When Freedom Crosses Norms

It was quite a nice day that day. Everything was peaceful, nothing to be taken care of immediately, just perfect for a day away from the living hell of an education we call school. Around two in the afternoon, a girl texted me, sending an invitation to her sweet seventeen party. She plea for me to come, as if I’m an important part of her life. I’ve only kept the space between her and I professional.

That day was the day of the party. I rode the bus and walked a bit to get there. When I was on the bus, standing and holding on to the hangers so that I wouldn’t bump with another commuter, I realized this is quite a déjà vu. Last week there also was a sweet seventeen party held by another not-so-close friend of mine. However I didn’t attend the party as I wanted to watch a theatre which my sister took part in. I invited an English teacher of mine to help use up the free tickets–unfortunately she couldn’t come. That day there was also a theatre show, by my school’s theatre team, in a building not so far away from where the party would take place.

Only about eight hundred meters of walking, I reached the restaurant mentioned in the invitation. I got in, got to the 2nd story, filled the guest book, got into a small room (which looks and feels like a mortuary, minus the coffin and the grim) and sat down. To be honest, I was not in the mood for party and social whatnots at that time. All I wanted to do was play games and watch YouTube videos ‘till midnight. I sat on one of the chair and thought, “Let’s test which of my friends that are coming today are my real friend.” I sat quietly, reading pdfs that I have downloaded beforehand onto my phone. I waited for someone to approach and talked to me. Nobody did, only a tall girl. I would say it’s due to our, coincidentally, seats which are close to each other’s. If I were far from her I am certain that she wouldn’t say a word. From that brief social experiment I concluded a conclusion that has always been same through-out past, similar experiments. My “friends” only want to be friend with the Fun Me and not me. I’m a good listener and they don’t need one. All they need is to express their opinion, listened or not, not a matter.

I got bored and foresaw that I won’t be having any fun here since the “fun me” will not surface any soon. I didn’t, and do not, like to be rid of my freedom, hence, I became free from that party and ordered a GO-JEK to go the theatre. I know that I should be attending the party but: 1) As mentioned before, She and I are not close, 2) Wasting hours pretending to be having fun for a free meal? Thanks, but no thanks, 3) If your life is so easy to the point that you will be kept alive even if you do no survival activity, your birthdays are granted and doesn’t actually have its means to be celebrated. Celebrations are for something fought for, not something that come by, 4) It was a noisy and low-witted situation there, I’m not interested.

Not long, the GO-JEK arrived and we went through the night to the theatre. We didn’t know how to get there, but I opened Google Maps and from then on it’s a breeze (Get it? Motorcycle ride, breeze come through as you ride, “it’s a breeze”? No? Okay. (A bad joke’s still a joke, geez.)) The building was terrific, it’s new and clean, coated in white while showered by warm yellow lights from lamps installed to highlight the building. I gave a fifty percent tip for the GO-JEK driver, it was a happy ride. I went up to the 6th floor where the theatre would be held.

It’s actually a theatre performance within a praying activity, held by religious businessmen. I sat and joined in on the Hail Mary chant hoping that the theatre would start soon. After the chant and some other prayers, music starts playing and more people are coming in while chattering with one another. Trust me, all the people here looks rich.

Around fifteen minutes after the chant, three of my friends, helping the theatre squad, sat at the front-most seat. They saw me and invited me to sit in the front-most with them. Notice the difference between the friends here and the friends back at the party. I fulfilled the invitation, and swiftly moved to the front. There we were, 4 people new to this praying activity, at the front-most seat. We were kind of awkward, but with smile and perfect mask, we were able to go through it until the theatre start. I acted as one of few documentary department, to be exact, as someone who records the whole performance. My phone died midway, and I had to switch to my friend’s phone. He was the assistant director, an awesome guy. I recorded it all.

As soon as the performance finished, I joined my theatre-performer friends and shook their hands. One of them exclaimed that she didn’t expect me to come and watch. All my friends there thanked me for coming. They thought no one would come. I helped, even though only a bit, that made me feel great. A ma’am insisted that I get a souvenir as I was, kind of, part of the group. In the backstage all my friends there asked “You didn’t go to her party?” I answered shortly with “Nah, It’s boring there.”

To be honest, I was and am still kind of proud for breaking the norms being invited to party, only filling the guest book then ran away to watch a theatre performance. I reached home at nine feeling great and truly happy, and if I were to attend the party, I would be home at half to eleven feeling exhausted.

Yes, do follow the norms, but don’t forget to follow your heart first and foremost.


A true story by A. William