The Sack of Passion

By: Grace Anindya

Prologue

What are your dreams?

I don’t know why, but based on my experience, children usually answer that question with ‘Doctor’ as their dreams. I remember that half of my friends in kindergarten drew that tall man or woman figure with their majestic white suit and stethoscope, when our teacher asked us to draw about our dreams.

It was approximately 20 years ago, but the situation doesn’t change. Poppy, my 4 years old neighbor will happily said “I want to be a good doctor!” when all of her family members ask her what she would be in the future. I don’t say that being a doctor is bad. No, that’s really good, but why do almost of all children that I’ve ever met always say that they want to be a doctor? If you are all being doctors, who will be the patients? Hmm, maybe it will be weird if you said that you want to be a patient instead of a doctor, when people asked you about your dream.

Geez, I’m just kidding. My point is, children is too young to understand the real meaning of dreaming and live their dreams with their passions.

How about me? What is my dream? What would I be in my future?

20 years ago, I said that I want to be a pastry chef and here I am. Among all of my friends, only me who consistent with what I said in the past, I guess. Rudy, one of my friends that has ‘doctor’ as his dreams, now he works as an accountant at a Japanese company. I don’t say that being an accountant is bad, but accountant and doctor are not a same thing.

For me, being a chef is cool. I know that both of pastry chef and doctor wear white suit or jacket, but if doctor must deal with human blood, we all pastry chef just deal strawberry or raspberry sauce.

I love my job at least for now. I guess that I already found something that called as ‘passion’ to drive my life. Until something happens.

?

It’s Saturday evening. Time for me to have my leisure time. But everything doesn’t work in a proper way.

“Oh my God, I think I can’t do it anymore.” I throw away my thick hand glove to floor. My fifth cake experiment burnt again. The first one is uncooked and tastes so bad, even Kitten—my dog, no you don’t read wrongly, Kitten is a dog—barks angrily after he licks that stupid creation. The second and third are too hard, it’s like you are chewing a wood board in your mouth and now, both of the fourth and fifth experiment are burnt.

I don’t know what happen. I already follow the right instructions, put the ingredients properly, but something bad always come and the cake failed.

“Wow, so we are having a barbecue in this afternoon, am I wrong?” in a few seconds, Patricia came. She is my close friend and I invite her to try my new cake recipe. “Hey, did you say that I’m going to try your new cake? So the plan changes? We are having a barbecue?” Ughh, she is so annoying. I don’t know she really doesn’t know that my cake is burnt or she is just joking around.

“Take your seat there.” I let her sit and in a second after she sit, I show her that burnt cake. “Here is our barbecue.”

“Oh dear, I’m so sorry. I don’t know that it really burnt.”

I take a deep breath and take a small knife to poke that burnt cake. The surface is already burnt, but the inside is uncooked.

“What the hell are happen to me?” I’m so stressed out. I think I lost my and baking gift.

“Calm down, Bianca. Maybe you don’t set your oven properly.” Patricia tries to calm me down.

“No. Before this day, it always works in that way.”

“Really?”

I only nod to answer her question. I guess I almost lost everything. I’ve made some mistakes at my job. I spilled the most expensive cake mixture and half of my salary was cut. I forgot to order 1.2 kilograms flour, so we couldn’t work until afternoon, and the latest mistake, I put expired ingredients that almost poisoned the customers. Yesterday was my last day in that cake shop and now, I lose my baking ability. Oh my, what’s wrong with me?

“Maybe you are being cursed.” Said Patricia seriously.

“Wha...what?”

“Because it is weird if something bad happens without reason. And I know that you always make the best cake. Maybe someone is jealous at you and hire the...umm, smart person? Hmm, what’s the name of that occupation?”

“Hmm... paranormal?” Foolishly, I answered her unimportant question.

“That’s what I mean! Yes, maybe someone hires a paranormal to curse you, so you seems to lose everything. Am I right?”

“No, you are crazy. I think you should meet that paranormal.”

“For what? To curse someone else?”

“To heal you from your craziness. No, Patricia. Forget that curse or paranormal thing. Something like that are not exist.”

“So what will you do next? Do you need some help? Oh, how about your work?”

I’m thinking the best answer. “I quit. No, they kick me out.” At last, I just tell Patricia the truth.

