This one is a story which takes place a long time ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning before everything turn into that tragedy. I was riding my bike until I got in the middle of a city square, I met my old buddy Tom (of course this is his false name), I called him loudly, “Hi Tom, what are you doing there?” Then he returned and saw me, said happily, “There you’re Jerry, what a right time, man!” (sure this time also, I use a pseudo name too for mine, just to let you know who is the superior one, ha.. ha.., just joke, it’s easy to tell a story this way).
What Tom was said to me is an old legend that has been a flashy fast-spreading rumor this season, even in my school everyone almost ever heard about it since their spirit still on heaven (well I mean their mom and dad sure ever heard it too). The legend was saying that at the X beach of Y village about 5 kilometers East from our small city, every noon of 7th full-moon of the native calendar in my land, you could meet a descended goddess whos sent by heaven’s order to clean the sacred beach once in a year.
“You must be kidding right to take it seriously?” I said to him.
“No…, of course not.” He punched my back. “You know that today is that day of the legendary day.”
“Yeah…, but everybody already knew about it, that is a story for taking the children have a good night dream.”
“Well, I don’t want to argue with that, but aren’t you suppose to be children too?”
“Okay…, okay…! I just knew something like this would happen by meeting you here, stop this stupid debate and tell me what you want!” I hate to say, but it is not so comfortable with a friend so good at arguing your opinion.
Then Tom smiled to me, “Ah…, great, you know what I want, let’s go otherwise we shall late since to sun rising higher, see…”
We left the city square at once going to the X beach. The road was lovely, thanks to the local government managed all this way to help people around this district get good transportation. There were several villages to passed before we arrived at Y village, the nearest village which has the legendary beach as its eastern border. The old scenery there was so charming, the traditional village which already rare to collect the same picture as today if we come again to the same tracks.
An hour later, we arrive at the legendary beach. We saw something that probably has been miscalculated in our plan. The beach was so crowded, many people with traditional clothes were there, we guessed they were holding a sacred ceremony for the ocean and village spirits. Yes for sure, we almost forgot if this place has an ancient temple and some older shrines.
Fortunately, they just going to finish the ritual. Maybe they already started from early morning. The people seem to start leaving the place. After parking our bikes on the nearest coconut tree, we going to the beach. Wow…, the weather sure very refreshing that moment.
“Tom, see what I said earlier, that all just a myth, and no myth comes into reality.” I was saying it after made sure there was no one on the beach at that time.
“What…!” He yelling on me, “It just about two or three hours before noon, it is noon Jerry…, NOON…!, don’t make that sarcastic winning face of yours, it’s not funny at all.”
“Hah…, it’s okay, I don’t really bother about that thing…”
Then Tom looked at me curiously, “Then will it bothering you if the fact about that legend becomes true?”
“No…, not at all…” I then saw a little bothering view that makes me unpleasant, “if something is bothering me, are the trashes scrambling all over the beach, trashes that human-made and nature hates. Sure this was a nice place back when we had a picnic together years ago.”
Suddenly, Tom’s expression became aware, “You’re right, I don’t think to come here for the legend is the first idea, but sightseeing around this place is something I was wondering for a long while, sure must that one which bringing the idea visiting the legend here unconsciously.”
“Well Tom, do still remember when our classes visited this place, and we held a stupid race to collect unbroken shells as much in a couple hours?”
“Well Jerry, there are two big yellow trash boxes near the street above, I take the one in the south, you may have the one on the north…”
“The loser must get home by foot, no cheating…” We both smiled together.
Back then, we were a child, as children as they always less care what they were doing. The trash was scattered everywhere, but they were as precious as a treasure in our eyes. A plastic composed garbage sure like gold in a sense. We were running like half crazy, yelling to each other.
We didn’t notice anything else much, as well some people with traditional custom did the same thing as us, at last, we careless till one of them came to us. “Hei you kids, stop there…” She shouted a booming voice as we could get a shock from it. Then she walked to us, “Who are you, kids…?”
“Me…? I’m Tom, and this is Jerry…” my friend replied (okay you may laugh then).
