The Changing Colours: Grey

I remember one weekend in August, during which I came home late for two days in a row. Very late, in fact, that the day almost changed. They were two different nights where I spent my time in two different places, with two different groups of people, and involving two different activities and  conversations. But the most peculiar thing was, they led me to the same conclusion. That night, I realised it wasn't only Blue that made my life miserable. Indeed, it was also because of the existence of another colour, Grey. When I talk about Grey, I refer to a colour in which everything seems like 'in between'. Between black and white. Between no and yes. Between here and there. A colour that represents the feeling of unfamiliarity to something that is actually familiar. To my surprise, Grey is also defined as something that 'without interest or character; dull and nondescript'. That is. Because everything seemed in between, it eventually made them uninteresting. When Grey appeared, I’d lose my interest in almost everything and everyone in my life.

It was on Friday night, when I spent a few hours with my friends at some bar. To be honest, it was the first time since I moved to Rotterdam that I went to places which I would never visit if it wasn't because of other people - wellI would never visited a bar just for my own sake . The first time I had long, random conversations with people I just met for less than a month. From love stories to PhD life to electro music to the rumour that Google bought military robots. The first time I had trouble catching my breath in order to adjust my pace with theirs. The first time I decided to cycle in the middle of the night. The first time I chose to kiss my own fear rather than letting myself overwhelmed by it. Then, the following night, I met two of my old friends from college. We went to a restaurant that I had previously visited twice, but we got lost because I could not remember the direction until I finally resorted to Google Maps to guide us. I have always been easily disoriented even in cities that I live in for years, but this time, it was worse. Not long after that, we watched fireworks from a little island across a bridge that I had actually visited couple of times, though I had never realized it up until that point. I did not even know the name of said island. It wasn't my first time seeing Rotterdam at night, but only during that time when we were walking through the city, seeing all the lights from skyscrapers illuminating the city, that I was amazed at how pretty it was. It was then when I realised I never really paid attention to this city.

They would not have been the same nights if I hadn’t smelled this scent. It was still summer, but on those two particular nights, the rain fell in Rotterdam and left this kind of scent. The typical scent that only lingers in the cold air or after raining. The scent that always makes me want to take a really deep breath, absorbing all of its energy until there is none left. And that was when this feeling appeared in my heart. A comforting feeling. The scent that suddenly reminded me of Bandung, London, and Bournemouth. Three places that have touched my heart; places that I have missed; places that I can safely say as 'home'. A sense of belonging. Attachment. Feelings whose existence I have almost forgotten. Eight months had passed and I got nothing. It was still the same as the first time I had arrived. I hardly knew the people. I hardly got used to work in the office room. I have hardly understood the language. I have hardly remember the street. I hardly adjusted with the system and the culture. Not to say that I don't like the city. I'm very grateful to live in this city. Otherwise, last year I would have accepted the offer from a university in England. But I don't. I don't want to live in the same place anymore. I'm one who wants to get new experience, to meet new people, to fall in love once again with new place that I may someday call home. I just don't expect that this time since it's very difficult for me to adapt with this kind of life. 

But you know what? That was not the most surprising thing. On top of everything that had been going on, I felt unfamiliar with the life I have been living for twenty five years. The city I was born. The people I have known. The office where I worked in the past two years. The dreams that I have built. Everything felt so unfamiliar and unattached. I felt plain. It felt like I have been living for nothing and for no one. I felt lost. There was nowhere to escape. I tried to recall. And then I suddenly realised one thing; that even when I was in my own country, surrounded with people I know, understand the language, am used to the system, remember the streets; I had always ignored the fact that this feeling of belonging had been gone since a long while. That time, I realised that I had become someone who liked building this high wall around myself; to keep the distance from anyone and anything. I was used to it. I didn't mind at all. But now, with the presence of Grey, it suddenly made me realise how much I was disconnected with the world I have been living in. And for the first time in a long while, this loneliness had successfully brought me down into the deepest, darkest hole. 

One good thing for having Grey is that it is an in-between. That means I still have a chance to choose. Whether I want to stay in the dark with Black, or stand under the light with White. After all these months and years I have spent my time with unfamiliarity, all I want now is to live my life with the feeling of attachment. Because I am sure that it's better to feel pain and sadness from saying goodbye or seeing the changes in my life rather than the absence of it. Because only by doing so that I may have another chance to see other colours in my life. And here I am; walking out of a dark tunnel towards a bright light. 


  1. Aku kok sedih baca ini. :') Semangat Kak Ozu ;)

  2. Hahaha aku udah tenang kok sekarang, makanya bisa nulis semuanya disiniii. Makasih yaa Erny :D


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