“What? Ohh, I’m really surprised now. Why? Did I just say that you are being cursed? It is true, Bianca.” Patricia keeps encourage me if cursing and cursed thing is real.

“No.. no.. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, so they kick me out.”

“But you already work there for 3 years without any big mistakes. And everything is going chaos recently. That’s it. Something wrong with you. I’m pretty sure that you are being cursed. I think I can help you. No. I think someone can help you.”

I rolled my eyeballs. I knew that Patricia is absurd but I can’t believe she becomes more absurd now.

“Do you want to get your life back? Let me help you.”

An hour later, we arrive at a big house. It is a nice and modern house, even bigger than my grandma’s house. On our road, my mind is full with imagination of scary or gothic hut with lots of skeletons on its wall. Hmm, I think I watch too much mystery and surreal movies.

Patricia presses the bell and a bald guy with neat suit opens the door for us.

“Hi Mark. Can I meet Tyson now?” said Patricia politely.

“Sure.” That bald guy let us in without asking any questions. I guess that he already know Patricia.

“Who is Tyson?” I whisper to Patricia because Mark follows us.

“The guy that can help you. Don’t worry.”

We walk through a long hallway, then a big brown door stopped our way. Mark comes over and open that door for us.

“Thank you Mark.” Said Patricia.

Mark just nod and leave us. Without any doubt, Patricia comes over to the room, leave me alone in her back. Who the hell is Tyson, and how can he help me?

“Come on, Bianca.” Patricia come back and pull my right hand. The room is so dark, I almost can’t see anything. Suddenly, I can feel someone comes over and turns on the light.

“Patricia!”

“Tyson!”

And both of them are hugging. Patricia never tells me that she has a friend named Tyson and I never see this guy either.

“How’s your life? Do you need some help so you finally come here?” Tyson asks Patricia.

“No, I’m pretty fine. Not me, my friend needs to meet you.”

I never said that I need a paranormal but I don’t say anything to response her statement.

Tyson look at me and he smiles. “Wow, you never said that you have a beautiful friend.” He laughs and Patricia also laughs.

I try to smile in order to have a polite look, but I can’t.

“Come on, have a seat.”

I sit beside Patricia to get far away from Tyson. I don’t know why but I feel a strange sensation towards him. His appearance doesn’t seem like a paranormal, but I just feel some weirdness.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“She lost her job and lost her ability. Bianca is a great baker, I never see her make a single mistake, but today she burnt all of her creations. So there’s must be something wrong. She is being cursed.” Patricia answers Tyson question. At least at this house, she is my spokeswoman so I don’t have to explain anything.

“Is that true?” Tyson asks me to make sure.

“Yes, but sometimes I make a mistake. What Patricia said about never make a single mistake is wrong.”

Also that cursed thing.

“How long do you work at your last job?”

“She works for 3 years and that is weird if that huge mistakes have just appeared recently.”

Tyson doesn’t say anything. Patricia waits him to speak something and I can’t wait patiently to go out from this awkward situation.

“Okay!” Tyson suddenly clap his hand once, makes me and Patricia surprised. “I think this can help you. Wait for a minute.” He stands up and left.

“Now what?” I ask Patricia when Tyson is not in this room anymore.

“Just wait patiently, Bianca. Tyson already help lots of people.”

“Who is him anyway? Is he a paranormal? Or demigod?” I can’t help with my sarcastic tone.

“Whoever he is, just trust him.”

Right after Patricia answer my question, Tyson come up with a white sack. It seems heavy.

“This is for you. Eat this before you start your day.” Said Tyson to me and he shows something from that sack. A purple passion fruit. What kind of joke is this?

“But there are some conditions. After you eat this, you have to pray and do everything with enthusiasm also positive mind. Just think that everything you do will works. Another thing, don’t let your negative past comes and ruin your day.”

I don’t expect that he will said his last statement.

“Are there something else?”

“No, that’s enough.” I answer his question in flash before Patricia said another absurd thing. “Thank you for your help.”

After drive Patricia home and lock all my door and window, I put that sack of passion fruit on my table. My grandma planted 3 big passion fruit trees at her own garden and she often sends some when it comes to the harvest season, but now I have to deal again with another passion fruit? Come on.