She just looking suspiciously through us, “Okay…, what are you kids doing by running randomly like crazy stinger bees?”
“Sure we are collecting treasure…, we are treasure hunters ya know?” My friend smiled proudly, as he always does the same when meeting a pretty lady.
“Ah…, I see, dirty plastic bags, empty coke cans, broken old sandals...” She looked at everything we took on our hands, “Sure, that is a lot of treasure. What we’ll you do with all that.”
“Let see, we shall barter them with another treasure….” I half thought what I said that time, “How about that Sis…?” (In our place we call a girl without knowing her name by ‘Sis’ it refers to ‘Sister’).
“Wow…, you mean you would sell all those nasty trash for some ransoms? You must be kidding me…, don’t you?”
“I said barter not sell it…, and yes we are the kid that does not mean we are kidding you.”
“Huh…? Bartering with what…?”
“That…” We pointed at the beach.
“What…, that is just a beach like I used to see since I was aged younger than you both.”
“Absolutely…, right, Tom?”
“Yeah…, absolutely, ‘just’ a beach, not a ‘polluted’ beach, not ‘trashed’ beach…, it ‘just a’ beach, just like we used to see at it years ago.” I can hear Tom laughed by himself. “That is our precious beach, battering with these treasure in our hand surely a worthed tender.”
“Well, I guess I shall give you hand kids, sound fun.” Then…, three of us laughed together.
After a short time, we already cleaning most part of the beach as long as we can reach by our site, while Sis told us her childhood stories here, we have a lovely atmosphere around. She said to us that we were born here, but grew up aboard, so she didn’t come home very often. But when she got that a moment to came back, she always visiting her favorite place, which is this beach for sure.
Well, back to our treasure hunting no much trashes in far another side of the beach, people never used to go there because there is nothing special over there. But different from this side, which has been a tourism site for domestic and international tourist. In an instant, I remembered about the legend, which may be the cause of this beach so popular then became a tourism site.
I said this vague idea to Tom, he said it could be, but he prefers to ask the local expert obviously. When we asked Sis about this legend…
“Eh…, are you kids sure about that? I never heard anything sound like that...”
“Geez…, we are amazed you don’t know anything, you said you are a native here earlier, didn’t you?”
“Haha…, maybe because I did not grow up here, my distant relative took me to their foreign land before I could remember much. The only thing left on my memories is I did like playing here when I was a child, and grandma usually take me here. But after grandma passed away, then that very moment I was leaving this land.” Her face looked down somehow, “I miss those moments sometimes…”
“Must be hard for you…” I replied spontaneously.
“Haha…” She lough widely, “Having a sympathetic face from kids like you makes me feel guilty.” Then she stared at the forest far behind the village. “But I think I ever heard my grandma tell an old story about this place, but it seems not alike with yours.”
Then three of us have a sit under a “Kepoh” tree, which shelters us from the sun strikes. Then she begins her story…, something I could remember as these…
A long time ago, when human not as much as these days, this place was a forest near the beach. A pure wood with its wildlife forms. People who ever came to this place at that time said if this place was a kingdom of a butterfly. Because, so many butterflies here, and not only much but their size was big, some said as big as a tiger – our native tiger that already extinct right now – and some others said as big as their body while standing. Their bodies were stained dark in colors, just like and very-very old lumber, some said it was violet and dark ivory. This place was a kingdom that no human after heard that story would dare to step inside.
The stories said that butterflies were the friend of forest and sea spirits. They were real mates at that moment. The butterfly keeps the forest grew with beautiful flower and tree, the sea helping the butterflies flies to a higher place by giving their wind from the vast ocean on those charming wings, then the forest giving essential life matters for the sea through the river. They lived in harmony.
