Behind the Scenes

Did your mother nag so much when you got home way beyond your curfew?

Did your friend screamed at you when you make fun of them in front of his/her crush? Or in general, just screamed when you say or do something you think okay?

We all have been there. That’s why we apologize for our mistakes whether we are aware of it or not. Because each of us has a different culture, experience, trauma, or sensitivity to something.

Back when I was around 9-10 years old, my old house was located near a border between a rural village and urban house. The village was 10-steps away, bordered by a steel fence which would be closed at 10pm for security reasons. But in daytime, the people living in the village are free to roam.

I vividly remember when I was in 2nd grade (8 years old), my father bought me a McDonalds and got a toy from it. The toy was my prized possession. Loved it so much.

Then there was these village kids, approaching me and took my toy away. There were two of them, angered by the action, I ran into one of them and he would throw the toy to his friend, then I ran to the other and he throw the toy back to his friend, and it would repeat for minutes. I felt helpless and cried. A hate then grew.

I kinda remember my neighbors had the same experience with the village kids, since then, we were in constant war with them.

One day we even fight physically when one of the village kids didn’t accept the fact that they lose a competition. I didn’t participate, one of my friends initiated the fight after an intense trash-talk. The trash-talk, by the way, kept happening for years every time we met. A friend of mine who initiated the fight even screamed to them saying “you son of a dick!” or “anak setan! (Son of devil!)”, looking back at it, it was a strong word for an 8 years old.

In other occasion, after the constant war between us and the village kids subsided, an internal altercation between the neighbors broke. The friend who fought with the village kids attacked one of my close friends, he would ride a bicycle and when he passed my close friends’ house, he would scream “dasar rumah ngontrak!”. Again, such a dirty mouth for a kid.

Fast forward years, in junior high school, young people of my generation used to search for each students’ parents name and would use the name as an ultimate weapon in a battle. I remember successfully protecting the identity of my parents and people couldn’t mock me back then. But as for me…. Well, I had fun throwing off parents’ name and managed to be a double agent in finding those names. Let’s just say I had my own fair share of being a bad person.

Once, my friends and I were sitting on a pavement near our schools’ field. There were other student whom parents’ name are well-known and frequently made fun. When people made fun of his parents’ name, I joined the bandwagon and laughed. Within a moment, that guy pushed me and was about to hit me. I was surprised. However, I did the same in other occasion, but my friend, who was the target, didn’t give any reaction at all. He just calmly accept and sit in silence. Dick move, bro.

It happened to me as well. After being a straight up jerk, tables had turned.

Senior high school, 6 years ago. I broke up with someone, and when asked why, she only said because her close friends didn’t like how I look. For your information, in 2011, I was only 40 cm away from a dwarf, with zero sense of fashion (and zero budget for it, too), a look someone couldn’t be proud of. “Alright” I told myself. Worse, it didn’t end there. Weeks after the break up, I know from a friend that actually her parents also expect a tall, white guy with presentable looks.

The pain was amazing. Not because of how I looked, but how my parents’ would react if they know their ‘hardly produced’ (There’s a back story for this) child was considered “didn’t have presentable look” or in better vocabulary, “ugly”. That night I cried imagining my parents’ reaction to that. It was painful, even just a word.

That event was a wake-up slap, a total wake-up slap for me. After knowing how hurt it was, my mind started to think about the past, people who were a victim of my sharp mouth or (in my perspective) comedy. I even remember what Quran said about keeping your mouth from saying anything unnecessary, because our tongue is a sword.

Who knows if your nagging mom had experienced her worst nightmare getting home past their curfew and only wanted to protect her children from it?

Who knows if the village kids that my friend shout “son of a dick!” and “anak setan!” at cried hard, because their parents’ had passed away and they lived without their parents? Or who knows if there was a traumatic event that made the kids cried because we aren’t sensitive enough about that?

Who knows that my close friend, whom my other friend shout “dasar rumah ngontrak!” at cried because he knew his family was in financial breakdown? Or they had a struggle in paying the monthly rent? Who knows?

Who knows that the guy who pushed me for making fun of his parents loves his parents so much that he protect the pride of his parents?

Or a friend of mine who couldn’t react when I mock his parents’ name? What if his parents were sick at that time and he was thinking about his parents’ so much that he couldn’t react and just smile when I did that?

You know, people HAVE many considerations before they react to something. Ever confront an office boy who accidentally spilled a tea on your Marc Jacobs shirt? Why didn’t they react? Maybe they feel bad, they feel useless and if they react, their supervisor would push the “FIRE” button immediately, and they’ll lose the job.

It amaze me how a mere word could cause a major pain for a person. You’ll never see the chain reaction of that word because it isn’t for you to feel or see. If you ever confronted because of that, you’ll say “baper amat” or “it’s just a joke, bro” and decides not to care about it. But behind the scenes, behind the door and on the corner of the wall, you will never, ever know how that person would feel.

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