The rain has been pouring out heavily. The river overflowed because it could not contain the amount of water. The river’s water pushed on the riverbank and entered into the residents’ houses. It flooded. The wind could not sleep. It blew the raindrops which formed snow, spreading everywhere.
The wet leaves swayed, tired swept away. The sun was reluctant to turn off the faucet of rain showers. The creator had decided to pour it down. For a while, the sun hid itself behind the clouds.
It was a quiet afternoon. The village deemed deserted. A group of children were swimming in the river, while shouting at each other. This was a usual view when there was flood.
They were not afraid with dirty water, the toxic wastes and anything else brought by flood. Some people were fishing from the fishing stage. Once, they smoked some cigarettes to cast the mosquitoes out. Not so far from that, a boat was stepping aside to the Lamin (the traditional house of Dayak people).
The man on the boat stopped for a while, looking at a sheet of paper, to make sure the address was right/to make sure he got the right address. He took an envelope and gave it to an old woman and went off silently.
‘Menur, why do you tear the letter up?’ Asked Leony who was standing behind Menur.
‘I don’t want it. He played with my feelings.’
‘But you have not read that letter yet!’
“Never mind. It just makes me broken.’
‘Maybe he wants to say sorry of his mistakes.”
‘Forgiveness never treats my broken heart and it will never change the situation.’
‘Who knows? There’s a miracle.’
‘What? Miracles? There are no miracles in this insane world. There is just injustice, outrage and hypocrisy. Damn. Man is beast.’ Menur shouted.
Leony embraced Menur and let her cry loudly on her lap. They have been friends since they were still children. Since three months ago, they have been staying together.
Menur separated with her husband due to the infidelity of her husband. They had lived together for five years. Their relationship ended up with separation. Actually, both of the families did not agree about their marriage because of religion.
But for Menur, the religious difference would not be an obstacle to build up a love of marriage. The most important thing was the strength of love. So, she converted to the religion of her husband.
In fact, during the time they stayed together, she felt nothing. She got nothing of their married life. Day by day, year in and year out, there were so many problems that attacked their relationship. And eventually, she knew that the husband has already married with another woman. There was no better way than to be separated.
Unfortunately, her family would not accept her anymore. Her family was disappointed by her choice to leave her religion. So, she came to Leonny, her old friend. Leonny had the same problem. Her husband left her when she was pregnant without any particular reason.
Both of them experienced the cruelty of man’s love. They were wounded by the egoism of their husbands. Self-love gained profits for the man, while woman became a victim that seemed predetermined. It became a reason for them to doubt anything, even the Lord. They seemed to believe that God was dead.
The night was getting dark. The light drizzle was fading. The two women went to the dining room. Menur directly went to her room to get some cigarettes and came back to the dining room. She took a cigarette stick and lit it. She smoked it deeply and exhaled it heavily.
“Do you smoke?’ Leony asked her.
“Yes. Just to hide the pain.’
“But it is not good for your health.”
“Everybody knows that smoking is not good for health. But you count, how many people in the world smoke this thing?”
“Our culture bans women to smoke!”
“Culture is made by human beings. Women is disallowed to smoke. It is not fair. It is a legacy of patriarchy that puts women as dairy cows. You and I are victims of that culture. We are in the feet palm of man. I don’t agree.’ Menur screamed loudly.
“At least, we were born and we grew in that culture. You don’t respect culture in which you say that is made by human beings, our ancestors?”
“Do you think that something wrong needs to stay, even you know that it is unfair?
“So, by smoking do you want to break the unfairness?”
“At least I want to show my resistance.”
“Your thought is high enough for women like us, but it cannot resolve the problem that we faced.” Leony went off to prepare dinner.
Menur continued to smoke the cigarette. She spluttered. She once inhaled deeply and exhaled it together with the smoke of her cigarette.
Since separation, Menur used to accompany with an unusual culture in the society. She criticized the cultures and legacies of the ancestors. In her mind, all of these were hypocrisy, injustice, etc.
Even God, she doubted. She would never call the name of God. For her, God was unfair. Why God created a woman from the rib of a man was to make it easy for him to play games with her.
She smoked deeply and exhaled it. What about love? For her, Love was not different from the smoke of cigarette. It was a chess game that needed strategy to take others down. On behalf of love, the married life was meant for fulfilling the thirst of man’s sexual lust. Love was a nicotine that destroyed the lung of soul.
“Leonny, did you ever regret your decision to get married?” Asked Menur, when Leonny came from behind.
“I never regretted any decision that I make. I know, every choice has its consequence that must be accepted. If I must be a widow, it is the consequence of my decision. I have never regretted about anything. And I don’t want to blame others because of that.” Leonny answered.
“If I had known that before, I would have never gotten married. I thought, love can strengthen me. In fact, love is a poison. I hate love. Nonsense of love.”
“Never mind. Don’t cry about your past. Let it be. One day, you will find true love.”
The two women were hugging each other. The night was so dark. Outside, it was raining.
One sunny day. The flood has gone down. Menur stepped out just to breathe fresh air. Step by step she took, leaving the home. She didn’t know where she would go. Then she heard the sound of the Church’s bell.
She used to hear that sound when she was a kid. When she heard that sound, she used to go to the church. That sound reminded her of God’s day. That sound was inviting her to come back. She imagined the time when she and her family spent time together to pray in the church.
She saw the crowded people gathered in front of the church. For a long time she never went to the church since she converted to another religion. She mingled with the crowded people. Yes, that was a showing of the passion of Christ. When she saw that drama, she cried. How great Jesus was, He sacrificed himself just for saving the sinners.
She found the true love form the Son of man. Jesus confronted injustice and cruelty. He was mocked, scourged and crucified. In fact, in the midst of her pain and distress, she realized that there was still true love. And it was only in Jesus.
“Nothing to regret. I have betrayed Him, I have left Him. But His love opened my heart and He never left me. He never let me down.”
Menur embraced the Cross, look at Jesus’ face and gently said: “Jesus, remember me when You enter the Kingdom of God.” That was the last words. She fell and passed away.
Good bye Menur. Paradise waits for you. There, you will be together with Jesus, the true love and you will paint the rainbow.*
P. Yoseph Pati Mudaj, MSF