Penulis: Pelangi Adelia Primadiani – Universitas Kristen Indonesia
Nadine dropped her face on her desk, feeling lonely again. She looked around her, and her friends were busy in their own world with their boyfriends. The loneliness made her heart feel heavy. She pondered for a moment, observing her surroundings with an expectant look. She looked around her seat, and her friends were busy in their own world with their boyfriends. When she saw her friends so happy in their relationships, envy crept into Nadine’s heart. She also wanted to feel the same happiness. Being in a relationship seemed so much fun. She imagined what it would be like to feel loved, taken care of, and accompanied by someone who truly cared about her. She’s also tired of being her friends’ third wheel.
The big smiles on her friends’ faces made her chuckle, “Ah, I want to have a boyfriend too.”
When the class time began, Nadine continued to complain. During the lesson, she only half-heartedly followed the material taught by the teacher. Her mind often drifted to the feelings of loneliness and envy that always haunted her. She found it difficult to concentrate and often disturbed her friends, who sat right in front of her.
When break time finally came, they all went to the canteen for lunch. They sat at a table filled with food and cheerful chatter. However, Nadine sat among them with a glum face. She kept complaining until her friends were tired of hearing her.
“I want a boyfriend,” Nadine said with a pouty face.
Katya, one of her friends, covered her ears, “Nadine shut up, I’m sick of it. You’ve said that several times already.”
“Well, I also want to be loved like all of you,”
“Didn’t a junior give you a love letter yesterday? Why didn’t you accept it?” asked Adel, another Nadine’s friend.
“Nadine wouldn’t want it; her type is someone older than her,” Katya replied as she ate her food.
“Older seems mature in every way, Del. I can be guided to the right path,” said Nadine with a big smile.
“Like a teacher whose job is to guide people,” Katya quipped. Nadine turned to Katya and stole her food, which Katya immediately scolded. “My food!”
“Why don’t you try downloading a dating app, Nad?”
“Adel, that’s a good idea! Nadine’s soul mate could be there,” Katya agreed, patting Nadine’s shoulder.
Nadine thought for a moment, she’s not sure but she really wants to be loved and is sick of always being the third wheel among her friends. When they arrived at their class, Nadine immediately sat in her seat and downloaded the app suggested by Adel. With her hopes burning, she began to create her profile and fill in a few questions about her interests and personality. She felt nervous, but excited at the same time.
After a while, Nadine was preoccupied with her phone, constantly picking out guys to approach. She felt like she was trapped in an endless dilemma. She sighed, feeling like giving up because she couldn’t find the right person. The more she tried to find someone interesting and suitable for her, the more she felt frustrated with the results.
“I think it’s impossible, all the people I meet here are not compatible with me. Even if I find the right one, he must be younger than me. Should I just give up, Del?” Nadine said desperately.
“Don’t give up yet, maybe your soul mate hasn’t registered his account yet. Just wait a few months.”
“But it took so long, I want to date someone now,” Nadine pouted as she put down her cellphone.
Suddenly Katya’s voice distracted the two of them, “Nad, the junior who likes you is in front of our class. I think he wants to give you chocolate.”
Nadine glared, “I’m okay if I have to wait for months,” she then took her jacket and covered her face, “Kat, tell him I’m sleeping.”
Adel who saw that immediately laughed loudly while Katya went to the junior.
The next day, when her class was empty and there was no class, she took her cellphone out of her pocket. Unable to contain her curiosity, Nadine immediately opened her dating apps. She went back to doing what she did yesterday. However, this time, something was different because there was one guy’s profile that caught her attention. Nadine’s heart beat faster when she saw the guy’s profile picture. His face was handsome, and he was also older than her, looking like someone with poise and wisdom.
“Ah, he looks like a college student,” Nadine muttered softly.
With a flowery heart, she opened the guy’s profile and read his description carefully. She found many common interests and hobbies between them. The guy also seemed to have personality traits that matched what Nadine was looking for in a partner such as warm, caring, and knowledgeable.
Impatient to know more, Nadine carefully tapped the chat button on the guy’s profile and sent a short message. She intends to pull out the flirtation she’s been saving in her cell phone notes for a long time, trying hard to get him to fall for her. She didn’t want him to get away from her.
Is your name Google? Because you have everything I’m searching for. 14:23
Haha, you’re quite the smooth talker! My name is Bumi. 14:28
He didn’t seem to have a problem with her assertiveness, he even complimented her. Her cell phone rang again, signaling another notification.
How about you? Do you have a name, or can I just call you mine? 14:30
Nadine put down her phone and covered her face, she was sure that her face must be bright red by now. The guy’s answer really made her smile to herself. She picked up her phone and replied to his message again. They chatted so much that they ended up exchanging social media.
They messaged each other every day, getting to know each other and since Nadine was a 12th grader, she often asked Bumi for tips about college. She wanted to prepare herself from now on. Bumi is also happy to give her advice and experience, sharing stories about life on campus, which courses are interesting, and events that are usually provided by the campus.
Katya pulled out the chair next to Nadine and sat down. Adel, meanwhile, remained in her chair but turned her body towards the two of them.
“When are you and Bumi going to meet, Nad?” Adel started the conversation.
Katya nodded, “The purpose of you using dating apps is to not be our third wheel anymore. Ask him to come here so we can have a triple date.”
“I want it too, but Bumi is studying in Jogja, he is so far away. So he can’t meet me,” said Nadine resignedly.
“You can ask him to come here during the semester break,” Adel suggested.
