Natasha: I’m girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dream that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets cute boy on a crowded of New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectation. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I See her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million future lie before us. Which one will come true?
Hari itu, ketika Daniel hendak melakukan wawancara untuk masuk ke Yale University, dia berangkat dengan malas-malasan. Dan di jalan Daniel bertemu black girl dengan headphones yang kelihatan sangat khusuk mendengarkan musik sehingga tidak memperhatikan sekitarnya. Daniel mengikuti gadis imut tersebut sampai ke toko kaset. Entah mengapa dia sangat tertarik dengan gadis itu.
There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.
Saat Daniel mengajak gadis itu kenalan, dengan semangat Daniel yang menggunakan setelah rapi dilengkapi dengan dasi merah, bersalaman sambil menggoyangkan-goyangkan tangannya. Natasha, gadis itu, merasa aneh dan cuek aja, gak seheboh Daniel. Kemudia Daniel sadar dia seperti pegawai bank. Lol
Keluar toko kaset, mereka ketemu lagi ketika hendak menyeberang jalan. Dan Natasha yang masih khusuk dengan headphonesnya, hampir tertabrak mobil tapi untungnya berhasil diselamatkan Daniel. Dan gilaaak. Daniel seneng banget bisa menyelamatkan Natasha. Sedangkan Natasha sedih karena headphonesnya rusak.
Maybe I was meant to save your life today.
Daniel memanfaatkan kesempatan itu dengan minta ditraktir karena berhasil menyelamatkan Natasha. Bertemu Natasha, muncul ide dalam kepala Daniel untuk membuat puisi tentang Natasha. Daniel juga seperti melihat ada masa depan dirinya dengan Natasha. Tingkah polah Daniel yang begitu jelas bisa dilihat oleh Natasha. Dan Natasha menyuruh Daniel untuk tidak menyukainya. Karena dia tidak percaya pada cinta, dia cuma percaya pada science. Daniel malah menantang Natasha, akan membuat Natasha jatuh cinta secara ilmiah.
“Do you really think asking me deep, philosophical questions is going to make us fall in love?” She puts air quotes (oh, how I dislike air quotes) around deep and philosophical and fall in love.
Daniel dan Natasha dipertemukan pada hari saat mereka masing-masing berada dalam masalah.
Natasha dan keluarganya merupakan undocumented immigrant dari Jamaica. Bagi Natasha, Amerikalah rumahnya. Hari itu Natasha menemui pengacara yang biasa menyelesaikan kependudulan illegal. Jika pengacara tersebut tidak berhasil menyelematkan Natasha dan keluarga, maka malam nanti mereka harus kembali ke Jamaica.
Sedangkan Daniel, dia terpaksa melakukan wawancara tersebut demi orang tunya. Daniel Jae Ho Bae yang merupakan keturunan Korea tapi lahir dan besar di Amerika, mempunyai orang tua yang mengingankan anak-anaknya, Daniel dan kakaknya, Charlie, untuk menjadi dokter. Sedangkan Daniel sendiri ingin jadi penyair alias pujangga.
“Who cares what you want? The only things that matters is what is good for you. Your mother and I only care about what is good for you. You go to school, you become a doctor, you be successful. Then you never have to work in a store like this. Then you have money and respect, and all the things you want will come. You find a nice girl and have and have children and you have American dream. Why would you throw your future away for temporary things that you only want right now?”
I’m going to tell him that I don’t want the things for my self that he wants for me. I’m going to tell him that I’ll be okay anyway
Ortu Daniel menginginkan anaknya melakukan sesuatu yang mereka inginkan dan pikir baik, bukan sesuatu yang anak mereka sendiri inginkan. Hal seperti ini memang sering terjadi kan? Dan ayah Daniel punya alasan mengapa dia melakukan hal itu
My father is shaped by the memory of things I will never know
Science Vs Poetry
Natasha tidak percaya dengan mimpi, dan pemimpi. Hal itu mengingatkan pada ayahnya yang hidup dalam impian-impian yang tak pernah bisa diwujudkan. Bagi Natasha hidup haruslah rasional. Seperti science, hidup haruslah bisa dijelaskan secara ilmiah, termasuk cinta. Jika ditanya apa cita-citanya, dia menjawab ‘A Data Scientist’
“That’s so practical. Have you always known what you wanted to be?” It’s hard to keep the envy out of my voice.
