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The Funeral

October 1, 2014

It was a grey afternoon when I walk outside. It is going to rain, again, the clouds are hanging up there like a… well, like a cloud in the sky when it is going to rain. I can’t seem to get a right metaphor on this, but hell. It is grey, gloomy, with occasional thunders. It is scary, no doubt about it, but I have to go out. I really I have to. If I don’t, I’m not a human, or maybe, I’m not humane. You know, the adjective of being a human. If I don’t go, I might take a human form, but inside, I am not. People will say I am a monster. These people are the extremist, the extreme humanist, kind of people that I hate. Judging others that is not as humane as they are, classify them as a monster. And then Some will say that I am an ignorant. I ignore the ethic, and the morale, and the social code, and everything. I don’t really care though, people already hated me anyway. Those who said that would be the moral enforcer. Always talk about something like that. But hey, is it ethical to judge someone when you don’t know what that someone really means ? No I don’t think so. I don’t fancy them too.  And finally, there’s these people, who will just simply saying that ‘oh, so you’re busy ?’. Right on. My kind of people, I like them. If you live long enough, you’ll find people like these. These 3 kinds of people with much variations of course. Each of their mouths will be different, but in essence, well, I can only classify them into these categories.

Anyway, I was walking into one of my  Professor’s funeral. She died last night. Cause of death: asphyxiation, the methods; police haven’t decided, but there’s a slight chance of suicide, or homicide.  Suicide or homicide. Definitely two worst way to die. From some policemen I asked lately –they’re my father’s friends, it can be ruled out as a homicide if they can prove that her husband is not guilty. The husband seems to be at shock they said. Shock can be mean he’s shocked by the death of his wife, or simply, shock of killing for the first time. So, it is either her own hand, or her husband’s. Maybe, two pairs of hands that she trusted most in this world. I don’t know her relationship with her husband, she never told me, or us, seven of us, as her apprentice. She was my professor at college. She taught the Cultural Science. Seven of us was on her class back there, three of us are even their apprentice. And yes, I was not alone. It was seven of us together walking over there.

The gravel are all wet and slippery, along with the usual smell the earth gave us when it poured upon. What was that ? A Petrichor ? The earthy smell after the rain is called petrichor ?  The trees are holding the raindrops on it’s branches, forming a beautiful  blob of water in each end. One of us almost slipped a few times. Of course, it must be hard to walk with higheels in this kind of situations. And we have to walk fast, since the funeral is going to start soon. It might be too quick, but the autopsy was clear and quick, one snap on the neck to end her life. The papers are also quick, so her family can bring her body back as soon as possible, and she’s going to be burried in exactly 20 hours after they found her body. It is now only half an hour to be at that exact time. We have to hurry. And why do we walk ? Because we have to park our vehicle way before our campus in UNPAD Dipatiukur, we have to park around Jalan Teuku Umar, because the parking was full. It has to, she’s a respected professor, many people want to see her go.

I don’t want to go. Seriously, I kind of don’t understand why people are eager to see someone leaving this world. Okay maybe ‘for the last time’ sake, but if you believe in God, you’ll meet them anyway in heaven. Or hell. Or anywhere it is. And that’s the exact reason I don’t really want to come here. It was a peer pressure. I don’t blame it though, it has been a while since seven of us met the last time. We met at a friend’s wedding. He was from a same class. His name is Hikari. Kinda weird as Hikari used to be a Japanese name for a girl, I don’t know why, but he doesn’t seem to bother to bear that name. You can always be a Muhammad Fahmi or something, and doesn’t have to be an Arabian. It is kinda sad to see how at this age, mid twenties, death and marriage are two things that can held friends together.

It is a very long walk, maybe around 1 kilo meter. To get a parking in such close distance is almost a miracle. Cars are all over the Teuku Umar Street and Dipatiukur street, assuming that the main parking lot in UNPAD are not available for public. VVIP only. We are all walking together to the funeral, all of us wears black, except Adhir who wears a simple batik shirt because he have to go directly from work. Why do I wear black ? It is simply because I always wear black. The other ? I don’t know, they just do. We didn’t say a word along the walk. It is just too depressing. Me, Adhir, and this one girl Dwi are the apprentice of the professor. To be roughly said, she graduated us. We won’t be a bachelor without her. Three of us have a different thought about our subject, International Relations. We are all agree that you can’t survive the globalization if you don’t adapt into it, which mean, you have to shift your stance from a traditional view, into a more advanced one. It is always from the high politics into low politics, something like that. These advanced views are hardly accepted by other professors here, except by her, she always ahead of others.

