The Books I’ve Read
“Looking back is also a way of progress”
“Reading all the theories of history, be it the Vedic theory of time or the Generational theory Strauss-Howe mentions about”, she said, in the middle of a deep conversation, in the front of an automatic entrance gate, “Do you realize that the humankind is only repeating history?”
“Yes, I even write about it on ask.fm and it’s getting 2000+ likes. I believe in the past, humans could connect through magic and voila! People named it telepathy. But do you know how it takes form nowadays?”, I replied.
“How?” She asked me back.
“Phone calls! Our technology is what they call magic, nowadays,” I lit a cigarette.
“Yes! That’s what I’m talking about. You know what? My biggest vision is to translate the ancient knowledge, which happened to be known as obsolete these days, to a more scientific approach.”
“That’s a great vision, but why?” I tilted my head to the side.
“Because knowing that history is just repeating themselves, I think looking back is also a way of progressing,” she said, full of enthusiasm always with her sparkly eyes.
“You know, yesterday you said that someone who never had the courage to fall in love will never learn something in his or her life, you said that romantic attachment is a way for human to understand the world better, and I think about it a lot on my way back home,” I muttered.
“There’s one friend that always wanted to have a romantic attachment and everyday she mentions about settling down. But I came to think that it’s not the goal of falling in love, because having a romantic attachment is just like signing up to a lesson of life. Looking back to where I am, what I feel, I’m standing here with my best qualities in front of you right now, it’s full of influences from all of my past romantic affairs,” I took one more cigarette and lit it up, “I came to a conclusion that falling in love is just like reading a book.”
“Reading a book? What do you mean?”
“Because what matters is not that they stay. They will leave something very valuable when they leave. Reading a book means I always learn something from them, finishing a book is how they leave, and my act of letting go is the act of making a summary from the book I’ve read”
. . .
I’ll give you a story about the first girl I fell in love with.
She’s like the ‘Book of Everything Cool’, being with her was like reading a fashion magazine. About what is alay and not, about this and that brand, about how to express yourself in what you wear, about how to search for a band that nobody has listened, about hipsters, about how your aesthetics define your social rapport. And I went to art school because of her, because she wanted to go to art school too.
She’s the reason why I have good taste in style, and also she was why I’m interested in Branding. Tell you what, even after the years she left, I even made an academic journal about hipsters, about her, in short. It’s my first academic journal. The book did leave a big impact.
The second book I read was ‘The Book of Persona’, because the book came from a senior, hell, she’s a tatib, one of the scariest. It was in the late semester of my freshman year. She’s not even good looking, her cheek was full of acnes, she’s very small, she loves to sit in the corner, but when she talk, it’s very charming. I could smile all day just seeing her passing by in a corridor.
I have to wait until I got initiated into the student council, and she gave the book on the first night I was a sophomore. The first line in the book was something like this:
“You were like a tiny white cat drowned in a sewer. If I took care of you, I know that you will be the most beautiful cat I’ve ever had.”
The book is about descriptions of an admirable figure. A fictional figure that is untouchable because she’s incredibly clever and hard-working. I don’t know if it was the idea of her character or it was her — hell, she’s a fictional figure, but the way how she made me admire her light on a distance made me wanted to chase her shadow even the years after. The way she talks like she’s always high because she barely sleep, her eye bags, the way she stands alone in the crowd, the way her light illuminates the corner of my heart. I want to be like someone described on the book. I want to be as charming. I want to be as hard-working. I want to be as clever, just because I want to stand next to that admirable character in an equal way.
I learned that I have to be excellent in everything I did, otherwise she’ll never acknowledge me. Now, I never thought that I’d be the youngest lecturer in this institution, and I never thought that I’d put so much concern and interest to the system of education, just because the figure in the book talks a lot about education.
The third book I read was my favourite one. It’s the “Book of Breaking the System”. I fell in love with this book because it could finish my jumbled sentences even before I did. The book understands my complex mind. The book is like another form of my mind, the book is my other brain. I have to think a lot just to get the book, so I plan carefully.
After all the conversations I created in my mind while reading the book, the theory of post-modernism written in it was something that gets me enough reason to fall in love. It’s about these short prose highlighted in one of the pages:
“We live in the culture that control how we act, how we dress, how we think, what to buy, and who to love.
What if i meet you in another culture, in another system, or in another life where it will be possible?
I want you to know that i fall in love with you beyond the system. Beyond the bricks, beyond anything that restrain.
So if we actually meet again in another life, don’t forget to remember me.”
