Endang felt her blood rush to her head, causing her to become dizzy with anger, she opened her eyes as wide as she could, she pointed at Guntoro and yelled, “You! How could you do this to me? How could you be so mean and inconsiderate? I can’t believe this! How many times do I have to tell you to take off your shoes at the front door when you return from community night-watchman duty? Look at my floor! It’s all dirty! Do you know how hard it is for me to maintain the house clean all day?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry” Guntoro said with his hand holding his arm, “Don’t be upset, I promise I’ll clean the floor first thing tomorrow morning!”
“I didn’t know that it was Mas Gun. I heard the door opening softly from my room, and when I peeked out, in the dark I saw a man walking quietly up the stairs. What was I supposed to think? That’s why I followed him here to surprise attack him.” Dini explained.
“Dik Dini, what do you think you’re doing? If it was really an intruder who broke into the house, besides robbing us, don’t you think you’ll be nice little bonus for him if you walked around half naked like that? Besides, if you really wanted to surprise attack a robber, next time get a broom or a kitchen knife, not a small scissors like that!” Endang pointed to Dini’s hand.
“Don’t give her any ideas, if I didn’t have good reflexes and blocked her with my arms, she could have poked my eye out,” Guntoro said. “Luckily I only suffered a scratch.”
“For your information, I’m not half naked, I’m wearing shorts. It’s just that Brian’s shirt is a little too long for me, that’s all.” Dini Retorted
“Okay, let’s just go back to our rooms and call it a day,” Endang said while waving her hands up. “Oh and Dik Dini, if you’re going to stay here, you can’t go around dressed like that, you should at least wear sweatpants under your t-shirt, if you don’t have any, then buy some! If you’re here to think things through, then reflect on this, how would your husband feel if he saw you walking around in a skimpy get up at your ex-husband’s house? No matter if you’re wearing his clothes or not, no husband will be happy to know that his wife’s ex is free to ogle over her body.”
“Hey, let’s be clear, I’m not ogling over anything here!” Guntoro protested.
“Okay, everybody back to your rooms!” Endang said bossily. She stood still with her arms crossed in front of her chest to make sure that everybody complied. Guntoro entered his room and closed the door behind him.
“You act and sound just like Bu Yuni.” Dini said to Endang as she turned around and walked down the stairs.
“That’s because we were raised by the same parents!” Endang almost shouting.
After hearing the sound of the door closing downstairs, Endang waited a few more minutes before she entered her own room. She closed the door behind her and leaned against the door. Today was a long day for her. She took a deep breath and paced back and forwards, stretching her arms and rolling her head to ease the tension. She stopped when the door to her room opened and Guntoro already in his pajamas casually walked in.
“How’s your arm?” Endang asked him.
“It’s okay, it’s just a little scratch, and the bleeding has stopped already.” He answered.
“So are you feeling better now? Are you done with your tantrums and jealousy rages?” He asked coquettishly.
“I’m done with my tantrums. I’m still as jealous as hell. And you can’t even imagine how upset I am.” She replied. “Why are you here at this hour? Didn’t you say that it’s better if your ex doesn’t find out about our relationship?”
“She’s downstairs in her room, so she’s not going to see us together in here.” He replied while pulling her to him, “You know, it was raining and cold outside, my hands and face are freezing. If you don’t help me raise my body temperature back to normal again, I might get sick.”
“Should I go downstairs and make you some hot tea?”
“I have a better idea. You know, I think that jealousy of yours is very sexy…..” He whispered.
She laid her head down on his bare chest, stroking it with her finger.
“What are you dying to ask me about?” Guntoro asked. “I know you’re anxious about something.”
“I want to know about your relationship with Dik Dini, how it started, how it ended, why it ended, everything.”
He took a deep breath, “You’re not going to let me get any sleep until I tell you, aren’t you?”
“You’re pretty pushy for a much younger wife. I heard people say that having a wife many years younger is good because they tend to be more sweet and submissive in acknowledgment to their husband’s wisdom and life experience.”
“Are you trying to change the topic?” Endang asked bluntly.
“Okay, I met Dini when I just graduated University and started my first job which was at her father’s factory. I worked there as one of the QC person. I first met her by chance when she went there to visit her father. Naturally she was attracted to my incredibly handsome looks. Ouch…. Should I continue?”