Maybe I’ll just introduce the seven of us now, it might buy you time before we reach the funeral, and wonder what will happen next. The first one is Adhir. A man with lanky posture, his hair is getting white in his twenties, in which why he is being called ‘gramps’ –short for grampa, a slang word from grandpapa or granddad, and he has this kind of wrinkles on his face. No wonder. He’s the one that wears batik today. Next one is Dwi. A short chubby woman with funny hair cuts. A bob. Her eyes always give you something like an empty share sometimes, but the other times it gives a lively, lovely stare, adjusting with her mood. She wears a black hoodie with white T-Shirt of her favorite band, I believe it is Opeth or something, I don’t know, it’s been awhile since I’ve been there, those kind of musics. Adhir and Dwi walks in front of these next two people, they’re Tantra and Christin. Tantra is short in posture, he have a babyface but he wears facial hairs, so it is like seeing a balding –yeah, he’s starting to lose his hair due to a mistreatment he got few years ago, baby with brutal beard. Fascinating. He wears a black suit, black tie, with serious expression on his face ‘we have to give the highest honor to her,’ he said. Still, I don’t get it, she wouldn’t see you anyway, she’s dead. And her family doesn’t know you. Walking beside Tantra is Christin. Arguably the most attractive among us in both gender. Slim and fitted, the prototype of ‘beauty’ (although the professor would totallya angry if we say so, since for her, beauty is only a construction people made for cosmetics. I do think so too though, but hell, yes, Christin is beautiful). With long and wavy hair as an accesories to her oriental face, she’s a candy to the eyes. She is wearing a blouse and skirt, with higheels. Right behind Tantra and Christin are Lisa and Erlang. You can always say that both have somewhat a chemistry. They share a same ‘smell’. And by smell, I didn’t mean the smell you recognize by nose, but, well, it is just feel right. You know, sometimes you can just feel it is right by just feeling it. Lisa is  girl with an average stature. Her skin is pale, I don’t know why, she used to walk her dog outside, so her skin feed to sunlight quite often, she have this mushroom shaped haircut on her big head which remind me of the cloud mushroom as the excess of nuclear warfare, which I found quite interesting. She wears a black shirt and trousers, kinda reminded me of when she took her final paper’s proposal. Walking beside her, kinda clumsy, or simply tense by the situation in which an attractive girl is walking beside him, a man with another average stature, curly hair with a dash of white in there (I don’t know why but the dudes here are all, but me, have hair problems), his face is rounded and kinda oily, it is like seeing a live action version of Anpanman, a famous Japanese cartoon figure. And he wears a same kind of outfit with Lisa. This is why I say that there is a chemistry between them. But I don’t really want to talk about it. And finally, the one who walk behind all of them is me. Deva. I’m a fat, tall guy with a broccoli shaped hair, trying to fix my trousers which seems to be loosen up since I’m losing weight. Seriously, although my weight has been down dramatically, I’m still fat. And I don’t know why is it dramatic. I wear black jacket and black troussers and a red-black Adidas Darth Vader shoes anyway.

Seven of us are close friends back in college. We used to trade our digital storage, what we’ve downloaded back at home, what we wanted to watch in case one of us have it. Of course it is illegal, but we’re happy to call ourselves pirates. Of course this is an excess of anything that we learned at college. How capitalism sucks out everything out of the third world country like our’s. Let’s say that being a pirate is a revenge against them. Which is utterly stupid, and I’d say less effective. Although there are some articles that suggest digital piracy is dangerous. But we don’t care, it is all the media said.

Since the emotion is getting too tense, I decided that I’ll break the ice. But still, it will be cold, and unpleasant. We are going to a funeral anyway. “Hey, the sky is crying too, mourning her loss, what a great person she was. I’m so gonna miss her.”

“Yeah, of course you’re going to miss her, you’ve been discussing almost anything with her these past two years” said Lisa

“Don’t forget what she always said to you Dev, never stop thinking” said Adhir while looking his own shoes, well maybe not his shoes, he’s just facing down, a sign of mourn. By walking on the side of the road ? No, that’s dangerous

“I… I can’t believe she’s.. she’s gone…” tears choked Dwi’s words.

“no one can believe one’s death Dwi, except when..” Christin suddenly stopped and I bump to her. “Stop it”. She said.

I know she means good, but Hey, I don’t want to remember her right now, I’m just making small talks. Don’t get too sentimental, we can be sentimental and all longing her at the funeral.

“you know, I almost have no memories of her, I only took one of class, and skip it so much, didn’t we Tantra ?” says Erlang poking Tantra’s shoulder.

