Mengenang sahabatku, Wiranto Budisusetyo

Semula memang tidak ada rencana untuk menulis ini. Tadi pagi saya bangun dengan sebuah mimpi yang cukup aneh. Saya bermimpi tentang sahabat karib saya waktu SMA yang telah tiada. Dalam mimpi itu, saya sadar bahwa dia, Wiranto Budisusetyo, telah tiada. Saat itu saya merasa bahwa hari ini adalah ulang tahunnya. Padahal saya sama sekali tidak tahu atau ingat akan hari ulang tahunnya. Saya hanya mimpi seakan hari ini adalah hari ulang tahunnya dan saya datang ke rumahnya.

Ketika di rumahnya (rumah ini tidak mirip dengan rumah yang saya kenal sebagai rumahnya dulu), saya ditanya ingin bertemu siapa. Saya bingung menjawab apa, sebab saya tahu kalau Wiranto telah tiada. Saya jawab, "Saya hanya ingin bertamu saja." Tak lama kemudian, ada banyak orang keluar dari dalam ruangan, salah satunya ada ayahnya. Saya menyalaminya dan berbicara dengannya. Tak ingat apa yang dibicarakan.

Kelanjutan mimpi itu tidak jelas. Tapi hal itu mengusik perasaan saya. Mengapa saya memimpikannya? Sudah sangat lama saya tidak mengingat dia atau keluarganya. Mengapa tiba-tiba muncul dalam mimpi saya di pagi hari menjelang bangun tidur.

Wiranto satu SMA dengan saya. Ketika tahun 1983, kami bersama-sama memenangkan lomba karya ilmiah remaja yang diselenggarakan oleh LIPI-TVRI. Saya satu kelas di atasnya dan kami banyak bersama-sama ketika menyelenggarakan kelompok ilmiah remaja di SMAK Frateran Surabaya dulu.

Mimpi yang tidak biasanya ini membawa saya mencoba menelusuri dirinya lewat internet. Tak banyak situs tentang dirinya. Satu di arsip LIPI dan satu lagi dari tempat kuliahnya di Amerika dulu. Saya membaca namanya di sebuah jurnal yang diterbitkan tahun 2001. Saya cukup terkejut. Bukankah Wiranto sudah meninggal dunia tahun 1989 lalu? Mengapa ada jurnal terbitan tahun 2001 yang mencantumkan namanya sebagai salah satu penulisnya? Saya mencoba menghubungi alamat email penulis utamanya tadi pagi. Malam ini saya membaca jawaban darinya. Sebagai kenangan akan sahabatku, Wiranto, ijinkan saya menyampaikan email dari dosennya tersebut.

Nur agustinus - 29 Mei 2007

Dear Nur, (Memorial Day, May 28, 2007)

The Wiranto Budisusetyo whose name appeared on the paper was indeed your friend. He studied two years at the University of Minnesota where he took and fell in love with Organic Chemistry (not everybody's cup of tea). When he transferred to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in the fall of 1986, he began to visit my office daily to talk about chemistry even though he wasn't taking a course with me. I was (and still am) the teacher of Organic here at the College. His personality and friendliness were so unusual that I soon had him helping me computerize my grades for the first time. By Christmas he had convinced me that I should buy an Apple computer, and then he served as a 24 hour a day phone consultant about how to operate the thing. (I'm still using Apple computers today).

Wiranto loved chemistry, he loved computers, and he loved to travel. On one trip home he visited Egypt and bought a gold pendant with his name in hieroglyphics. His father Rudsy visited Wiranto twice and we dined together on each occasion. He told me to look after his son.

But in the summer of 1988 a new love took hold of your friend, Wiranto-it was the love of flying. He began to take flying lessons. Because money was no object for him, he took the lessons rapidly, became an apprentice co-pilot on a small commercial (propeller-driven) airline which flew from Bedford Massachusetts to Albany New York. As soon as he earned a pilot's license (already in October), he rented a small aircraft and flew from Bedford to Maine and to Cape Cod on some weekends. He would call me and say
"Guess where I am?"

By the next spring he felt that he was very experienced as a pilot, but he had only been flying for 8 months. On March 25, 1989, the evening before Easter, he used his beautiful magnetic personality to induce three members of the college community to accompany him on a flight to Albany New York in a rented plane. One of the passengers was my graduate student, Kwabena Ansu, from Ghana. It was Kwabena's sister that the group was to visit for an Easter dinner the next day. The other two passengers were the registrar of the College and a mathematics teacher. The weather was really nasty and stormy during that Saturday, but by 5 PM is had calmed down in Bedford and the group (Wiranto the pilot) decided to fly. Apparently they misjudged the fuel and landed in Springfield Massachusetts after dark to try to purchase more-but they found the airport services were closed on a Saturday night with the lousy flying conditions. Unadvisedly, they took off again in the direction of Albany, but either through low fuel or low altitude they crashed into the woods of a state park on a windy mountainside (only about 1600 ft in altitude). I got a call in my home about 10 PM that night from the police. On Monday, I drove to Springfield where the bodies were taken, and I officially identified the Wiranto and Kwabena from the photographs of their dead bodies. Kwabena had a look of terror frozen on his face. Your friend Wiranto looked different in death, he looked as if he had experienced a great disappointment-he had let his friends down.

His father and mother came to Boston for his funeral, and his ashes were place in an urn and were spread by his sometimes girlfriend, Julie Irish (now Ph.D.) on the waters of the Boston harbor somewhere near the shore where the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library stands. His father gave me many mementos of Wiranto, and from that day until this, I have worn around my neck the hieroglyphic pendant and gold chain which he wore in the fatal crash.

I feel sad to have to bring you such news. But I am the only person outside his family who knows the complete story of what happened. Wiranto was an absolutely magnificent human being. The world lost a powerful force of good in this sad crash. I have not yet met another student so spontaneously generous and so enthusiastic about life as your dear friend.

I have one thing about which I feel guilty. That is that I have not contacted Wiranto's father about the existence of the publication from which you got my address. Do you have an email contact for him or for either of Wiranto's twin sisters? I would really like to send them a copy of the published manuscript.

Yours truly,
Charles J. Kelley

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