“Anyway, we started dating, at first her father didn’t approve of it, but as he got to know me more, he began to like me, and so he began to teach me more about business and about investments. He brought me to various social gatherings, refined and groomed me to be able to fit into their social circle.”
“Thus the peacock was born.” Endang commented under her breath.
“What was that?” Guntoro not quite hearing her.
“No, please continue…”
“Anyway Dini and I dated each other for about a year and a half before we got married. You were there at the wedding weren’t you? “
“Yeah, I remember that day, you guys went all out on the ceremony, very luxurious. I was only twelve back then but I can still remember the food and decoration, amazing.” She smiled thinking back to that day, “Oh, by the way, I remember that Dik Dini had a good looking cousin that was about my age, Agus was it? He accompanied me all day that day, and we were pen pals for a while afterwards, what ever happened to him?”
“He’s studying in the States and you’re already married! So forget him!” Guntoro continued, “Moving on, when I was younger, and in love with Dini, I thought that our wedding would be the beginning of our happily ever after. But in reality it wasn’t that way. It turns out that having a gorgeous wife, a rich father in law, a luxurious wedding party and a honeymoon in Europe didn’t guarantee that our lives together would be happy, or even peaceful for that matter.”
“Why” What happened?”
“She was very jealous of me, she saw every woman around me as a competition and we would always fight because of it.”
“Hang on, just now you said that you thought my jealousy was sexy.”
“Yours is, but hers was a nightmare. You have all the reason in the world to feel jealous, and I’m sorry to make you go through it, but Dini was crazy, she was jealous of her own shadow. She would smell my clothes every time I came back from work, check my pockets, search the car for traces of any other women, that and much more. If Dini had been in the situation that you were in a few hours ago, she wouldn’t have acted as calmly and as gracefully as you did. She would have immediately accused me of bringing another woman into my room, even though she knew that I have night rounds every Monday night. It became suffocating for me, I was afraid to do anything because my wife might get suspicious, there was even a time when I became afraid to laugh because I thought that it might bring me bad luck.”
“And so how did the two of you end up divorcing each other?”
“There was a young woman who I became infatuated with.”
“You finally cheated on Dik Dini for real?” She looked up at him suspiciously.
“No!” He affirmed, “It was a deep emotion on my part. This woman never knew how I felt about her. Besides it would have been creepy for her if I tried to approach her back then.”
Endang’s voice became sad she sat up and leaned herself against the bedroom wall, “Mas, hearing you’re side of the story, it must have been hard on you going through those times, I remember you came back to hide away in our house for a few months. But I have to admit I am very disappointed in you, after knowing that you fell for another woman while you were still married to your ex-wife. Even though you claim that nothing ever happened between you and this woman, but it must have reached to such an extent to have caused you and Dini to divorce. Could it be that you’re just like my biological father who died in the arms of his lover, even though he had a wife and baby? Do you know how much I suffered because of that? I never even knew my father, but the elders in our rural community talks about him when they see me pass by, pointing their fingers at me, and judging me because of his actions. Not to mention that my own mother hates me because I remind her of him. I hope that woman gets punished by God for what she did to me and my family.”
“Endang, come here,” He pulled her hand, she didn’t resist and laid herself in his arms again, allowing him to hold her tightly, “Please don’t see me that way. I’m nothing like your biological father. Although, I can’t and won’t apologize for feeling the way I felt for her, falling in love isn’t something people do intentionally. But I can promise you, now that I’m with you, I’ll never disappoint you, and I’ll never have anybody else besides you.”
“At least I have the peace of mind knowing that we started to have feelings for each other many years after you and Dik Dini separated.” She paused and then continued, “So tell me more about this woman, what kind of a woman was she and what super powers did she have to be able to make you fall into an unrequited love before you even separated from your beautiful fairylike wife? Be honest with me!”
Guntoro smiled and said in a dreamy voice, “She’s straight forward, bossy, she could be tough at times, but she isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability. She’s always willing to listen to people and see things from their point of view, never jumping to conclusions or judging them, but if she wants to be unreasonable nobody can beat her at the game. She’s very mature even at a young age, loving, caring and also maternal. She’s a woman and also a child, and she’s incredibly cute and adorable that makes me just want to hug her.”
“You pig!” Endang squealed pulling the pillow from under his head and using it to hit him, “You’re lying in bed with me but you’re singing praises to another woman? Get out of here! Go back to your own room, don’t even dream that I’ll let you lay a finger on me again!”
