The Way Home (Deja Vu)

It was a man who was sitting on one of the seats on the train platform waiting for his turn to pick up the train while reading an old magazine that he had just found lying on one of the chairs. The clock on his hand showed 11 o'clock. The platform looked deserted, while the man kept himself busy reading some articles in the magazine. Finally the long-awaited train arrived, the man immediately entered the carriage, took a seat in the last row, although in fact he could choose any seat he wanted, because the carriage was completely uninhabited. He didn't feel the slightest bit strange about the quiet atmosphere in the train carriages, even though there were usually still a few passengers at that hour of the night. It's Tuesday though, the man thought, but he no longer bothered about it, and he was late again, flipping through the magazine in his hand. A few moments later, the conductor appeared on the other end. He nodded his head, also greeted with a nod of his head to the passenger. "Quiet night, isn't it?" said the conductor. "—yes, a quiet night," said the man, then went back to reading the magazine, while the silence in the carriage seemed to be drowned out by the sound of the train engine moving in a straight line at a moderate speed.

The movement of the train he was riding in began to feel slow, he was preparing to get off. He had seen the conductor standing waving to him with a smile from one of the carriages. The man walked to one of the seats provided on the train platform, because now he had to wait for one more train pick-up before arriving at the district where he lived. After sitting for a while, he started to feel bored, and needed something to fill his boredom. He remembered that he had left a magazine that he had found on the platform earlier in the train he had just stepped off, but he immediately felt lucky when he saw a magazine lying on one of the chairs not far from where he was sitting. In his heart he said, Oh God, how nice of an owner who deliberately left the magazine to be read by others, especially in such a boring time like now. When he was about to pick up the magazine, he realized that the cover and contents were exactly the same as the magazine he had picked up on the platform before. Ah, I don't care, he thought. Most likely the magazine was deliberately provided by the station for prospective passengers to read, which is important now that he will not feel bored anymore because there is something to keep him busy before the train arrives.

The faint sound of a train moving closer was like the wheels of an old sewing machine. The man got up from his seat. He also took the magazine with him. Arriving in one of the carriages, he also chose a seat in the row that was almost no different from the seat he had occupied on the previous train. He found that the atmosphere in the carriage was also deserted from passengers, but he didn't care, just busied himself with reading the magazine he was holding until he heard the sound of the conductor's footsteps checking passengers, but the conductor only arrived at the door, nodding his head at him, he said, "It's a quiet night, isn't it?" At first the man felt strange when he heard the words that flashed through his head as a sentence he had heard before, but he immediately greeted the conductor's words with the same sentence, "—yes, a lonely night". The man's mind was actually still stuck with that sentence, but he immediately dismissed all the things that were playing in his head, until finally the train's movement seemed to slow down. The man breathed a sigh of relief. It's been a long night, he thought. He finally arrived.

When he stepped down, the conductor waved at him from one of the carriages with a smile. The man was silent for a moment and thought that the pale-faced conductor's smile seemed a bit strange. He remembered the smile of the previous train conductor. That smile, if you remember it even feels scary. It was a very wide smile, curved like a crescent moon and the corners of the lips almost reaching the eye sockets. Eyes narrow and thin, the man thought. He immediately dismissed all the things that began to swirl in his head, then immediately walked to the end of the platform, looking for the main door, so he could find the bus stop that he would be riding in later. At a glance, his eyes caught the chair in the corner. His brow furrowed. There was a magazine, which according to his vision lay in the exact same position as the one he had left in the train he had just boarded. He tried to get rid of all the things that were hanging in his head, but in fact he found something odd. The chair looked exactly like the chair on the previous platform. To confirm what he saw just now, he immediately turned around, headed towards it, hoping that what he saw earlier was wrong. He was starting to convince himself that his eyes were tired from spending all day in front of the computer where he works, which is a sales agency, as a data entry clerk, but the closer he got, the more he seemed to be starting to believe that everything he saw was true. It's exactly the same chair. A wooden chair with both elbows eaten by termites, and a foam cushion covered in maroon velvet, with two holes in the middle. He even saw the same flyer stuck to the right post of the chair. Without waiting for time, he immediately half ran to the chair where the magazine was, and saw what he found. In his hand was now the same old magazine. The same cover, and the contents of the same sheet. He even found one page folded, just like the folded pages in the magazine he had found earlier. What exactly is going on? The man began to look around, but there was no one he could turn to for directions because the platform was completely uninhabited, just like the two previous platforms.