But someday, something happened, it was believed as a plague for the butterflies kingdom. Their eggs become rotten before its turn into the next living form. They were desperate, the forest and the sea spirits could not do anything, all of them didn’t know was happening. They were praying to the god of heaven, every day every night, till their kind slowly but sure disappear one by one because of the nature of time and aging. The last butterfly left with a previous single egg. But this time heaven might say different, the egg then becomes a caterpillar, the spirits of the forest were taking care the little caterpillar with so much compassion, they provide the little one with fresh leaves every single moment. The minds of the sea help to weep the overwhelming clouds above the forest. They kept the little one safe by all efforts.
One day, the little turn into a beautiful butterfly. Everybody seemed to be happy, but the fact is harsh. She was a half-winged butterfly, she even can not fly high on her own. Even so, nobody would talk about these matters, the sea spirits always help her with soft winds to fly.
Deep inside her heart, there was a weak voice of desperation. One night, when the moon shines brightest of all night in the year, she came out to the top of the forest while all her friends nicely slept. She talked with her trembling voices, she didn’t know with whom to talk, she didn’t care if her cries swallowed in the wind. She felt that all this time always being a burden to all her friends, she just wants to help each other, but how could her? She was even unable to fly when because she is a half-winged butterfly. If nature didn’t bless her with the wings her kinds used to have, then she wishes to blessed walk on earth so being able to help her friends.
Suddenly that night just turn like noon, the moon shining so bright like a calm sun. Then no one knows what happened next. People who known ever able to talk to spirit said that she was the last butterfly of her kingdom ever seen till that night. Some said the great sense of nature turn her into some other form that would able walk on earth and help her friends, to protect and take care her friends like they used to protect her, her friend spirit of forest and sea spirits.
“Well…, that obviously different than our legend, and we never hear about it,” I said after Sis finish her story.
“Yes Jerry, my granny told me that story here on this beach when I was little.”
“But what happens then…? You said nobody knew sure to make us more wondering to know.” Tom became really curious than before, ah…, sure he is fascinated with this kind of story.
“I said I don’t know, maybe because after that people came here and start leaving here till today, see….?”
“Well, one more story that confusing. A Half Winged Butterfly, and how her vanishing just like that in the night that like noon.”
I just wondered if something…
“Hei kids…, what are you doing there…!?” Shouting came from our back, when we look, an old man in traditional costume running in a hurry toward us.
“What’s up to Sir, we are just having a rest by sitting here,” Tom replied to him.
“Kid, don’t you know this is a sacred tree? We just held a ceremonial for this tree this morning.”
Then he became more shocked seeing our dumb face, “What…, you don’t know the legend, about the goddess of heaven, legend said that the goddess shall decide right here in the side of the by last night and start pouring the beach, and after the night turned into noon, she shall back and ascendant by the side of this sacred “Kepoh” tree. This tree is her last place to visit before she vanishes from this beach and back to heavens…, don’t you kid know anything about that?”
“That things you tell us seems to resemble of something, right Sis?” Tom and I turn back where Sis was sitting in the middle of us.
But what a shock, she was not there anymore. I and Tom looking panicky in every direction.
“What are you kids doing like that?” The old man asks us with his eyebrows raised.
“Sir…, did you notice a lady leaving from here just a moment after you called us from a distant earlier?” I was obviously panic my mind at that moment.
“What are you talking about, I just saw you two here mumbling like an idiot, so I call you, wishing nothing bad happening. this may be a sacred place, but sometimes its grim atmosphere was nothing good for kids like you.”
Tom and I started staring at each other. We left that place as soon as we said to apologize to the old man.
“Tom, you know what I think?”
“The thing that I never want to think back?”
“Yeah, let’s just get home, no one wins this match, we may go home by bikes.”
We going home for sure, but none of us dare to speed along the way, neither dare to look back. Our mind cannot stop chattering with itself.
Tom started to talk to me when the city square just pops up in the distance. “Jerry…, sure butterfly is a pretty creature, even the half-winged one is like a goddess.”
“Geez… Tom! Stop that, or shall I take you to the butterflies park next week?”
“What…? What the hell good I would be there…, you would kill me by that plan.” Then he thought for a moment, “But purifying a beach sure a nice theme for our next race.”
Then both of us ended laughing each other on the city square. What a childhood story. :laugh: