I always feel there is a gap between Hope and me. Every word I tell her only evaporates right before they reach her ears. Thankfully Aliyah is here. She has been helping me take care of her. Although I never say anything to her, each time she looks at me she seems to understand what has happened.
Deep down, I always try to love Hope. I’m sure May would do the same. Unfortunately, I just can’t. I always feel there is something inside Hope, especially when she stands by the window looking at the swing. Really, it somehow terrifies me. I think whoever knows what May and I did that night, will feel the same about Hope.
I ask some young people who always hung out around the security post to cut down the guava tree along with the swing. I gave them some money for my request.
“Burn the swing until it’s gone,” I tell them repeatedly. “Remember, until there’s nothing left!”
They start moving vigorously. They borrow a chainsaw from a neighbor and start cutting the tree into parts. Within an hour, they’ve already taken down the tree and the swing away from my yard. I imagine they must have started burning them in the village’s landfill.
I accidentally run into Hope, who is standing by the window. Her gaze is empty. Then she begins to cry. I show no empathy to her. I already decided to get rid of the tree and swing in spite of my concerns about what will happen later. I start recalling the night May and I had the same dream, that one sentence that has been echoing in our heads: “The swing will invite a life in your womb. You only have to make sure the swing will always be in your front yard.”
I go to sleep with readiness in my heart. I know, just like what happened to May, my body will later fall and hit something. The next day, my body will be found without a pulse. Aliyah will be the first one to find my corpse, and Hope will perhaps smile with pleasure, just as she did the day I found May’s body lying in hospital.
— Translated by Liswindio Apendicaesar.
Yudhi Herwibowo is a short story writer, novelist and owner of BukuKatta publishing. His recent novel is Halaman Terakhir (Nourabook).
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