While being confused, suddenly heard the sound of a train approaching. The man thought, he must be experiencing what is called deja vu. When the train had arrived, and was right in front of him with the carriage door open, he thought, if it was true that he was on the same platform, meaning he was still far from home, then without thinking, he immediately got into the train, but still don't forget to reach for the magazine lying on the chair. Once inside, he began to think whether he should choose another row of seats, but it didn't make sense to believe what was going on. The man finally chose the same chair. This time he wasn't going to read the magazine, just holding it, and he was going to get ready, because he was sure that the conductor would be standing there, at the door joining the two carriages, nodding and saying the same thing. Certainly. The man was very sure. Unfortunately, the conductor didn't come, but he still waited until the train slowed down a bit. The man thought that what had happened just now was a dream. What actually happened was that he fell asleep while the train was running. What he thought was right, he was now on the right platform. All he had to do was walk straight out the main door to reach the bus stop before he got home, but before stepping out, he had time to leave the magazine he was holding on one of the chairs on the platform. When the man had disappeared at the end of the platform, someone was seen sitting on one of the platform chairs. The man in the shirt seemed to have just come home from work. The clock on his hand showed 11 o'clock. Because he was starting to feel bored, while waiting for the train to come to pick him up, his heart was moved to pick up an old magazine that was lying on one of the chairs. A moment later, the faint sound of a train approaching | This short story was inspired by one of the past The Ink Well's prompts "The Way Home"



Tittle The Way Home (Deja vu)
Author @mosin-nagant

⍟versi Bahasa Indonesia⍟

Adalah seorang laki-laki berkemeja yang sedang duduk di salah satu kursi peron kereta api sedang menunggu giliran jadwal penjemputan kereta api sambil membaca sebuah majalah tua yang barusan ditemukannya tergeletak di salah satu kursi. Jam di tangannya menunjukkan pukul 11 malam. Peron tersebut tampak sepi, sementara pria itu terus menyibukkan diri dengan membaca beberapa artikel yang ada di dalam majalah. Akhirnya kereta api yang ditunggu-tunggu pun tiba juga, lelaki itu segera memasuki gerbong, menduduki kursi pada deret terakhir, kendati sebenarnya ia bisa memilih kursi manasuka, karena gerbong tersebut sama sekali tidak berpenghuni. Ia tidak merasa aneh sedikit pun dengan suasana sepi di gerbong kereta api tersebut, padahal biasanya tetap ada beberapa penumpang pada jam malam seperti itu. Padahal ini hari Selasa, pikir lelaki tersebut, tetapi ia tidak lagi mengambil pusing soal itu, dan ia pun kembali larut, membolak-balik lembar majalah yang ada di tangannya. Beberapa saat kemudian, sang kondektur muncul di ujung sana. Ia menganggukkan kepala, juga disambut dengan anggukan kepala kepada penumpang tersebut. "Malam yang sepi, bukan?" ucap sang kondektur. "—ya, malam yang sepi," sambut lelaki itu, kemudian kembali larut membaca majalah, sementara kesunyian yang hadir di gerbong tersebut seakan tenggelam dalam suara mesin kereta api yang terus bergerak lurus dalam kecepatan sedang.

