Once upon a time, there was this happy girl. She's a geologist who loved her job very much. Who fought hard for her career. Who for more than two years had been harboring a dream to be able to go overseas to continue her study. She did all she could to get a scholarship, studied hard, went to interviews, took tests, wrote many many essays, and didn't stop at anything. Failed and tried again, failed and tried again. Finally all her hardwork and struggles paid off. She won that scholarship, and she's happy. So now she was happily preparing for her upcoming travel, obtaining information, getting visa, packing. All those exciting things! She dreamed of the words of goodbye she'd going to write to her friends. She planned on farewell lunches. She's happy.
Then one grey afternoon, one usual grey Jakarta afternoon, her best friend in the office - the one she went out to lunch with everyday, the one to whom she unburdened her problems, the one she had private jokes with, the closest of all - came to her with a bad news. That friend of hers - a beautiful, spirited secretary - would have to lose her job at the end of the next month. That news brought the geologist girl back to earth. To her surroundings, to her office, a dwindling small company almost collapsing. That news brought her back to reality, to her friends who'd been worrying whether they would still have their jobs next month, who wondered whether they would still be able to come back to their desks next month. To those who'd been worrying about school fees to pay, about mouths to feed, about doctor's bills.
And her thoughts went back to her secretary friend who was still unravelling her miseries and worries. Who suddenly went quiet and closed her eyes. Who as suddenly gave a big smile and said,"Please don't worry about me and don't feel sad. Just help me find a new job. I'll be okay. Maybe this is the best thing that can happen to me." And the geologist girl had to try hard to fight back her tears. Looking away to hide her brimming eyes. What could she say? What could she do except offering her help with cv's, contact persons, and company addresses. And of course with presence, just being there. She wished hard she could've done more.
And there will be more to come. Her other friends in the department, the friends she'd been working together with all the four years that she's there, they would get their turns as well. And she would have to stay there, watching those worried, sad faces. How could she smile and be happy when her friends were having misfortunes? And her smiles would just fade away.
Jakarta, one grey afternoon in July 2001