Written by Olyrinson
Translated by Agus B.Harianto
The twilight assaulted that woman at veranda when the sun was very low and hazy that started to go down. The cold wind dropped leafs off and made them wafted to the holes of heaping land’s scratching. The drizzle may be fall soon. That woman rolled her hair and tied it with rubber tier. She just finished to bathe didn’t feel so nervous like that time.
She sat on an old chair and leaned her back on there, then watched the only road in front of her, as far as she could do. Far away at front, at the edge of a footstep road that slopes upward as long left side of hill side, she could see someone that was stepping up. He was a man. He seen old, thin and powerless alike the worn out car that couldn’t step up the sloping upward. His both arm hanged down hopelessly on its shoulder, and his looking was keep bowing when walked. As if only a footstep road under him were just as the view that he could see on the surface of this world.
The woman shifted her looking to the left side, trough the bananas cluster that yet produced fruit and watch clove tree that almost died because of a half of its roots had stick outward to the slope because of its land scratched. Far away behind it, a bulldozer was standing eerily, like a sleeping giant that so tired after in the whole day scratched the land.
“Let me sell this land with a half prize, Midah” her husband said when he would go at the morning in that day. ”If they still don’t want it, I will sell it a quarter prize if I have to. You are pregnant, what will you born our child with? If this area will not sell well, let us move our living place to abah’s house, and I can use the money as financial capital to trade in a little.” (abah mean father)
The woman didn’t answer. Her hand was scratching second hand milk tin as the place to put their sugar. “Drink it first, please!” she said. “It may be not too sweet, our sugar is used up.”
Her husband drank that tasteless tea and then went to the big office of oil mining to negotiate the selling of their land.
After her husband went, the woman was tidying up, if only they really were leaving this place. Truly, she was really like to living in this place, but, that time this place really had changed at all. The land was so fertile, the village was prosperous, and at that moment had changed become pools with muddy water that if the rain was falling become lake, because it was scratching everyday and its land was token for sandy clay.
Sandy clay. Two words that could be remember all the time and couldn’t be forgotten by her. Those two words be able to changed the life’s grade of tens people that they were living in this small hill. Two sacred words that made her husband alike army go to the war when he was climbing the small hill at that afternoon.
Sandy clay, yes, those words wouldn’t ever forgotten by her. The woman would remember it all the time how the tie- men came to their village by good cars, then they gathered the elders to discuss. Persist a week after her married with Atan a village boy that his daily activity was collecting the honey bee from sialang trees that they grew in great quantities in their village. That was the activity for living whole people on this hill.
The hoping that she developed when she was placing a area of land belong to them as marriage gift from her parent in law, suddenly broke up when there were the issued news that people of village would sell their land with the price 3.000,00 rupiah for each meter. (sialang mean a kind of tree)
“They buy our land for sandy clay” people of village said proudly because they could spell the strange two words. She didn’t know those words’ mean. Lately, she just understood that it was technical term for the land to heap.
“We sell it for the country,” the elders of village persuaded. “They need sandy clay to open the new oil field.
“The land to heap!” the other explained it, because he saw the woman didn’t understand.
“But why are they buy the land of our village” the woman asked increasing the confusion.
“Because of our land’s oil contents are matched with the land around the new oil field. They want to take good care of the sphere; therefore they search the land that really matched to be heaped there.”
And the woman still didn’t understand. She and her husband still survived when the people of village in crowded went to the office of the oil company to take their money and moved to the city or to the other village. There was one of them be suddenly rich because of his land was so large, there was one of them bought car even he didn’t be able to drive yet, there was one of them bought new motor bike, and one of them added for wife. She and her husband still survived. For them, they couldn’t receive sandy clay or anything else of its name. This was the village grew them up and they were live in here, from the honey bee that produce the honey everyday to sell. The tie- men persuaded them several times, even with the higher price than the others, they still survived.
Until at the day after the bulldozer came, whom everyday scratched the land in many cubic then moved it into the trucks to bring to the location of heaping of new oil field. Slowly, the land around them was scratched, the main clusters of sialang trees are started to lift up. The bees ran away leave their nest, left the honey that it was not ripe yet. Coconut trees, clove trees, they were powerless in the hand of giant engine that demolished them.
The dust was everywhere, and the land became the dry field without any occupant. At the day was stormed with the sound of trucks that come in and out to lift up the land also the bulldozer that it was roaring to scratch the land. At night, when those people got rest and went home, the village was alike die. Only she and her husband who were living in the village while the other villagers sold their land and moved to.