Gerakan kereta api yang ditumpanginya mulai terasa melambat, ia pun bersiap untuk turun. Ia sempat melihat sang kondektur berdiri melambaikan tangan kepadanya dengan sebuah senyuman dari salah satu gerbong. Lelaki itu pun berjalan menuju ke salah satu kursi yang disediakan di peron kereta api tersebut, karena kini ia mesti menunggu satu penjemputan kereta api lagi sebelum tiba ke distrik di mana ia tinggal. Setelah duduk beberapa saat, ia mulai merasa bosan, dan butuh sesuatu untuk mengisi rasa bosannya. Ia ingat bahwa ia telah meninggalkan majalah yang ia temukan di peron sebelumnya di dalam kereta api yang baru saja dituruninya, tetapi ia segera merasa beruntung setelah melihat sebuah majalah tergeletak di salah satu kursi tidak jauh dari tempatnya duduk. Dalam hati ia berkata, Oh Tuhan, betapa baiknya pemilik yang sengaja meninggalkan majalah itu untuk dibaca oleh orang lain, terlebih dalam waktu yang begitu membosankan seperti sekarang. Ketika ia hendak memungut majalah tersebut, ia baru tersadar bahwa kover dan isinya sama persis dengan majalah yang ia ambil di peron sebelumnya. Ah, aku tidak peduli, pikirnya. Kemungkinan besar majalah tersebut sengaja disediakan oleh pihak stasiun untuk dibaca para calon penumpang, yang penting saat ini ia tidak akan merasa bosan lagi karena ada sesuatu yang bisa membuatnya sibuk sebelum kereta api tiba.

Samar-samar suara kereta api terdengar bergerak mendekat seperti roda mesin jahit tua. Lelaki itu pun bersiap bangkit dari tempat duduknya. Ia turut membawa serta majalah tadi bersamanya. Sesampai di dalam salah satu gerbong, ia pun memilih kursi di deret yang hampir tidak berbeda dengan kursi yang ia duduki di kereta api sebelumnya. Ia menemukan bahwa suasana di gerbong tersebut juga sepi dari penumpang, tetapi ia tidak ambil peduli, cuma menyibukkan diri dengan membaca majalah yang tengah dipegangnya sampai ia mendengar suara langkah sepatu sang kondektur yang sedang melakukan pemeriksaan penumpang, namun sang kondektur hanya sampai di pintu saja, sambil menganggukkan kapala kepadanya, ia berkata, "malam yang sepi, bukan?" Awalnya lelaki itu sempat merasa aneh ketika mendengar perkataan yang terlintas di dalam kepalanya sebagai kalimat yang pernah ia dengar sebelumnya, tetapi ia segera menyambut ucapan kondektur itu dengan kalimat yang sama pula, "—ya, malam yang sepi". Pikiran lelaki itu sebenarnya masih terganjal oleh kalimat tersebut, tetapi ia segera menepis semua hal yang bermain di dalam kepalanya, sampai akhirnya gerakan kereta api itu terasa melambat. Lelaki itu menghela napas lega. Malam yang cukup panjang, pikirnya. Ia akhirnya sampai.