“yeah of course, it is never been our sharp point these kind of things, but still, I respect her in every way possible. She was a great woman, I admire her.” Said Tantra

I used to mock Tantra for his taste for an older woman, but I believe, this is not the right time. There are always time to mock someone, but this one is not that kind of time.

“man, I wish she can see us now, Dwi, Adhir. We’ve gone this far, we’ll be good enough in front of her eyes, her apprentice, have finally become ‘somebody’.” I said, trying to be as normal as what other people want me to.

“well, we’re still basically nothing, but I’d say that she will be proud that we’re starting to build our future” Adhir said while looking something from his pocket. I don’t what, and I don’t really care. And Dwi, which I included to the conversation seems to be at lost of her word. It took her hard and harsh. The professor is the one who alway gives her an enlightning spirit. I know this professor is a remarkable motivator, I do feel it too, but I’m not a type that really need so much motivator, Dwi is. That’s why she lost her so much. After that, we chattted about our memories with her, which is so much

We’ve walked ¾ way to the funeral, when a speeding car hit watter puddle near us, and of course the water splashed. “FUCKTARDS !!” I screamed, I want to chase the car but it is impossible, it is a car, run by an engine , I’m a human run by a pair of legs, enginereed by lungs and heart which I seriously think mine is sucks, I rearely excercised,  so I just decided to mock it in the rest of the way, while some of them also cursed them, and the other, well, everybody cursed that damned car. I don’t know why the car is in such a hurry, but from the look of it, it seems to be an ambulance kind of thing, the shaped does resembles an ambulance, but the coloring is just not, and there is no giant AMBULANCE writing on it. So it might not be an ambulance. I do see radiaton mark there though.

“did you see that mark ?” I said

“radiation mark ?” asked Erlang back at me

“yea, yea, yea, it is radiation mark, indeed” I answer Erlang with confidence

“where’s it going ? what happened ?” asked Adhir curiously

“I don’t know, try to look on twitter” I responded while opening my twitter client on the phone. It is useless, no info on anything. Hmmh, maybe it’s just a stupid people driving a car with make-believe radiation mark on it.

We finally arrived at the Dipatiukur campus. The funeral will be held at the Graha Sanusi. The grand auditorium of our university. It is located in the most Western part of the campus. I don’t know why, but it is in a very comfortable position. The roof is high, the windows are awesome as always, and the flags of each faculty are there in the pole, sending shivers down anyone’s spine if they’re a part of the big UNPAD family.  It is as majestic as always. The Graha Sanusi is always our home, we’ve received here as a student, and also graduated here –six years after the receival. It is where we came, and it is where we left. It is where we start, it is where we finish.

The door wasn’t close. Of course, why would you let a door closed in a public funeral like this ?. Anyway, the funeral might goes like this (I’m only assuming since I’ve never been into an academic funeral): you came, see her remains, pray for her, sit, hearing what the preacher said, usually about heaven and hell and good deeds and bad deeds, everything surrounding that, typical, and then the rector jumps in, telling how great she was, and then finally, the family, I never know the professor’s family, but we’ll see.  As we get inside, it was a total silence, we were on time. The ceremony haven’t started. There are some empty seat left, we took the one on the back row, since the front seat are all full. We even have to move some chairs to be seated together, thankfully, the guys in the group aren’t lazy enough to drag the chairs that it will make this annoying screeching sound, it will make us a center of attention, it will be embarassing. This room used to be full of voices, numerous small chit chats that sounds like a rain, and occasional laughing sounded like thunder. It used to be a happy, bright, prideful room. But it is now all gloomy, with occasional sobbing, grieving, mourning, letting someone go back to meet her creator. It is sad. And that is another reason to not come to a funeral. It is sad. I don’t like seeing something sad, I cried watching Toy Story 3.

There are some faces I recognize there, my seniors, juniors, other professors and lecturers, nobody seems to have their happy faces on. Although some of them are chuckling, and people are looking at the chucklers with judging eyes. I don’t mind though, maybe they’re bored. I’m trying to be nice here, I pretend to be nice, although in fact, I’m sad, and the only way to escape the sadness is to laugh, not to stay here, remembering her deeds and stuff. I’ve done that the first time I pick up my phone to here “Dev , we have a very, very sad news, Professor Vivi has just passed away.” It was like a thunder in the middle of a dry, cloudless desert. I always respected her, she’s nice, she’s smart, although sometimes she’s harsh, but it is solely for her student. I choked and cried a bit. And that’s it, I’ve mourned for her. I don’t need to show it in front of her remains. She’s gone. She won’t feel a thing. Her brain has stop from being functioning. It can’t coordinate all of her senses, all of her organs anymore. Maybe. Nobody knows what it feels like to be dead. Truly dead. Has she gone to the afterworld ? I don’t know, nobody knows. Divine voices guaranteed it, I believe it, but still, not empirically proven as she would say. She always say that she believe in God, but never practice the ritual. And when this kind of time come, she wanted to be burried as her parents were, in a their religious tradition. “it is the only thing I can give –culturally, to my parents.” I quoted her.