Guntoro laughed, sat up and pushed her to the mattress and held her hands down, “You told me to be honest.”
Endang asked him in a serious tone, “Should I be worried that you’ll meet her again and leave me? Are you going to end up in her arms while I suffer alone?”
“That’s never going to happen.” He replied.
Endang was too tired and sleepy to go to her classes today, she decided to call in sick. Obviously Riski called her worried that something had happened to her. She told her best friend that she was alright, and that she would update her later on everything. She was distracting herself by drawing on the terrace when from the corner of her eyes, she caught a glimpse of Dini sitting by the fish pond hugging the t-shirt that she wore last night.
Endang put down her paper and charcoal and walked to the fish pond, “You obviously miss him very much. So what are you doing here?” She asked.
“Leave me alone little girl!” Dini sassed.
“Dik Dini, you can have it two ways, suffer in silence, or talk about and get the weight off your chest. I might not have a lot of experience in life, but I can at least listen.”
Dini just sat there in silence.
“Oh well, whatever works for you then!” Endang said deciding to leave her alone.
“He went on a business trip, and he didn’t bother to tell me that his ex was with the group.” Dini finally spoke.
Endang turned around, and sat on the grass a few meters away, she didn’t say anything she just looked at Dini.
“They were on the trip for two weeks, who knows what could have happened between them. If his secretary didn’t accidently spill out that information, I would have never known.”
“Is that why you decided to stay here? He traveled with his ex for two weeks, so you’re going to stay at your ex’s for two weeks to get even with him? Is that it?” Endang finally asked.
Dini shrugged her shoulder, “Among other reasons.” She replied, “I also don’t want to listen to my parents’ nagging. I know I’m not perfect, and I have my temper, but this time I really tried to change. I tried to be patient and understanding. I never treated him the way I treated Mas Gun when we were married. I tried not to nag him, or question his where about….I tried…I tried…..” Dini said not making any real sense.
“Dik Dini, what’s your story? Why do you find it difficult to trust your husband or should I say any man who happens to be your husband? What’s with the jealousy?”
“So Mas Gun told you about me, did he?” Dini glared at her.
“No, he didn’t. mBak Yuni did.” Endang lied.
“She hates me, you all hated me, that’s why you talk about me like that.”
“Dik Dini, you’ve got it all wrong! I remember when Dik Gun brought you home for the first time, mBak Yuni was so happy and so proud that her son found himself a high class, highly educated angel. She would talk and talk about you night and day nonstop, until I had to hide behind the chicken coop to escape from her because I had had enough. I could recite every single word she would say backwards and forwards. When I saw you for the first time, I thought that you were a bidadari, a fairy from the heavens, I’ve never seen a woman as beautiful as you, and I have never seen one ever since.”
“What’s your point?”
“My point is if you are able to move even a woman’s heart with your beauty, why don’t you trust yourself enough to feel confident that your husband will be madly in love with you?”
Dini looked down to her feet but didn’t say anything.
Endang thought for a while then continued, “I don’t know your new husband, but when you were with Dik Gun, we all could see that he was mad about you. He changed everything about him to be a man that will be suitable for you. He used to be a humble small town man, then he turned into a sophisticated high class gentleman so you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have him by your side. If that’s not love then what is it?” Endang glanced at her, “Can you think of anything that Brian did for you out of love?”
“Well, he tried to each spicy food, and he learnt to speak our language to be able to speak with my parents.” Dini said almost to herself then smiled remembering her husband.
“There you have it!” Endang smiled also, “Learning a new language just to please your in laws is a big act of love.”
Dini raised her head and turned to Endang, “What about you, little girl? Do you have a boyfriend?”
Endang shook her head, “I recently broke up with him.” She replied shortly.
“Did Mas Gun have anything to do with it?” Dini fished
“Why would he?”
“No, just wondering. And how do your parents feel about you living here?”
“The last time I talked with my father by phone he had no problem with it.”
“Ah…I see.” She nodded. “I remember when I broke up with Mas Gun. I fell into depression. I thought my world had ended. I didn’t want to live anymore. I can’t even remember how many times I wanted to end my life.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, I never knew you had gone through such a thing.”
“You should be sorry! You should be! It was all your fault, if it wasn’t because of you, we would still be together!”
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