Kupu-kupu Bersayap Gelap
Trying to catch up with my lost years in Indonesian literatures, I decided to read as many as Indonesian fictions as I could. After reading some short stories that, in my very honest – blunt – mean observation, were not worth reading, I decided to shop for a ‘good’ book, novel, compilation of short stories, anything, as long as it will be good.
I did not have much time to be spent browsing in the aisles, so I decided to head straight to the literature section and picked any book that looked interesting. I chose a book of short stories by Puthut EA titled “Kupu-kupu Bersayap Gelap” (“Butterflies with dark wings”).
There are thirteen short stories in the book and some had been previously published in Kompas Daily and Horison. In these thirteen stories, the author’s artsy metaphors and imagery took me to explore the lives of the ordinary, and the extraordinary, Indonesians. Injustices, poverty, domestic violence, drug use, hopes that rose and crushed along with the political instability, hypocrisy and rampant corruptions. The stories are not intertwined but bound with haplessness, fear, and fortitude. Protagonists in every story reflected their disappointment towards the deranged society with a tinge of hope for courage and strength to stay afloat. This is a serious book with real substance. Puthut EA did a good job.
The Butterfly Connection
As for butterflies, Puthut EA seemed to have a certain fondness with the creature. Two stories in the book titled, “Bocah-bocah berseragam biru laut”, and “Kupu-kupu bersayap gelap”, are fluttered with butterflies. Puthut EA used butterflies to lend an air of darkness and mysteries to the metaphors in his stories. “Bocah-bocah berseragam biru laut”, for instance, tells a story of a butterfly that flutters around children in a void room. The children in the void, empty room bear sad and depressed look. They wear blue uniforms and a tinge of purple in their heads. The butterfly moves and as it flutters away, it inhales woes from these children but it could not do much to relieve these little souls from insanities that choked them. “Kupu-kupu bersayap gelap”, on the other hand, tells a story of recurring nightmare, all involving butterflies with dark wings. The butterflies were poisonous, and they perform their killing rituals mercilessly, in nightmares and real life. Placed at the very end of the book, this eerie metaphysical story made a strong closure to the book.
Clearly, I’m not the only person with affection towards butterflies.
“ Aku seperti kupu-kupu di ruang ini. Kupu-kupu dengan sayap yang butut dan rapuh. Kupu-kupu yang kadang kala berlagak bisa terbang jauh. Seekor kupu-kupu yang berharap bisa mendekati fakta tapi malah terperangkap di kaca jendela. … ”.
Bocah-bocah Berseragam Biru Laut