Five days ago, I saw the Yellow Star appear infront of me after alighting from a taxi that brought me from Lombok airport to Tanjung. She wore a striped shirt and a pair of dark-rimmed glasses that never failed her to stand out from a crowd. The Yellow Star rushed and extended her arms, as if to signal a welcome to Indonesia gesture, but no, the Yellow Star is in Indonesia, the land where Chalice thinks I’m from. I thought you’re Indonesian because you’re our interpreter for today, she said. Well it almost did not happen, Chalice. Before I boarded the 9 am flight from Juanda, I actually missed my original flight at 7. On my way from Malang, around 100 kilometres away from the airport in Surabaya, the roads turned into a sea of murky flood water. That was in Sidoarjo, the last regency before reaching Surabaya. The police shut the main road, so I turned to Google maps to find an alternative route. Turn right. Slide left. In 300 metres make a u-turn. Turn left. Turn left. Head south. In 200 metres turn right. Head straight. And there was silence. That tiny road that looked like its flood didn’t seem to be threatening turns out to be a new disaster-made lake. It was nearly 6 when I was walking my dead bike to the main road. The men staring at me were wondering where I emerged. I pointed the road where I came out, and they were shaking their heads. You can’t do anything with your bike unless you take it to a bengkel. They’ll open that and suck all the gas because went in to your engine, they said. Oh, I have a flight at seven, would that mean I couldn’t make it? Well, I don’t think you can find an bengkel that’s open right now, they said. Surprisingly, I wasn’t worried, although I’ve sent the Yellow Star a message of Facebook, saying there’s no way I can make it to Lombok right now. Sidoarjo is flooded. No one is going to Surabaya. At 7, after going around the streets of Sidoarjo, I found a bengkel, thanks to an old man who seemed to know what I was looking for. There only was 50,000 rupiah in my wallet, and fearing it wouldn’t be enough to pay the tukang bengkel, I was rehearsing a spiel in my mind: do you mind if I leave my bike here while I try to find an ATM to check if I have money in my account? At the same time, the Yellow Star called me. They’re now in Lombok, while I just missed my 7 am flight. 15 minutes later, I took 500,000 from my account — and while striding back to the bengkel, the Yellow Star told me that she bought me another ticket, this time the 9:30 am flight. It was 7:15, and I was trying to make it back to the bengkel not later than 7:30. An idea came. Maybe, at this hour, good samaritans are now awake. So upon reaching the bengkel, I asked the bapak-bapaks whether any of them can take me to the airport using my bike (the tukang bengkel said he has already fixed it). No one dared to take the offer until Cipto, the tukang bengkel, phoned one of the bapaks whom he said could take me to Juanda. He told me to wait, the bapa is on his way here. There he was. His name is Samudi. It was already 8:35 when we left Sidoarjo. I lied that my flight would depart at 9 so he has nothing to waste in 25 minutes. Pak, my name is Mick, I am from the Philippines, I am heading to Lombok, but my plane left me. So I want you to take me there and I hope we can make it. While on the road, I told him to take my bike when he returns home, but tomorrow he must pick me up at the airport again. Yes, he said. I didn’t have time for doubts — god knows why I had so much faith with Pak Samudi. But all along I told myself to believe of something good to happen amid the disaster that was in Sidoarjo. We arrived at the airport at 9 am. I gave him the bike’s registration paper, and the key that went with a pendant which the Yellow Star gave me almost 4 years ago. Pak, I said, before you go, let me take a picture of your national ID card, just for me to have proof that you have my bike. It was the only proof. But true enough, the next day, he picked me up at the airport, after a day-long trip with the Yellow Star in Lombok.

 

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