She stops walking again. At this rate, we’ll never get where she’s going. “This isn’t destiny. I chose this career. It didn’t choose me. I’m not fated to be a data scientist. There’s a career section in the library at school. I did research on growing fields in the sciences, and ta-da. No fate or destiny involved, just research.”
“So it’s not something you’re passionate about?”
She shrugs and starts walking again. “It suits my personality,” she says.
“Don’t you want to do something you love?”
“Why?” she asks, like she genuinely doesn’t understand the appeal of loving something.
“It’s a long life to spend doing something you’re only meh about,” I insist. We scoot around a combination pretzel/hot dog cart that already has a line. It smells like sauerkraut and mustard (aka heaven).
She wrinkles her nose. “It’s even longer if you spend it chasing dreams that can never, ever come true.”
“Wait,” I say. I put my hand on her arm to slow her down a little. “Who says they can’t come true?”
This earns me a sideways glance. “Please. Do you know how many people want to be actors or writers or rock stars? A lot. Ninety-nine percent of them won’t make it. Zero point nine percent of those left will make barely any money doing it. Only the last zero point one percent make it big. Everybody else just wastes their lives trying to be them.”
Jika Natasha selalu mengedepankan logika, sebaliknya Daniel.
“I don’t believe in love.”
“It’s not a religion,” he says. “It exists whether you believe in it or not.”
“Oh, really? Can you prove it?”
“Love songs. Poetry. The institution of marriage.”
“Please. Words on paper. Can you use the scientific method on it? Can you observe it, measure it, experiment with it, and repeat your experiments? You cannot. Can you slice it and stain it and study it under a microscope? You cannot. Can you grow it in a petri dish or map its gene sequence?”
“You cannot,” he says, mimicking my voice and laughing.
I can’t help laughing too. Sometimes I take myself a little seriously.
He spoons a layer of foam off his coffee and into his mouth. “You say it’s just words on paper, but you have to admit all those people are feeling something.”
I nod. “Something temporary and not at all measurable. People just want to believe. Otherwise they would have to admit that life is just a random series of good and bad things that happen until one day you die.”
“And you’re okay with believing that life has no meaning?”
“What choice do I have? This is what life is.”
Another spoon of foam and more laughter from him. “So no fate, no destiny, no meant-to-be for you?”
“I am not a nincompoop,” I say, definitely enjoying myself more than I should be.
Besides the fact that I’m being deported today, I am really not a girl to fall in love with. For one thing, I don’t like temporary, nonprovable things, and romantic love is both temporary and nonprovable.
“That’s not what I mean. I don’t want to get stuck doing something that doesn’t mean anything to me. This track I’m on? It goes on forever. Yale. Medical school. Residency. Marriage. Children. Retirement. Nursing home. Funeral home. Cemetery.”
“We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”
“There is nothing wrong with having dreams. I may be a stupid dreamer, but at least I have them.”
“Why is that a virtue?” she demands. “All you dreamer types think the universe exists just for you and your passion.”
“Better than not having any at all.”
She narrows her eyes at me, ready to debate. “Really? Why?”
I can’t believe I have to explain this. “That’s what we’re put on earth to do.”
“No,” she says, shaking her head. “We’re put here to evolve and survive. That’s it.”
I knew she’d bring science into it. She can’t really believe that. “You don’t believe that,” I say.
“You don’t know me well enough to say that,” she says. “Besides, dreaming is a luxury and not everyone has it.”
