|Janus, The Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways,passages, and endings|
Well, I love the excitement of a celebration. Especially tonight, when a circle finish a loop, when the head meets its tail. I believe that when two periods come cross each other, strange things most likely happen. I was wondering if there is something unusual would come to me this time, at an empty crossroad. My best guess was a fireworks that looks like a fairy dust, or maybe fairy dust disguising as fireworks, we never know.
“Hello, my dear.”
“Oh why did you precede me, I want to say hello!”
I quickly looked down to where the voice came from, then gawked in disbelief. There in front of me was a tan-skinned man with toned arms and chest, dressed in knee-length white tunic and a wide shawl wrapped his body. When his clothes alone could raise a lot of questions in this era, it still not as weird as the rest of his anatomy. He got two heads on his neck, one facing left the other to the right. Both faces was scruffy with deep brown eyes. He might got four eyes, but I can only see two of each faces, which is very confusing as I don’t know where to look at.
“Say hi back to me.”
Both heads finish each others’ sentences and I still didn’t say anything. After several blinks and I was certain that this is not another weird dream, I managed to stutter a greeting.
“So, honey. You don’t celebrate tonight?” Said The Right Head
“With fireworks, barbeques, and friends?” Said The Left Head
“Oh that Wine Guy must be appearing in a lot places.”
“Having an amazing time with people dancing around him.”
“So why are you here, my darling?”
I still tried to decide which face should I look at when he... they... (what should I call this creature?) waited for my answer.
“Oh... I do celebrating. It’s just I like to celebrate things in solitude. It give me more time to think. Contemplating.” I replied
“Hmm.. that explains why I..”
“You see, child. Nowadays it is rare to find someone who celebrate stuff by praying and contemplating. They love to be a part of a crowd, dancing, singing, and such.”
“Which is why they can’t see me.”
“But we still around, they still have..”
“to choose.” They said in unison
I decided that I should just stare at the sky and said, “Oh, okay. Too bad there isn’t any star around.”
“Oh yes child, stars are good friends to think.”
“They keep silent yet telling so many stories.”
“You must recognize us from stories.”
I let out a long sighed when a part on my brain clicked told me who they are. It’s getting closer to midnight. The closing. The entrance. The end. The beginning. My heart pulsed faster. Another time has passed, I am getting older, yet I am still afraid to take a step.
“Oh, this is fun don’t worry.” The Right Head chuckled
“Or scary, I don’t know.” The Left Head smirked
“Come on look at me!”
"I know your wildest dream and I can make it come true!"
"I know the easiest way to live and we can have only fun!"
“No! Choose me!”
I alternately looked at The Right Head and The Left Head. They know exactly what I am hiding. They can reach my deepest desire. Well, if one head is obviously more handsome than the other, it’d be easy for me. But the point is, there is no such thing as an obvious choice. Both heads are similar, and I wouldn’t know the consequences until I pick on one choice.
“What's the difference?”
“Yeah, every choice has its cost!”
“and every choice has value!”
“This is too early to choose, isn’t it?” I snapped
“Look at where we are.”
“We literally at a crossroad.”
“How can you not choosing now?”
The first fireworks start to lit the starless sky. It looked as if it were made from red, blue, green and yellow water. Splattered the dark with attractive light. The burst made me jumped a bit, yet it woke me up from confusion.
“Okay, just give it to her.”
“She’d open it.”
“The first owner opened it!”
“She was made to be curious, now this girl know what is inside!”
Out of nowhere, their hand pulled out a quiet large pithos—jar made of bronze. It was the prettiest jar I’ve ever seen. There was some ancient letters carved into its lid and painting of gods and goddesses on every side. I somehow recognized what it was from the tales I’ve heard when I was a child. It surprised me a little since I thought it would be a box. If this was meant to be a gift, I think I wouldn’t want to receive it.”
“This is a gift from us!”
See? A gift. Wow. Amazing. I remember what happened to its first owner. She was the first female human ever in the creation. Out of curiousity, she opened the pithos and released bunch of disease, evil, and plagues to the world, leaving only one good thing sealed. One good thing that save us all this time. But that is another story.
“Even this gift demands your choice.”
I kept my hands on my pockets. Refusing to take it.
“Now, honey, to take it or not is not a choice.”
“But whether to open the lid or not, now it’s a choice.”
The pithos now moved to my feet. I rolled my eyes and finally took it. I know that no matter how far I leave the phitos behind me, it would follow. Lingering around and teasing me to open the lid. Which is one of the hardest choice, since it is so easy to just let down my guard. But then, remembering the consequence, I think I’d hold out.
“You see, you want to open it. No need to hold the urge. It is the easiest choice.”
“No, you don’t want to. Fighting might be hard but you’ll earn what you’re worth of.”
Those heads kept voicing contrast voices, tried to make me to choose one of them. To open the pithos. To not open the pithos. I took a deep breath and looked at them right in the middle, telling them to go. At least for now. They laughed mysteriously before vaporized into the cold wind. Leaving me alone with the pithos. It meant they never leave me, because I’d still have to choose ‘til the day I died.
Right at midnight, when the silence broke in the sounds of party horns, the air smelled like munition, and the black sky being colored by sparkling blaze, I chose to take a bunch of my own fireworks from my pocket and lit it. The stars might not be around, but who said I can’t make the sky gleaming with colors and light?
The pithos is remained seal. Maybe just for now, but I wish forever. I know it’d be so easy to just open the lid, but why should I? I’d try my best to keep it close because that little spirit that is left inside is what inside that keep us survive until today, isn’t it?
-Bandung, January 1st, 2017