My second book also won me praises and acceptance in the market. There weren't many works on war-time romance in my country's literary scene, and some critics considered my novel a breath of fresh air.
For the first time in my life, people started to recognize me on the street as a writer. I was quite surprised when I was walking alone in Central Park, New York, one afternoon, a group of Indonesian tourists greeted me enthusiastically.
"You're Ludwina Baskara, aren't you? Are you here looking for inspiration for your new book? What will your next book about?" they all surrounded me excitedly and kept asking me questions.
I was stunned because I did not expect that some people from my country would recognize me, here in New York, halfway across the globe from home.
"Eh ... how do you know it's me?" I asked in surprise.
"Well, you posted on Instagram that you were looking for inspiration to write in Central Park," replied one of them. She opened Instagram on her cellphone and showed it to me. "You're so cool! You went to the Netherlands today; fly to Spain the next day, and a week later, you were suddenly in Japan, and now, here you are in New York..."
Ohh. I just remembered that my social media manager was always posting updates about me on various media. My publisher hired her as part of my second book marketing campaign. I hadn't touched social media ever since I married Andrea.
As an internet security expert, he made me aware of how dangerous it was to let big technology companies to mine and store my personal data, so I quit social media entirely. I almost forgot that there was still an Instagram account under my name out there.
"I'm no longer looking for inspiration to write my books," I replied kindly, "I was just missing New York. I used to study at Columbia University."
"Ohh ... that is so cool."
After taking a mandatory group photo and I gave them autographs, the group walked away happily. Once they left, a realization suddenly came to me. This is it! I have finally become a famous writer. It was a dream come true.
When I was an aspiring writer, hoping to see my book published, I had always dreamed of getting recognized on the street. I thought that would make me happy. Unfortunately, when the day actually came, I was still feeling sad.
It's been a year since I last saw Andrea. So much had happened in my life and career. I did think things would get better over time, but somehow my broken heart did not recover.
An email came to my cellphone from Andrea. Hm ... This is not Sunday. Why would he send me an email?
[I was invited to speak at an international cybersecurity conference in Bali next month. Would you like to meet?]
I remembered 6 months ago Andrea also asked permission to go back to Indonesia and meet me. Finally, he was able to take time off from his new job. As usual, I didn't reply to his email, and he understood that I still didn't want to meet him.
Seeing his email, I was touched. Even to this day, Andrea still had not changed. He respected my wishes and always asked for consent when he wanted to invade my privacy. I didn't have to worry that he would suddenly appear in front of me when I was walking in Central Park like this.
He could track my location anywhere in the world, but I knew that he would never do that because he respected me.
Six months ago he asked me if I wanted to meet him, but this time he told me that he would be in Bali next month. It meant, regardless of whether I wanted to see him or not, Andrea would still fly to Bali. This a statement, not actually a question. The email made my heart restless.
Would I like to see him? Of course, in a heartbeat.
Should I see him? Could I see him?
Those are the million-dollar questions.
Finally, I decided to reply to his email.