Ketika ia melangkah turun, sang kondektur sempat melambai kepadanya dari salah gerbong dengan senyuman. Lelaki itu terdiam sesaat dan berpikir bahwa senyum kondektur berwajah pucat itu terasa agak aneh. Ia ingat senyuman kondektur kereta api sebelumnya. Senyuman itu, jika diingat-ingat malah terasa menakutkan. Itu sebuah senyuman yang amat lebar, dengan bentuk melengkung seperti bulan sabit serta kedua ujung bibir yang hampir mencapai kantung mata. Mata yang sipit dan tipis, pikir lelaki itu. Ia pun segera menampik semua hal yang mulai berputar di dalam kepalanya, lalu segera melangkah menuju ke ujung peron, mencari pintu utama, agar ia bisa menemukan halte bus yang akan ditumpanginya nanti. Sekilas, matanya menangkap kursi yang ada di sudut. Keningnya berkerut. Di sana terdapat sebuah majalah, yang menurut penglihatannya tergeletak dengan posisi yang sama persis dengan majalah yang sebelumnya ia tinggalkan di dalam kereta api yang baru saja ditumpanginya. Ia mencoba menepis semua hal yang tengah bergelayutan di dalam kepalanya, tetapi faktanya ia malah menemukan sebuah keganjilan. Kursi itu terlihat sama persis seperti kursi yang ada di peron sebelumnya. Untuk meyakinkan apa yang dilihatnya barusan, ia pun segera berbalik, menuju ke sana, berharap apa dilihatnya tadi salah. Ia mulai meyakinkan dirinya sendiri bahwa matanya sedang kelelahan karena seharian berada di depan komputer di tempatnya bekerja, yaitu sebuah agensi penjualan, sebagai petugas pengentri data, tetapi semakin ia mendekat, rasa-rasanya ia mulai yakin bahwa semua yang dilihatnya itu memang benar. Itu persis kursi yang sama. Kursi kayu dengan kedua siku yang telah dimakan oleh rayap, serta bantalan dari busa yang dilapisi kain beludru merah marun, dengan dua buah lubang di tengah. Ia bahkan melihat brosur yang sama tertempel di tiang sebelah kanan kursi tersebut. Tanpa menunggu waktu, ia segera setengah berlari ke kursi di mana majalah tersebut berada, dan lihat apa yang ditemukannya. Di tangannya kini terdapat sebuah majalah tua yang sama. Kover yang sama, serta isi lembaran yang sama. Ia bahkan menemukan satu halaman dilipat, persis seperti lipatan halaman pada majalah yang ia temukan sebelumnya. Apa sebenarnya yang sedang terjadi? Lelaki itu mulai melihat ke sekeliling, namun tidak ada satu pun orang yang bisa ia mintai petunjuk karena peron tersebut memang tidak berpenghuni sama sekali, sama seperti dua peron sebelumnya.

Saat sedang kebingungan, tiba-tiba terdengar suara kereta api mendekat. Lelaki itu berpikir, dia pasti sedang mengalami apa yang disebut dengan dejavu. Ketika kereta api itu telah tiba, dan berada tepat di hadapannya dengan pintu gerbong yang terbuka, ia berpikir, jika benar ia sedang berada peron yang sama, artinya ia masih jauh dari rumah, maka tanpa berpikir panjang, ia pun segera masuk ke dalam kereta api, tetapi tetap tidak lupa meraih majalah yang tergeletak di kursi. Sesampai di dalam, ia mulai berpikir, apakah ia harus memilih barisan kursi yang lain, tetapi rasanya tidak masuk akal untuk memercayai segala sesuatu yang tengah berlangsung ini. Lelaki itu pun akhirnya memilih kursi yang sama. Kali ini ia tidak akan membaca majalah tersebut, hanya menggenggamnya, dan ia akan bersiap-siap, karena ia yakin bahwa sang kondektur itu akan berdiri di sana, di pintu yang menyatukan antara kedua gerbong, mengangguk lalu mengucapkan kalimat bahwa yang sama. Pasti. Lelaki itu sangat yakin. Sayangnya, sang kondektur tidak datang-datang juga, tetapi ia masih menunggu sampai akhirnya kereta api bergerak agak melambat. Lelaki itu berpikir bahwa sebenarnya yang terjadi barusan adalah mimpi. Yang sebenarnya terjadi ialah ia tertidur selama kereta api berjalan. Apa yang dipikirkannya ternyata benar, ia kini berada di peron yang tepat. Ia tinggal melangkah lurus keluar melalui pintu utama untuk mencapai halte bus yang akan ia tumpangi sebelum sampai ke rumah, tetapi sebelum melangkah keluar, ia sempat meninggalkan majalah yang dipegangnya di salah satu kursi yang ada di peron. Ketika lelaki itu telah menghilang di ujung peron, seseorang terlihat duduk di salah satu kursi peron. Pria berkemeja itu agaknya baru saja pulang dari tempat kerja. Jam di tangannya menunjukkan pukul 11 malam. Karena ia mulai merasa bosan, sambil menunggu kereta api datang menjemput, hatinya tergerak untuk mengambil sebuah majalah tua yang tergeletak di salah satu kursi. Sesaat kemudian, samar-samar suara kereta api terdengar mendekat | Cerpen ini terinspirasi dari salah satu prompt mingguan The Ink Well sebelumnya "The Way Home"



Judul The Way Home (Deja vu)
Penulis @mosin-nagant

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