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Senja di Makam Inggris – tunawisma

Senja di Makam Inggris

Hujan membasuh bongkah-bongkah nisan muram di samping bangunan sekolah. Saya berteduh di bawah lengkung gapura, bertahan dari guyuran hujan yang tiba-tiba. Dua orang remaja berjongkok tidak jauh.

Tanah kober ini adalah memoar akan sebuah pagebluk dua abad lampau. Sebuah endemi nan masif yang merengut nyawa empat dari lima anak-anak Thomas Stamford Raffles. Wabah malaria, kolera, disentri, dan buruknya sanitasi membuat kehidupan koloni Inggris begitu menyedihkan. Bahkan hampir seluruh anak Raffles tidak mampu bertahan hidup lewat usia lima tahun.

Leopold, Stamford, Charlotte, dan Flora, empat buah hati Raffles dimakamkan di tanah ini. Namun jangan tanya yang sebelah mana kuburnya karena nisan-nisan mereka telah hilang dicuri orang.

Bengkulu memang jauh dari kata kaya. Produk ekspornya pada masa itu hanya satu, lada. Bencana alam dan wabah malaria yang datang silih berganti akhirnya membuat armada perdagangan Inggris menyerah dan melepaskan tanah ini. Mungkin alam memang tidak pernah ramah terhadap Bumi Rafflesia.

Dua remaja tadi masih duduk di seberang saya. Tidak berbicara sepatah kata pun, hanya menatap sayu ke tanah makam. Bongkah-bongkah nisan kuning nampak kurang terurus, bercak lumut menyesaki setiap sudut-sudutnya. Di bawah gerimis, saya pun berlalu.