So, winning that book was a well-designed plan, and I felt like a Machiavelli. That’s when I thought logic and framework could bypass the system.
Reading this book brought me a lot of miracles, I could make 500.000+ people came to a quadrennial event when I was their Director of Publication, because it was all planned carefully. The plan I made, they even got international reviews. I also got a job as a Director of Strategy in a startup, and my encounter with that job was also a matter of careful planning and strategies.
The day I decided to finish the book was when I had enough reason to let it go. I read the book for too long, I didn’t even read other books anymore. Because when I read it over and over, it’s not logical anymore, it’s just never-ending brainstorms jumping from one framework to another framework. The book became a property and I read it only to abuse it.
When I close the book, I stumble upon this opening sentences about the core ideology of anarchy by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and its the sovereign right of property, the right of the proprietor to do with his property as he pleases, “to use and abuse,” and to get rid of that abuse we must destroy the property, and scream:
“La propriété, c’est le vol! “ — Property is Theft!
The book has the heaviest love story I ever read, yeah, because it’s full of theory and methods of reasoning, hell, I could make a great movie from the tragic love story written on it. For all the book I could have read, it’s my most favourite book, and I’m grateful that I got to see this book in the entire history of creation. This book is the legendary one.
The latest book I read is the shortest one, it’s the “Book of Embracing Present Moments”.
This book is weird, it came without prior notice, and it’s the lightest book I’ve read because it was just jokes written all over it. I read the book when I was in the worst version of myself, but this book lightened me up. The first day I read that book was the day I smiled the whole day.
I never laughed so hard reading a book, I swear. But I never thought that I’d like this mundane book very much, because this book is like, the complete opposite of the previous book I had. It’s the book without logic and reasoning but it’s full of emotions. And it was one weird rule to read the book: you have to put a selfie everyday, and write about how your day went.
Reading this book, I felt that love could be this light-hearted and it felt easy. I don’t have to put a reasoning, or a plan, and I don’t have to be a Machiavelli. I don’t have to think about the future, I just have to embrace the present times.
But the real lesson is that, this book is very short. Yes, it was full of laughter, but then the book disappeared without reasoning. It’s a total absurdity, because I’m someone that demands reason, but guess what? I stopped worrying about reason, I just want to embrace the present like how the book taught me to.
I didn’t know if it was love, an infatuation, or just a rebound. Because when I finished this very thin book, it’s not a broken heart that I was feeling, it’s gratitude. I came to think that this book was meant to be a healing wound to my broken heart, a blessing in disguise, either way I’m grateful for it. The last sentence of this book was the thing that struck my head the most:
“But, you can’t force presence, you could only grasp passing moments.”
“You know, after I came to think about this, all of my anxieties are gone, you don’t even need to ask about my scale anymore. I’m very grateful not because they came, but because they left, and taught me a lot of lessons in life.”, I looked into her eyes and I smiled.
“…”, she caughts me up in silence and I saw tears welled up in her eyes and I asked. “What’s wrong?”
“I was very proud that you came to this conclusion. I was very proud of you, after all that happened in these past months. I was very proud,” she said.
“Well, it was because I always think about what you’ve told me. I think I would never regret all of my encounters with them, because it was all beautiful. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here, and we’ll never met, and all of our deep conversations wouldn’t happen,” I replied. The night came close and I caught the cold, “I think I need to go home, shall we?”
“But wait — ”, suddenly she hugged me tightly, like hugging a long-lost friend, and she said, “I was very grateful to meet a person like you. You should know that yesterday I was being very annoying to everyone because I did finish that module but you’re not there. I want you to see that it’s me who did that. I did it.”
“You did a great job kiddo. You also did a great job taking care of me these past months”, patting her back, always like a senpai.
“I could never find someone that could cater my overwhelming enthusiasm.”
“I could never find someone that could cater my overwhelming mood-swings”
I said goodbye to her when darkness began to spread, and the sun turned into moon. I thank the Gods because I met the most incredible partner-in-crime at a time in my life, and I’m most grateful to meet her.
And between my ride back home, I light up a cigarette as I went into the highways where I could see the sky, and I muttered.
And you’re not a book.
You’re a conversation.
A Plato to my Socrates.
A Hero to my Anima.
A Moon to my Sun.
Gadis Prameswari Azahra, for all of the conversations.
Desak Made, for all of her tweets that made me write about all of these things just to cheer her up.
Disa Poetri Akarini, for checking this post’s spelling and grammar, and for being the most favorite book I used to read.