And then the issue about the sphere that it was buzzed by the oil company became irony in here. At least, it was for the woman and her husband. How couldn’t it be, the bulldozer scratched the hill around their living place everyday at that time thus rest their own land that they didn’t sell. Yes, they couldn’t mad about because the land around them had already bought. But as the result the nests of their bee were eliminated and their activity to living was lost at all. It had not enough yet; the company scratched the land near around them in such a way that made their living place become isolated on the top of hill, while around it had open widely the deep ravine as the result of scratching the land. They became isolated from the world outside. Whoever that was, would think twice to visit to their house.
They had ever done protest, but they had cold perceptive from the oil company.
“Those are our land. We bought it legally. So, you can’t prohibit us; if we dig it until become ocean. You still lucky, we leave behind a footstep road to walk to your house. But you must remember, that is our land and in uncertain time if we scratch it for sandy clay, you can’t prohibit us.”
Sandy clay. Those words anymore! She hated the words. The words had meaning as colonizing, deception and oppression for her self. But, however, they were an ordinary person; they wouldn’t win against the dignitary and had a lot of money. So, they were forced to submitted and yielded. They were just insisted feeling to sell the land.
“If about that, we think about it first,” the manager of Oil Company said to her husband after had been waiting for three hours outside the office. “At this time our sandy clay had enough. So, we don’t need any additional land. The hill is still large and we are not scratch all of it yet. Even though “you” (the manager is not call him ’saudara’) want to sell it, of course the price is not like the old time anymore. Remember, your land has no price anymore now! Even not for sell, your land will lose eaten by the erosion.”
Her husband went home with brought defeat. They understood that they were made a fool by the oil company as the revenge to their conviction that didn’t want to sell the land at the day before. It was not only that, the strange words that contained with degradation, oppression, were added too. They didn’t call her husband as ‘saudara’, or ’bung’, or ‘anda’ but with ‘you’ while throw the staring of humiliated. And that day the situation was change, if long time ago the people of the company were coming to persuade them in order to sell their land, that day, on the contrary, they were coming to beg in order to the people of company bought their land, even though with the price had decided by the company. (saudara, bung, anda mean in English is ‘you’ but they have meaning of calling to be polite to someone else)
And they still couldn’t combat. Live on the top of hill that became isolated like this, at the day eats the dust and at the night accompanied with the stillness, it was more tortured than live even in prison. It was still not if the rain fell. The anxious feeling on the erosion that in anytime could erode the walls of slope certainly haunted them. “We will sink, Bang. I am afraid on the erosion!” she said that to her husband all the time if they slept at night and the day was rainy. And the submission, anyway, that forced her husband to come to the oil company to sell their land. Although, with a quarter price if that necessary. (bang mean in English is the polite calling from wife to husband)
The sun was almost sunk, and the skill of the rain would really fall. The woman was standing and stepping the veranda. At that time, her husband’s shadow was alike a flickering line. She looked at it for long time to make sure that her husband was still there. Her husband was still stepping up a footprint road between two ravines that open widely resembling like the crocodile’s mouth that is ready to pounce on. When he got in front of the house, he was not directly coming in, turn to the back and then got back in the condition he already did ablution before prayers.
The woman was waiting for her husband to finish his praying service of Islam and she was still standing at the veranda until the darkness climbed down perfectly. In the darkness, she was alike seeing the bulldozer, slept like a tired giant. She was so afraid to imagine that the giant would get up and scratched the land around them tomorrow in order to become deeper.
The stillness suddenly assaulted her and she felt fear in the middle of the stillness. Then there were the sound behind the door. The woman was shocked and realized that the lamp in the house was turned off because they ran out the gas. She left the veranda and coming inside.
The darkness that it was darker welcomed her soon. She didn’t know the location of her husband in the dark room. Only the sound of breathing and heartbeat that beat so hard sign him was there.
“They don’t want our land, Midah! Even though we give it for free!” then it was silent.
The woman didn’t answer. In the darkness she felt a lonely feeling that felt like without border. There was the sound of thunder outside. She moved slowly and looking for, and then, she lied her body down beside the stiff body of her husband and slowly became cold.
The night was so silent. Outside was cold and the drizzle was falling.
In the dark, the tear of the woman was continuously.