The ceremony has finally started, the murmuring chat stopped, the few sobs continue. Dwi is one of the loudest with her sobs there, I see Lisa and Christin are holding her hands. Her both hands. It must be really though for her. It has been only a week since her favorite cat, Tama died. Tama got slammed by the door in her neighbor’s house. The neighbor was fighting intensely, dishes are flying, curses are flying, nothing’s good from that, Dwi said. And in all that unfortunate even, Tama was going to get into the neighbor’s house, she’s a cat anyway, she doesn’t understand, maybe she can’t even differs between a fighting couple and a couple who plays badminton, she just went over when the door slammed and splat her body inside out. It was brutal, bloody, and stinky. I’m not comparing a person’s death to a cat’s death, but it just simply add the sadness. Dwi is sad when her Tama died, she’s getting sadder as one of her favorite teacher of all time died. It is a simple mathematic addition progress; sad plus sad equal sad sad or sadder. To be better it has to be added by a positive thing, like what I said earlier, laughter, sad plus laugh equal sad laugh or well, lauging means happy, so less sad. Just like that. But I can’t say that, human’s feeling cannot be quantified. We’re not a field of study, we’re the student.

Adhir, Erlang, and Tantra are watching the preacher seriously. It is weird, they used not to give a damn to religion. But this time, they’re serious. Really serious when I poked each of them, they repels my hand, as my hand was an insect trying to suck their blood. Maybe they feel it is time to go back to the religious way ? Death always give that kind of message. The basic concept of a religion is, there’s another world beyond this world we’re living in. And in that world, there will be a good place and bad place. The good place is the one where you can be eternally happy, the other one is where you can be eternally damned. How to get there is to die, and you’ll be transferred there. It is different for many religions, but, it will surely come after you died. And then, which one you’ll get, the good one or the bad one, will be based on what you did on your current life. If you disobey the order from the religion, you’ll go the bad one, and vice viersa. It is one of the thing, other than law (this would include the law-law, the ethical, moral, etc.) made by human that controls and justify a human action. But justifying it should be just God’s right. But you know, there are people thinks that they’re Godly. Adhir, Erlang, and Tantra seem like they’re starting to think that “what IF, it is right all along ?” It has to be strong at the IF. Since nobody can really prove the existance of that place, the only thing that can prove it is faith. I think it is good to have faith, sometimes, it superstitiously driving us into doing something that we thought we will never be able to. It is just amazing. God makes human amazed of themselves. Which is also pretty amazing.

As I wander about life and death, the time flies, Tantra reminded me as it has already time to say the final goodbye to the Professor (‘s remains). We will all walk over to her beautifully carved wooden box that carries her (although it will not be used for the burial, since in her religous way, she would be then wrapped in a shroud, and being burried under, but for now, she’s not being shroud yet, maybe it is the academic funeral way), flowers are everywhere. I think she would be happy to have such bed in her room. The line to see her is pretty long. Like a bunch of people who lined up to see the president in the Lebaran day. It is quite normal, people respected her, although there are some chucklers, I should think that these chucklers have no respect towards her, but who am I to judge ?. As I move within the line, I can’t help but hearing people wishpering beside me, it is my senior. 2 years ahead of me, I know them, but I don’t know their name. I know their faces, since they both look like a bipedal horse, a horse with human body. I hate them since they were shouting at me at the freshmen years, they’re a part of what so called ‘Security Council’ in the orientation time. They’re wishpering “did you see her moving ? I clearly see that she moves.” Dead peole doesn’t move, idiot. But as the line is getting shorter and shorter, many of the people are actually saying the same thing like “her mouth moves”, “she’s blinking”, or “her fingers move”, which I think are utterly stupid. You guys watched tv too much, it makes you stupid. And that is when suddenly all hell break loose.

