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20 December 2010

actus dei

This flash fiction is a contest submission for Kilat!, a competition hosted by the world-famous Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. You can find the story here. I decided to upload it here as well, after all the main objective of Scripta Vita is to compile my writings.
I am proud of this piece because despite of the fact that it didn't manage to win the competition, it has topped in the online polling on the website.

It was quite an achievement for me, an amateur writer who doesn't even have any name in the world of literature, to top the poll of an international-scale competition. This piece was also published in Kilatzine, a magazine that was circulated in the festival.
Enjoy the bite-size dish. At the end of the story I shall spill the meaning behind the story.
My heart was beating fast, racing with the clock as its wands constantly tick and tock. Chill was brought to my spine as both excitement and doubt crept into my nerves. I reached my hand toward the wooden handle.
Is this even right? I told myself. There would be no turning back after this, right?
The door creaked quietly as I pulled it back, taking a step by a step on the porcelain floor. My ears captured the sound of Gregorian chants, sung in harmony by soprano and contralto. I saw petals of roses scattered on the path I was walking in, washed in pink and white. It was beautiful indeed, but my heart still would not calm down.
Oh, God, it felt so surreal to me.
Another door, tightly closed, stood before me, but it did not take long for it to open wide. I walked in, hoping that my gestures were not showing how I really felt about this day. I wish I could run away.
A gulp ran through my throat.
I lifted my face, and there he was, awkwardly dressed in tuxedo, standing before the grand altar dusted in gold, beyond the path of burgundy rug. He was as divine as he could ever be, and when he turned his face to me, I was convinced that an angel possessed every little piece of him. Then a smile was carved under his nose, warmly reaching my stunned heart.
“Here comes the bride,” he mouthed silently, “Eve.”
There were only us in this very moment. I could not care less.
I was trying to depict an "illegal marriage" in this short piece. No, it is not eloping, slightly different. You see, in Indonesia, the term 'nikah siri' is very popular. It is a kind of marriage in which a couple is not bonded officially by court, but by the Moslem laws.
Here is a better definition given by Indonesia Matters:
A 'nikah siri' marriage (often called 'nikah dibawah tangan') entails an Islamic wedding performed by a Muslim 'cleric' not authorised by the Department of Religion to perform marriages, and is often regarded as valid within Islamic law provided that witnesses are present. 'Nikah siri' Namun sangat sering dilakukan cukup diam-diam dan tanpa kehadiran saksi. However very often 'nikah siri' is done fairly secretly and without the presence of witnesses.
I myself am not Moslem, but the theory of the marriage simply intrigue me. I was thinking, what if the same thing were being done by other religions? So I tried to depict one scene of this 'nikah siri'. However, since describing marriage in such a limited space was difficult, I had to go with the easiest and most recognizable set -- a church.
No, this piece had nothing to do with my beliefs or my faith. It is simply a fiction, a fruit of my imagination. I just love experimenting with new ideas, and I realized that it was worth the try. At least I did top the poll, right?
I cannot thank those who had voted and supported me through the competition enough. I am really grateful that I have them all in my life, whether I know them or not! A single vote meant a lot to me. More than you can imagine.

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