“Yes, but you do. You’re afraid of becoming your dad. You don’t want to choose the wrong thing, so you don’t choose anything at all.” I know there’s a better way for me to tell her this, but I’m not feeling like my best self right now.
“I already know what I want to be,” she says.
I can’t stop myself from scoffing. “A data scientist or whatever? That’s not a passion. It’s just a job. Having dreams never killed anybody.”
“Not true,” she says. “How can you be this naïve?”
“Well, I’d rather be naïve than whatever it is you are. You only see things that are right in front of your face.”
“Better than seeing things that aren’t there.”
Suka dialog-dialognya. Padahal ini cuma pertemuan sehari mereka. Maksudku latar waktunya gak nyampek sehari, dan sedikit bagian di akhir kemudian langsung loncat beberapa tahun kemudian. tapi dialognya meaningful menurutku. Waktu sehari bisa menghasilkan novel padat berisi gini.
Finally they fall in love each other
Instalove? Emang. Tapi gak masalah bagiku. Pertemuan dan dialog mereka ajaib.
Observable fact: I Like making him happy
With Daniel, it’s different somehow. I want him to see all of me
He doesn’t care if he’s making a fool of himself. His only goal is to make me laugh
She’ll know exactly when clear brown eyes became her favourite kind
Something about being with her makes me my best self
Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself. I like who I am with her. I like that I say what’s on my mind
Novel ini menggunakan beberapa PoV. Ada Daniel, Natasha, dan Narrator yang bijaksana. #CMIIW
Kurang puas dengan endingnya. Kurang manis, dan agak menggantung. Apalagi Charlie malah begitu. Gak dijelaskan juga bagaimana akhirnya penerimaan orang tua Daniel ketika Daniel memilih menjadi penyair, mengikuti passionnya.
Aku lebih suka ending di mana sahabat atau keluarga yang pasti pernah pernah marahan, bertengkar kemudian mereka berbaikan, kemudian menyadari arti kehadiran masing-masing setelah melewati masalah-masalah mereka. That’s is true friends and family meant to be.
Aku kiran novel ini ada sekuelnya tapi ternyata tidak.
Eniwei, jadi tahu makna kenapa nama orang Korea diwali dengan nama keluarga sedangkan nama orang Amerika nama keluarga ada di belakang
In Korea, the family name came first and told the entire history of your ancestry. In America, the family name is called the last name. Dae Hyun said it showed that Americans think the individual is more important than the family.
- no one can put a price on losing everything. And another thing: all your future histories can be destroyed in a single moment.
- Usually I fall on the side of knowing the truth, even if the truth is bad. It’s not the easiest way of being. Sometimes the truth can hurt more than you expect.
- She’s the kind of person who finishes what she starts.
- I love how simple this is for her. I love that her solution to everything is to tell the truth. I struggle with my identity and she tells me just to say what’s true.
- I love this part of getting to know someone. How every new piece of information, every new expression, seems magical. I can’t imagine this becoming old and boring. I can’t imagine not wanting to hear what she has to say.
- You can’t persuade someone to love you
- Life is just a series of dumb decision and indecision and coincidences that we choose to ascribe meaning to.
- We tell ourselves there are reasons for the things that happen, but we’re just telling ourselves stories. We make them up. They don’t mean anything.
- Fate has always been the realm of the gods, though even the gods are subject to.
- ‘hope’ is the thing with feathers.
- Some people exist in your life to make it better. Some people exist to make it worse
- Life doesn’t always go the way you plan
- God is the connection of the very best parts of us
- The eyes are the windows to the soul
- Everyone wants to be able to predict the future.
- The trouble with getting your hopes too far up is: it’s along way down
- Some people are born for greatness. God give lucky few of us some talent and put us on earth to make us of it.
- Ordinarily I would say follow your heart. But he’s a married man. His heart is not the only one involved
- We have separate lives to lead. I can’t leave my heart here when my life is there. And i can’t take his heart with me when his whole future is here.
- This day can’t be all there is
source of image: goodreads.com