The professor (remains ?) Suddenly stand in her death box, screaming inaudibly, madly “GRAUHARADUHAUDAIJDAINDAIJDIAJAODKAPKWUAGBSOBGQIP QW” I don’t know what it means, and jumped, literally JUMPED rom the box. It was a big leap, right on to the floor. One of my lecturer, Mr. Jonathan come close to her, and screamed “Professor, you’re alive ! Professor !!!” no, stupid, it is cleary NOT the professor, it is clearly NOT human.  It is neither a he or she, it is an it. NOT HUMAN. FUCK. As he grabbed it, it grabbed him back and start eating his face out. It was gross, Dwi fainted, Christin closed her eyes, while Lisa and the guys are starting in awe. I bet they’re thinking “whoa, zombie !” but it is clearly not something cool, not something funny, because it is real, and it is kill, as Mr. Jonathan is now lied down on the floor, lifeless (I can confirmed that, half of his face are missing, brains are hanging out from under his cranial skull, the bite must have been so strong). It was a chaos, everybody are running towards the door. It was a stampede. I bet there are people die being trampled in the door, and that is teh exact reason I don’t move from my current spot, and I’m telling my friends to do the same thing.

The professor, or whatever it is does exactly looks like the professor. It his her body, on her toga, just as what she wore on my graduation, as she’s the member of the university senate, it is her face, her hairs, but it is definitely not her. It is either her impostor, or her with different soul. Her eyes are all but the sclera, the white part. Her mouth are bloody, probably because of the face of Mr. Jonathan she ate before, and her movement is like, what should I say, rag doll ? No, zombie. It is definitely a zombie. Sounds cliche but it is. IT. FUCKING. IS.

“okay guys, zombie”. I said

“it’s happening, dude it’s happening !” said Erlang in excitement

Adhir just stood there,  still in awe, while Tantra is panically “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK”, Christin is trying to wake Dwi up, Dwi has been out since I’m pretty sure it is her mental ‘safe mode’, if she didn’t passed out, she might just gone banana and EAT the zombie. Lisa is also there trying to wake up Dwi, it is impossible to carry her if we’re going to escape. She’s big, and all of us are weak.

It was all chaotic when suddenly a clear man voice screaming “THERE SHE IS, IT’S MY WIFE ! IT’S MY WIFE, AS WHAT I SAID, I STRANGLED HER WHEN SHE WAS ABOUT TO BIT ME BACK THERE, I’M NOT LYING, SHE BITES ! THE BITCH BITES !” It was then accompanied by another man’s voice “okay Sir, calm down, we have this under control.” The man who screamed that it is her wife wears a black radiation suite, while the one who calmed him down is a man with a white radiation suite. He wasn’t alone, another men with white radiation suites are there too. Six of them, they’re coming from the edge of the room, rushing through the stampede, I don’t know how they managed it, but I think they’re that trained. They get in front of us in no time and starts shooting her with hand guns. I pretty now much about hand guns, I played so many video games that depicts real hand guns. It was all Glock. I don’t know what type, but I know it is glocks. They started shooting her  (or it ?) on the head, the chest where there used to be heart in there, and it definitely brought it (or her ?) to it’s end. They also shoot Mr. Jonathan’s remain. Wow, that’s cruel. Being eaten by a zombie, and then shot by human. What a wonderful way to die. It is a sarcasm, of course. They’re examining the body and revealed a big rash like spot on her stomach. But then one of them coming towards us, “get out, get out, nothing to see here, OUT ! or we’ll shoot you” He said in a high tone. “hey, that’s our professor, treat her well asshole !”, “that WAS your professor, OUT !”. They shoved us. Okay, come one fuckhead, we have one person fainted here, two mentally brokedowns, and four got amazed, you don’t have to be that rude.

As we left the building, it is the ambulance that splashed the puddle of water on us, the one with radiation mark, parked just right over the big main door. Okay, I think things are starting to patch up. Inside, the man with black radiation suite, which I assume that he is the husband  of my professor, crying. With my deduction skill, I can conclude that she became that the night that she died, the husband surprised, strangled her to death, and makes it like a suicide. It is in act of a self defense, so I guess, it is justifiable to kill in such way. But then, things are coming through my mind, okay, let’s say that it is zombie. I never see them on tv, such news. Is it new ? No. The ambulance, and the suites, the squads, it was all well prepared. They knew it is going to happen. But why ? How, how can one be zombies ? The Last of Us style ? The mushrooms ? Or Resident Evil style, the T-Virus ? Or anything else, aliens, parasite ? I don’t know. All things in my mind are boggling up as we all walk up towards our parked car. Dwi is finally conscious, and we decided not to tell her what happened back there. Yet. She have to know though. She have rights to know, and someday, rights to brag that she survived this. It was all silent when suddenly, an announcement was made from the amblance’s speaker (it was only like 200 m, so we can still hear them). “THIRD CONFIRMED SUBJECT, IT IS HAPPENING, WE’RE SHUTTING DOWN THE CITY.”

And that is how the lockdown started. It all started from a funeral. Or it might have been started long before that, but ours, it is from the funeral.

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