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(Un) Perfect Life

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It is not easy for her to fulfill her dreams amidst the onslaught of love. After a painful rejection at the university entrance exam a year ago. Maria's dream to be able to study in Java was delayed due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, now, Maria is fighting for her dream to battle the college entrance test this year in order to realize her dream of becoming a state university student. Now, the opportunity is wide open for her. Vacationing in Jakarta to calm her mind as well as a place for her to focus on her studies is the best choice for her. But her struggle is not easy because of the arrival of a figure from the past who once colored her life story a year ago during the public university entrance selection period for prospective new students. Not to mention the presence of Maria's childhood friend who returned to collect the promise of love they had made before made Maria add to the burden of her mind. If the game of fate had already acted, would her decision to become a student have to run aground due to blossoming love? Or must she put aside her love for the sake of realizing her dreams that are already in sight?

Page One

Maria looked at the beautiful date on the calendar hanging on the wall of her room after she had just woken up this morning. There was a special happiness that burst into her heart that made her life colorful again after all the wounds she received a year ago were healed. But sometimes there are obstacles in his life that disrupt his healing process. The disturbing thing is that he often gets the latest information from school friends in his high school WhatsApp group. There were always people showing off their college places, their outfits and excessive clothing styles, and even among all the group members, many of them sent photos of their respective lovers quite intimately. Of course, Maria felt quite happy mixed with envy seeing how happy all her friends were who not only became students but also had their own lives full of happiness without any burden. Maria wiped her tears that suddenly fell, she got out of bed and rushed to the dining room after she was called by her mother.

"Mom, this year I will go to Jakarta with Tania to take the State University Entrance Test. You know that the entrance test, which is nicknamed UTBK, registration will open soon. Can you allow me, this? Maria said pleading to her mother who was busy cooking Chinese food while watching cooking tutorials on YouTube. "It's time for me to become a student, after all it's been a year since I did a gap year and became a burden in mom's life."

"Hmm, are you sure you want to go to Jakarta. You're still a kid and you're already set to become a student this year," said his mother in a rather dismissive tone while girdling her loins. "I don't have any money for you. What's more, to pay for you to go to Jakarta just for a test requires quite a lot of money. You don't know that currently Covid-19 cases are still soaring high in big cities like Jakarta. You want after arriving in Jakarta, you are immediately declared Covid-19 as often reported on television and newspapers."

The Covid-19 pandemic is a very frightening specter for Maria's mother, Maira. Mrs. Maira always pays attention to her child's movements from small things to even big things that Mrs. Maira always does for her child, for example on the day of Maria's graduation celebration with her friend held by the school a year ago, besides telling Maria to wear a mask, Mrs. Maira also forced Maria to use personal protective equipment. For Maria, this was quite embarrassing for her. Because of Mrs. Maira's protectiveness at the time of the free event, Maria had to go home first with her mother, even though Maria still wanted to chat with her friend before they separated. Understandably, her mother is afraid that the same thing that her father experienced will happen to Maria because her father died from Covid-19 after just returning from his service, so whatever way Mrs. Maira will continue to protect her child in any way so that Maria does not contract this deadly virus.

At that moment, Maria adjusted her breathing so that her tone was not too high to reply to her mother's condescending words. After all, what she said was polite, why should her mother reply like that? After all, Maria is an adult and can manage herself. Maria also ventured to reply to her mother's words, so that her mother would know how hard Maria had struggled all this time, "Many of my friends have gone to college, Mom. I'm the only one who is unemployed like this."

Maira's mother rolled her eyes as she snorted in annoyance at her daughter's reply. "I'm doing all this for your own good! Do you want the same fate as your father?"

Maria clenched her fists in annoyance that at a time like this her mother was talking about her father. Maria quickly approached her mother while folding her arms in front of her chest. Maria had to open her mother's mind, so that her mother would not overly restrict her, let alone forbid her. After all, she was an adult and could manage herself. "I don't want your eldest daughter to become an uneducated person, after all in this day and age if you want a high paying job you have to have a degree behind your name, Mom."

Mrs. Maira didn't seem to care what Maria had to say. You could say that for matters of higher education in this pandemic era, Mrs. Maira prefers to turn a deaf ear.

Even though this year is Maria's golden opportunity to take the college test in Jakarta, Maria thought that by saying this she would immediately get support from her mother but in fact the things she thought did not match her expectations. Why this time fate and the universe would not allow her to become a student. If her mother did not agree, then it was time for Maria to act on her own without thinking about the risks involved. Her mother had no idea how Maria had struggled over the past few years. Besides being busy struggling with the many UTBK practice questions that she learned in the Zenius application, she still took the time to earn money by becoming a cafe waitress in almost every place.

"Mom, over the past few years I have made many sacrifices. Really, I even set aside my pocket money to buy UTBK books and subscribe to Zenius to support me during the Gap year. You think I've just been lying down all this time."

Maira's mother could only massage her dizzy head listening to her teenage daughter. Maira's mother was sure that if she continued to close her ears, then rambling after rambling with the same theme would become her daily food.

"You have to know, besides repeating the subjects that I have learned from high school which are included in the science clump. There are several other exam groups that I have to study, study until my head curls up." Maria patronized her mother while showing the UTBK notes that she had prepared.

"Are you satisfied patronizing, Mom? I feel annoyed listening to your bright," said Mrs. Maira in a slightly snapping tone. Apparently, she had to lecture her child not to have high expectations. Besides, if she granted her child's request in the midst of this pandemic, this would actually be a boomerang for Maria who would certainly be confused in the big city.

"You only think it's easy and delicious without caring about our situation. The pandemic alone has made various sectors less conducive. Do you realize, in this day and age, more casual people graduate without any effort. Because of what, because they use more to bribe the owners of household stomachs." Mrs. Maira snapped her fingers in front of Maria's face. Well, so now lower your expectations because your reality is not as sweet as expectations. Since the pandemic is still rampant, it's better if you choose to study nearby. You don't need to have high expectations, because the point is, whether you want a public or private campus is the same.

Maria sighed resentfully. What her mother said really stabbed her deeply which indicated that for now there was not a single support that her mother could give her. Without waiting for a long time her tears immediately sparkled in front of her mother who did not empathize. She immediately turned around and left her mother. Maria went straight back to her room and closed the door so hard that it made a sound that made her mother grunt.

Thanks to their debate whose duration is equal to a 30-minute scene of a Korean drama. The dish that Maira's mother was trying to make failed.

Page Two

After her mother went to the office for work, Maria decided to cool off to meet her ambitious friend Tania, who might be able to share her feelings that day. Maria was very happy to have an ambitious friend like Tania because she basically came from a wealthy family so the girl often had the support of her family to take time off from college in order to get into a public university, the faculty of economics, which was a faculty passed down from her family. Maria was quite sure that by coming and talking to her about this problem, there would probably be a solution that they could find together.

"It seems like your mother has a point too. But I don't agree with her view, after all, it's time for you to go to college, right," said Tania, who seemed to understand the feelings of Maria who had struggled hard all this time. "Then, what about now. Are you not taking UTBK this year?"

Maria exhaled loudly, she replied, "I've had enough of


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