Forget about that passion fruit, now I have to find another job. Where should I work? All of kitchen section vacancies are full. I think I can’t do another job besides main chef or pastry chef. Now I feel like Rudy the accountant is laughing at me.

I take a deep breath and turn off my laptop. I’m hungry. I try to find something for eat in my kitchen, then I see that passion fruit again. Geez, it’s so annoying. But in the end, I open that sack and take a passion fruit.

It is a strange passion fruit. Usually it has orange skin but it is purple. I open it and start to eat. I don’t care either it is a magical passion fruit that can change my life or not but the taste is awkwardly good. A bit sour but I can feel a slightly sweetness beside its sourness. I remember that my grandma’s passion fruit is not good as this passion fruit.

Don’t let your negative past comes and ruin your day.

All of sudden, I remember Tyson’s last statement. This passion fruit brings me a memory about my grandma also my past. She is the one that help me to find my passion in baking. I remember that we used to bake some cookies for Christmas also her statement that all of our dishes will be tastier or sweeter if we put much love in them. I miss her so much.

Tyson said that I’m prohibited to remember my past, but this passion fruit brings me to my past memories. I know that he is just joking around. Maybe he is a stand-up comedian or amatyr magician.

I throw my garbage into my small can, take a bath, and go to sleep. Oh, now I have some times to pray before sleep. Usually, I was too drowsy to pray, but now, why not? I pray for my future job, future life, also pray for my grandma. A rare thing that give me a goosebump while I’m doing it. After pray, I feel a bit happier and more peaceful. Uhm, maybe the magical effect of that passion fruit works. Oh my, I start to be crazy now. And, after being tired because of all chaos in a day, I immediately fall a sleep.

“Hey! Clean up all of this mess!”

“Bianca, where’s the flour? You forget to order it? How can we work without that flour?”

“Do you try to kill my daughter? You are a baker, not a murderer! Or maybe you just pretending to be a baker? I’ll call the police!”

I want to answer all of their judgement but I can’t open my mouth.

“I already told you that you can’t be a chef. Now, look after your life by yourself.”

The last statement gives me an electric shock and I suddenly wake up from my sleep. Wake up from that creepy dreams. Why do they appear in the same time? And why do my mom has to be there too?

Mom. The one that I almost forget about. The one who always go against my dream. She said that we all women will spend our life at kitchen, so why do we have to make it as our occupation?

She is my Mom and I am her daughter, but I can’t get along with her. Maybe it because we have same characters or temperaments. Stone-head, sometimes cold-hearted and too ambitious.

“If you register yourself at that hospitality school, I won’t pay your tuition.”

But back then, I didn’t listen to her. I leave home and start to pursue my dream. I made an agreement with myself, someday I should prove her that I can live with this dream. I never hope that she will be proud, but at least, she will regret her bad wish towards me. I learnt all day and night long, graduated with high score, started to work hard and forget all bad words that come from her mouth. Mom was so angry to know the fact that her only daughter now betrayed her. Me too, I keep asking, why do I need to have a selfish Mom, and we never contact each other until she died 2 years ago.

All of these memories make me dizzy and I can’t sleep anymore. I turn on the light and go to kitchen to make a glass of warm milk. And I see the sack of passion fruit again. Geez.

I just realized that I put that sack above a box. I wonder what is that but never have any time to open that box. Sure, it is a packet from grandma. I don’t know what to do if it is also a pack of passion fruit.

I open that box slowly and fortunately, it is not a passion fruit. Some clothes and two big album photos. That’s our family album photos. I’m flipping through that album, seeing the old photos and memories flow in my mind. In the end of that album, a paper with familiar handwriting appears.

Keep up your dreams, keep pursue your passion, but never forget your family.

Your proud Mom.

I remember now, it is her handwriting. With that condition, I realized that I’ve accomplished my mission. But why do she never contacts me before her death? If she’s really proud, why didn’t she come and tell it directly to me?

Anyway, I feel slightly sad after she’s gone, but life must go on, right? So I come back with my reality. Sooner, I feel like I lost some parts of my soul. At first, I don’t really care. I already make my dreams come true, I guess that I find my passion, and I’m okay with my life now. But, as time passes by, I start to feel an emptiness. I just repeated my routine activity without same passion in my first start. I know that my first motivation was bad. In a simple way, I want to make a revenge towards Mom with my successful career and when she’s gone, all of that burnt passion dimmed slowly and almost dead now.

