She woke me up past midnight bringing a mocha-flavored cake and candles and a present wrapped in pink. I didn’t want to get up. I hated this year’s birthday. I came to her house in a small town just to escape the noisy-musty big durian aka Jakarta. I want to feel the way I turn twenty-five in a quiet place while evaluating my life.

Funny how fast the time goes, right?

Seems like it was yesterday I feel excited holding the Bobo magazine or ‘Lima Sekawan Series’ my mom bought me. And I would read those books, jump into the fantasy world, the adventure island and the knowledge palace. No need to think about what other people’s opinion on my occupation, marriage, buy a house, raising children… just say that I don’t want to grow up. Is that acceptable? Does that mean I’m a coward? I don’t really know.

“Please wake up. I worked hard preparing this surprise,” she said. Her 10-year-old brother just smiled, maybe he never saw a man groaning about growing up.

Of course I knew you prepared a surprise for me. Because you are the most kind hearted girl I’ve ever known. Or maybe because you’re the only girl in the world (besides my mom, but she’s a woman) who’s able to bear with my recurring drama.

She told me to make a wish before blowing the candles. I couldn’t. The sound of takbir reverberating in my head and I realized it’s Idul Adha. The islamic holy day to commemorate human sacrifice for a better world. In this day, all muslims have to sacrifice, by donating meat or money to the poor.

I realized I always thought about myself back then, even blaming other people for my failures. All I thought that I always care for others; I’m the one who sacrifices all my time for being a good friend, lover, and son. But what I actually thought was benefit or payback.

I was too attached to mundane things, forgot God who always give and doesn’t ask for payback. I was too busy chasing dreams—literally talking than making them real. Then I blame God for this unfair world, I never got enough supports. I forgot that sincerity is the key to be happy. Everyone get what they deserve.

Then I made a wish that I would dedicate myself to help others with every gift God has given to me. Such as doing the best in my job as a journalist and helping my family’s financial.

I saw a book as my present titled, “God, forgive us for being too busy.” I couldn’t hold myself anymore and cried. She hugged me, gave me encouragement pats on my shoulder.

And the takbir kept reverberating beautifully.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar

La illaha il Allah

Allahu Akbar, walilahil Hamd

Allah is Great, Allah is Great, Allah is Great 

There is no God, but Allah 

Allah is Great 
to Him belongs all Praise

That was the best birthday I’ve ever had.



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