the Swan River. A fuzzy sound that reached us from the doorway to another world. I explained the Perth city lights that we were staring at, which light came from which building. And my desire to visit another city of skyscrapers.

Shanghai.

“You still remember it.” I wished she could see me smiling.

**

Sometimes, you worried some memories were just gonna go away. They were there, waiting behind the layer of time, yet you might need someone else to unlock the door. Someone who witnessed the memories with you, who was holding the spare key. Later on, that person might lost it. You worried no other soul would care enough to keep the memories of you. Because deep down, you were all alone. Because, after all, some memories were orchestrated to be forgotten.

“Take a rest. It’s midnight already in your city.”

“Thanks for taking my call. Thanks for helped me remember.”

I recollected enough half-remembered memories from that nearly two hours conversation. Pieces by pieces. I shut my phone after good-nights exchange.

Three minutes later, I fell asleep.