“If he doesn’t want to, just tell him that there’s a junior here who’s ready to take his place,” Katya laughed, followed by Adel. Meanwhile, Nadine looked at the two of them with a piercing gaze.
In the afternoon, right after school, Nadine had group work at one of her classmates’ house. There were 5 people in her group, which is Adel, Gaza, and Hasna, and the plan was to complete an entrepreneurship assignment that would be collected next week. She quickly put her things into her bag, trying not to keep her friends waiting and then said goodbye to Katya who was in a different group from her.
Arriving at her friend’s house, Nadine and her friends immediately entered the living room that had been prepared as a place for them to study. The room was filled with snacks and drinks to accompany them. They formed a small circle around the table, then began to divide their tasks according to their respective skills and interests. Nadine, who was adept at preparing presentation materials, was appointed as the group leader and was responsible for organizing the overall flow of the presentation. They listen attentively to each other as each group member speaks and exchanges opinions. There are moments when they have different views, but they try to find mutual agreement to achieve the best results.
While they were busy with their tasks, Hasna, the owner of the house suddenly spoke up “I’m going out for a while. I want to pick up my brother who is still in junior high school,”
“Go ahead,” Nadine replied and refocused on her task.
A few minutes passed, the sound of a motorcycle could be heard from the front of the house. Nadine and her friends realized that Hasna was back.
“I think Hasna is back,” said Gaza.
“Hello everyone, I’m back,” Hasna’s voice rang out, and was greeted by Nadine and her friends.
Nadine turned toward the door and was immediately surprised to see Bumi standing there. At first, she thought maybe she was just hallucinating, but Bumi’s face looked very panicked. Nadine immediately stood up and approached Hasna and her brother.
“Who is he?” she asked.
“Oh, everyone, meet my little brother. His name is Bumi,” Hasna pulled Bumi’s hand to stand beside her.
Nadine was really surprised, she felt very lied to. She looked at Bumi with disappointment. She really wanted to go home, but she didn’t because she felt her hand being pulled by Adel, telling her to sit down again. Nadine finally sat down and continued her task, even though she was in a bad state.
Meanwhile, Hasna seemed confused, “Did you do something bad? Or did you get into debt? Why does my friend’s face look so sad seeing you?”
Bumi shook his head, pretending like he didn’t know. Then he went to the dining table and sat there, intending to eat but his eyes kept glancing at Nadine. Realizing she was being stared at by him, Nadine immediately turned her head, looking sharply at him. Bumi himself was surprised and pretended to look the other way. When he felt that he was no longer given a sharp stare by Nadine, he glanced at her again, taking his time to admire her. Once satisfied, he sighed softly and went to his room to rest.
After their task was completed, Nadine and her friends finally excused themselves to go home. She saw her friends taking out their motorcycles, some brightly colored and decorated with various accessories, adding a personal touch from each owner. After putting on their helmets, Nadine’s friends started their motorcycles one by one. The thunderous sound of the engines added to their excitement to return to their respective homes after a long day. The bikes were ready to take them through the busy city streets to their homes.
“Be careful on the road,” she shouted to her friends as she waved.
Nadine herself was standing in front of Hasna’s fence. The orange twilight glowed beautifully in the sky, giving a magical feel to the afternoon atmosphere. She arranged her hair, which was a little messy due to the breeze, while occasionally glancing at her friends who had already left.
When her friends had disappeared from her sight, she immediately ordered a Grab. While waiting, in the quiet of the evening, she suddenly heard a noise from behind the fence. The sound sounded like something falling hard. Nadine felt curious and cautious, so she glanced at the fence. Soon, she saw Bumi’s head peeking out from behind the fence. Trying to ignore it, she opened her cell phone. However, her gaze was occasionally drawn to the fence where Bumi was. She saw him awkwardly open the gate and get out of there. They stared at each other for a long time, as if communicating in an unspoken language, until he finally started talking first.
“I want to apologize for lying about my age,” Bumi said as he held out his hand with a regretful expression.
Nadine just looked at Bumi’s hand, “How old are you really?”
Bumi seemed hesitant to answer, there was anxiety in his eyes. “15 years,” he said softly.
“Three years younger than me?” Nadine was surprised to hear his actual age difference. “So why did you lie about it?” she continued with a slightly annoyed expression.
“Because I wasn’t old enough to sign up for a dating app, but I was very curious, so I gave it a shot and when I met you, I was going to be honest, but you’re really sweet and fun! I didn’t dare to tell you, I was afraid you would push me away.”
Nadine paused for a moment, contemplating Bumi’s words seriously. It was true what he said, from the beginning she always chose to skip the profiles of guys who were younger than her. She realized that her mistake was making assumptions and ruling people out based on their age, without giving them a chance. Regret began to creep into Nadine’s heart. She felt guilty, she realized that age should not be a barrier to a good relationship with anyone.
She sighed, “Okay I forgive you,” she said while returning Bumi’s hand.
Bumi immediately smiled widely, “Then I can still try to get close to you, right?” he asked in a hopeful voice, while his eyes sparkled with happiness.
Nadine thought for a moment, then a mischievous smile appeared on her face, “Maybe, but only if you can beat the junior that I talk about, at my school.”
Hearing Nadine’s answer, Bumi felt challenged, “Deal! Just wait and see.”
Shortly after that, the Grab that Nadine ordered came. Nadine said goodbye and left Bumi, whose mind was full of strategies to get close to her and beat the junior who also liked her. Nadine herself went home with a big smile and a sense of happiness, she couldn’t wait to see what things Bumi would do and what they would go through together.