I realized now. That is my real problem. I start my way in wrong motivation. Yes, at first I feel so passionate, because I still have a goal to achieve, to prove that my Mom is wrong. After she’s gone, I continue my life with fake passion. On the outside, I still look enthusiastic enough, but then I lost my direction. The fact that I’m cursed is not totally wrong. I’m cursed by myself.

So, what’s next? How to get back my passion? The real one?

Sun starts to rise. I don’t get enough sleep but now I feel more energized. Ohh, it’s already 5 o’clock in the morning and in flash, I call my grandma. I’m a bit shock with my decision, it is like subconscious mind drives me to press her number. In 10 seconds, grandma picks up my phone.

“Hello Bianca, how are you? Did you get my packet?” her calming voice makes me miss her more than ever.

“Hmm, I just opened it today. Thank you, grandma.”

“I know that you are very busy. How’s work? Is everything fine?”

“Well, actually... I quit. Hmm, nope, they kick me out.” I give her the same answer. Without any permission, my tears shed insolently. I start to tell her everything with my trembling voice.

“Bianca, do you remember the first time when you tell me that you want to be a great pastry maker?”

“Hmm, I think I don’t remember anything. I’m sorry grandma.”

“Hahaha, so you are the old lady, not me.” Her laugh gives me a warm smile. It’s amazing that I can immediately smile without seeing her face. “You said that you want to give a sweetness to someone’s life through your cakes. To paint some colors into the sad souls with your colorful cookies. Ohh, I can’t expect that statements from a 6 years old girl back then.”

I just laugh to respond her. How naive I am. That cute and sugar-coated statement can’t be said anymore in this difficult times.

“Bianca, your mom never hates you. She just want to protect you from disappointment, but I know her way is rough and makes you feel uncomfortable. She missed you so much, but too afraid to tell you directly. Before her death, she reminds me to give that photo album to you...”

I don’t know how to respond her statement, I just....cry.

“Bianca, Don’t pursue your passion with a negative way. Go back to your first motivation, the reason why you decided to follow this pathway.”

My tears shed again. If my grandma is right beside me now, sure I’ll hug her. “I love you grandma.”

“I know you are. I love you more, Bianca.”

Before I hang up my phone, I remember something. “Grandma, can I ask you for a favor?”

A week later from my disaster moment. I start to fix up my life, forget all of my revenge and improve myself to be a better person. Also continue to pursue my dreams and passions in a right way.

Finally, I get a proper job. I also fix up my stove and oven. My last time failed experiment is because of the broken cable gas and the temperature indicator in my oven. And today, I invite Patricia again to try my new cake.

“Wow, it’s really good. I’m glad that all of your curse disappears.”

Because Patricia says that curse word again, I remember something. “Can you take me to Tyson’s place?”

Patricia suddenly stops eating and give me her annoying blink. “You are falling in love with him, aren’t you?”

I rolled my eyeball. “I just want to give him something. A way to say thank you. I know that you put your feeling towards him. I don’t want to ruin your plans, Patricia.” Now I can tease her back.

“Sshh, how do you know that?” her cheeks are all red. “Don’t say anything about my feeling in front of him. Okay, I’ll take you there.”

In 15 minutes, we arrive again at Tyson’s house. For this time, he opens the door, not Mark.

“Hello Bianca. Is everything fine?”

I nod and smile to him.

“Ohh, I don’t know that you can smile. Come in, drink a cup of tea with me.”

“No, I just want to give you this.” I give him the same sack as he gave me a week ago.

“What is this? You give back all of the passion fruit?”

“They are different. Try them. Anyway, thank you for bring me back my passion.”

He smiles. “My pleasure. So you don’t come in?”

“Nope. I’ll go now. Bye. See you later.”

“See you later, Bianca.”

“What do you give to him?”

“Oh, just a pack of passion fruit from my grandma.” I start to drive my car while answering Patricia’s question.

“Anyway, I’m glad that you are healed from your curse.”

“Yes. Sometimes the cure for your sickness is from yourself.”