Centuries ago, people celebrated their love and affection towards each other in a month which often betrayed me. To cheer me up, others sent me gifts: Cinema tickets and new songs and fresh flowers and sharp tongue-lashes and knives and (even more) betrayals. When I thought about them, I often couldn’t hold my tears and eventually ended sobbing, day and night.
After fed up with too many sufferings in the past, it should be reasonable for me to grunt, or even roar, to see what Panumeria were about to announce. Rumors told us, it would be about calendar system. My heart sank at first, but I knew I had to face it eventually.
Ruler Of The World, whose embodiment was a ruler as well, had his command spoken loudly, propagated in all media. “Dear my fellow Panumerians! As you see these scales on my body,” he paused and pointed his diminutive finger up and down and up again towards his own metallic body, “We agree that EVERYTHING must be measurable to the tiniest scale from now on! Including our calendar system. We will adopt Fixed Calendar, rename it into Universal Fixed Date.”
I looked at my fellows within this lounge in House of Time. Sixth and Twelfth were watching nearby the television screen, while Twenty-First and Eighteenth were still sitting on our mini bar table, staring at single-digit kids, who were chasing each other all around, and chuckled occasionally.
“So, we’ll have day 1 to 28 every month. Thirteen months. This will make our days stay stable and predictable. First will always fall on Sunday. Thirteen on Friday. And so on, until twenty-eighth, Saturday.”
First, a lanky black-haired man, who was still leaning lazy on the couch, woke up in a rush, riveting his only slim elbow to his single meager leg, upon that acknowledgement. Thirteenth, who was rolling tightly in a “B” formation, drifted in reflex as she realized in desperation that Friday would be forever hers. The exclusivity right from medieval horror franchise had just vanished with the wind.
How about me? How should I feel? I am just removed from House of Time!
“But…. Wait a second.”
Ruler hanged a hope. Maybe it was high. I and Thirty-First, who just came and sat beside me, looked at each other, contemplated our telepathic minds and feelings of being dumped with no yellow-light warning at all. I didn’t have a heart to reassure him, as he was unstoppable from weeping until his eyes became red and puffy. Eventually, Thirty-First tapped my left shoulder, which was fuller than my right one, whispered slowly.
“Twenty-Ninth, you stand better chance to keep your seat.”
He shook his head as his hair swished smoothly. “I’ve done enough. I’ve done enough.” I tapped his right shoulder as he continued sobbing.
“My fellows! Twenty-eight times thirteen is three-hundred and sixty-four. We must have an additional one and a quarter day to balance our solar calendar as it was.”
My heart pounded faster. Thirty-First paused his weep, managed to force a slight smile for me.
“After the thirteen month, I will put a special day. It does not fall on any given day, doesn’t have a number. The length of this day will be 30 hours, instead of 24.”
Before we even managed to conclude what was going on with the new proposed calendar system, our lounge door was slammed as a man with a golden globe sneaked in.
“Twenty-Ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-First! Come with me. We have an important thing to discuss.”
Thirtieth’s fearful glare tried to intimidate us.
“To make it easier, people use me as denominator to count months. I should be still counted in. There is no reason for you to fire me.”
The Keeper turned his head to Thirty-First. He didn’t believe that he would go ahead of me. I could see him gulped three times. “Well… If you want to exclude me then I won’t object. But,” he exhaled hard, “but don’t you remember how sparse I appear in the past? Does Ruler think that I’m incapable?”
I elbowed him smoothly. He grunted. Calendar Keeper pouted while pointing his trembling finger towards me. “You, Twenty-Ninth. Why do I have to put you as Special Day Master?”
I recalled my fears. I was once a betrayed date in February. I had not always been a good penultimate while Thirtieth had been better. I heard people yelling about their salary, which had always run out by the day I’m working, no matter what day it was. I closed my eyes, conveyed my half-constructed-half-random words that just came up.
“Special Day would be a great day. It may need three masters, instead of one.”
“Why be different on that particular day when all the dates will eventually be the same?”
Calendar Keeper shrugged and touched his thick grey beard, upon listening to Thirtieth. We knew wrong answer would throw ourselves into an endless abyss, or plagued in a dreadful mundane life forever.
“Did I say that I would pick the answer that was ‘different’? Remember. This is Special Day.”
He eventually pointed finger towards one of us.
In the end, Thirty-First waved goodbye first. Upon leaving House of Time, Thirtieth cursed me, as he swore for his eternal grudge and threatened that he would join fellowship of Death Keeper, who managed running-out-of-time issues.
We never heard of him anymore since I was appointed to be the master of Special Day. Rumors said that he had merged with another devilish creature, namely Deadline. Nobody knew.
Now, I am watching the world from main tower, House of Time. People are dancing wildly and drinking madly, while laughter is heard everywhere, pinching my ears and piercing my eardrums, rolling inside my head.
Nevertheless, I am happy to hear that, Human.
(Jakarta, 04/04/2017, 973 words. Was written to be submitted for Dare to be Different Competition by Storial and The Jakarta Post, but the submission was cancelled due to personal reason. Was not proofread, was not checked for grammar.)