Buku Di Sebuah Kafe
Coffea Coffee bersebelahan The Curve Damansara. Malam. Seorang diri. Secawan caramel latte. Hidangan scone bersama jam strawberi. Apakah kebahagiaan? Saya kira, antaranya, buat saya adalah berada di sebuah kafe di kota yang sibuk ini dan melepaskan diri dalam gelombang manusia seolah-olah saya tidak berada di situ. Caranya adalah duduk menyandar pada kerusi dan membiarkan buku-buku di atas meja memulakan bicara. Nak cakap pasal apa? Terserah. Malam ini saya ada dateline majalah untuk kejar. Ada banyak cerita Kafka yang boleh dipilih sebagai teman. Tetapi ceritanya berjudul A Message from the Emperor adalah sangat istimewa dan sesuai dengan tema esei saya sedang tulis. Ben Marcus pun suka cerpen ini. Mana-mana penulis pun patut membacanya untuk mengingatkan diri yang dia bukan tuhan atau nabi dalam dunia sastera.
Saya sudah mula membaca novel ketiga Karl Ove Knausgaard. Nampaknya ke mana saja saya pergi sekarang, buku itu akan bersama saya. Sentimentaliti dan nostalgia selalu dilihat sebagai dosa besar dalam penulisan fiksyen. Namun, kadang-kadang saya terfikir, kita lebih memerlukan nostalgia di zaman sekarang berbanding pemikiran yang objektif. Kita perlu belajar untuk menjadi kanak-kanak semula.
Saya kongsikan cerita Kafka yang saya telah sebut di atas:
A Message from the Emperor
THE EMPEROR, OR SO they say, has sent you—his single most contemptible subject, the minuscule shadow that has fled the farthest distance from the imperial sun—only to you has the Emperor sent a message from his deathbed. He has had the messenger kneel beside his bed and he has whispered the message to him; so important was this message that he has made him repeat it in his ear. He has confirmed the accuracy of the words with a nod of his head. And then, before all the spectators assembled to witness his death—every wall obstructing the view had been knocked down and on the free-standing, vaulted staircases, all the dignitaries of the empire were gathered in a circle—before them all, he has dispatched the messenger. The messenger sets off at once, a strong and tireless man; sometimes thrusting ahead with one arm, sometimes with the other, he beats a path through the crowd; where he meets resistance, he points to the sign of the sun on his breast, and he forges ahead with an ease that could be matched by ono other. But the throng is so thick, there’s no end to their dwellings. If only there were an open field before him, how fast he would fly; soon you would surely hear the glorious rapping of his knock on your door. But instead, how vain his efforts are; he is still only forcing his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; he will never reach the end of them, and even if he did he’d be no closer; he would have to fight his way down the steps, and even if he did he’d be no closer; he would still have to cross the courtyards, and after the courtyards the second, outer palace, and so on for thousands of years, and even if he did finally burst through the outermost gate—but that could never, ever happen—the empire’s capital, the center of the world, flooded with the dregs of humanity, would still lie before him. There is no one who could force his way through here, least of all with a message from a dead man.—But you sit at your window and dream it up as evening falls.