Forever Fifty

Bulan Februari yang lalu, tepatnya ketika Mama saya berulang tahun yang ke-50, saya membeli sebuah buku kumpulan puisi berjudul Forever Fifty karya seorang ibu, Judith Viorst, di salah satu toko buku loak di Bandung. Buku tersebut berisi puisi-puisi yang terbagi dalam tiga chapter: Fifty, Still Fifty dan Forever Fifty. Saya memilih untuk membaca satu puisi sebelum memutuskan untuk membelinya. Puisi pertama dalam chapter Fifty: You Say You Want to Know How Old I Am?

I don’t mind telling my age. I honestly don’t mind telling my age.

But why are you asking?

I don’t pretend I’m still young. I don’t except to be thought of as young.

So why are you asking?

I never lie about age. It’s undignified to lie about age.

But why are you asking?

We’re only as old as we feel. You know we’re only as old as we feel.

So why are you asking?

I’m told I look good for my age. I’m often told I look good for my age.

Now why are you asking?

No, I’m not ashamed of my age. And if you insist, I’ll tell you my age.

You’re what? Still asking?

Dan saya pun tertawa terbahak dan tersadar, I want more.

I want more looks at what it’s like to be (gulp) fifty.

Postmortems, To a Middle-Aged Friend Considering Adultery with a Younger Man, How Can People Want to Bring Children into This Terrible World berturut-turut membuat saya terus terbahak, dan sesekali menitikkan air mata.

“Saya beli ini”, straight to seller.

Setelah membaca keseluruhan isinya, saya hanya terdiam. Memikirkan apa yang Mama sedang lakukan, apa yang sedang ia pikirkan. Apa yang sedang ia khawatirkan. Apa yang sedang ia tertawakan. Apakah ia bahagia di umur 50nya. Apakah ia masih mencintai Papa.

Apakah ia seorang Judith Viorst, si sinis si sarkastik, tertawa dalam tangisannya, menangis dalam tawanya? Apakah realita membunuhnya perlahan? Apakah ia bahagia?

Saya di usia 22 pun menangis, mendoakannya kebahagiaan di usia 50 dan seterusnya.

Saya bimbang, berharap doa saya terkabul.

Saya pun tenang, disertai amin.



Is a clean bill of health from the doctor,

And the kids shouldn’t move back home for

more than a year,

And not being audited, overdrawn, in Wilkes-Barre,

in a lawsuit or in traction.


Is falling asleep without Valium,

And having two breasts to put in my brassiere,

And not (yet) needing to get my blood pressure lowered,

my eyelids raised or a second opinion.

And on Saturday nights

When my husband and I have rented something with Fred Astaire for the VCR,

And we’re sitting around in our robes discussing

the state of the world, back exercises, our Keoghs,

and whether to fix the transmission or buy a new car,

and we’re eating a pint of rum-raisin ice cream

on the grounds that

Tomorrow we’re starting a diet of fish, fruit and grain,

And my dad’s in Miami dating a very nice widow,

And no one we love is in serious trouble or pain,

And our bringing-up-baby days are far behind us,

But our senior-citizen days have not begun,

It’s not what I called happiness

when I was twenty-one,

But it’s turning out to be

what happiness is.

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