Wayang Wong Ramayana at the Prambanan Temple outdoor stage
Guntoro kissed her shoulder a few times, caressing her forearm lovingly he whispered, “I can’t say I regret anything that occurred, falling in love with you was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Endang turned around touching his cheek, “Thank you for loving me.”
He smiled suddenly they heard a loud clanking sound coming from the kitchen, “Ah, she’s still here, isn’t she?” Guntoro grumbled.
Endang reached for her clothes on the floor, she fished something out of the pocket and gave Guntoro a piece of paper, “Here.” She said.
“What’s this?” He asked while looking at the paper.
“When you were busy having a shouting match with Dik Dini, I stole her cell phone and searched it for her husband’s contact information. I think the best thing to do is to call him and let him know that she’s here. They should sort out their problems, this afternoon I saw her crying while hugging his shirt, I’m sure she misses him, and she’s taking out her frustration on us.”
Guntoro nodded and smiled, “You’re resourceful, aren’t you?”
Endang handed him his cell phone that was on the nightstand, he dialed the first number on the paper. When a man’s voice replied, he introduced himself and explained the situation, after a few minutes he hung up.
“What did he say?” Endang asked.
“He’s going to book the first flight to here,” Guntoro explained. “You know, he admitted that he actually did cheat on her with his ex-girlfriend.”
“He did? So it wasn’t just her paranoia again? We shouldn’t be giving her ideas, should we?”
“ideas of having an affair with her ex.”
Guntoro laughed, “You can’t compare us, and I’m sure that after marrying her, his ex-girlfriend seemed like an angel to him.”
“Mas, don’t be mean. I kind of feel bad for her. Looking at it from her point of view, it does seem that I stole her husband.”
“I never wanted you to feel this way…..”
“I said looking at it from her point of view, my point view is different altogether.” Endang replied in a feisty tone.
“What’s your point of view?” Guntoro toned down.
“She took for granted the love that she had, and then she lost him. And I’m not going to let her try to make me feel bad for loving you, or take you away from me.”
Something fell down in the kitchen followed by a woman whining.
“I think, I ‘m going to go and feed her before she destroys my kitchen,” Endang said while getting up.
Guntoro pulled her down to the bed, kissing her cheeks then her neck, “I’ll be in the living room, just in case she tries something funny.”
“Hmm….come on then,” She smiled.
Dini was holding her finger biting her lip in pain. Endang walked passed her towards the fridge and took out some eggs, some rice, and vegetables.
“You should put oil on that, oil will lessen the burning sensation,” Endang said while taking out her stone mortar and peeling onions and garlic.
“I was going to fry myself an egg,” Dini mumbled while rubbing oil on her finger.
“You should’ve taken the egg out first before putting the frying pan on the stove. Sit down, I’ll prepare something to eat.” She paused washed her hand quickly and poured some ice tea from the fridge and put it in front of Dini, “Drink! That will make you feel refreshed.”
“Why are you being nice to me?” Dini asked while looking at her sharply.
“Why not? You’re a guest here, it’s my duty to be a good hostess.” Ending smiled kindly, “I’m going to make fried rice. You do like fried rice, right?”
Dini stared at her, “You and Mas Gun, there is something going on between you, isn’t there?”
Endang took a deep breath, “What if there is? What’s it to you? It’s not like you’re still married to him. Wouldn’t it better to concentrate on your current matrimony?”
“I can’t accept that Brian cheated on me, just like Mas Gun. I don’t know why it keeps happening to me.”
“I don’t have too much experience in love so I can’t comment on your situation. I in my opinion the key to a happy marriage is peace in the home, and to have peace, we need to know how to understand and love our partner, but not the selfish kind of love, not the love that wants to possess and dominate. But the kind of love that teaches us to trust and have faith, to provide companionship and support, to forgive and comprehend. At the end of the day, the idea of marrying someone is to have somebody to be by our side to face the challenges in life, and not somebody who becomes it.”
“But I’m not lucky enough to find a man who understands me, in both my marriages, they never understood me.”
“Understanding is a mutual thing, people will understand us if we put an effort to understand them first. I’ve made that mistake recently, and it caused me so much pain and angst. But I’ve also learned that it’s impossible to understand the person we love if we don’t try to converse with them. I let myself make assumptions and jump into conclusions without understanding the facts, and I hurt the person I loved the most.”
“You’re good at talking aren’t you little girl? Is that how you succeeded in seducing him? Playing the innocent and understanding other woman, what did you do? Offer to be by his side unconditionally? To comfort him? To be his shoulder to cry on? ” Dini snapped at Endang.
“What is wrong with you? Why are you still making a problem over something that happened a long time ago? Haven’t you already moved on? Haven’t you re-married already?” Endang snapped back, “I’ve been polite and friendly to you ever since you’ve arrived here, but why are you being so aggressive towards me all the time?”
“I didn’t come here to make friends with you, I came here to look for my ex-husband. You can’t begin to imagine how surprised I was when I found out that he was living with you. I won’t feel peace if the two of you are happy. You ruined my marriage, do you think I’ll let you live together happily?”
“That’s enough!” Endang was beginning to lose her patience, “There’s your plate of rice, eat it or not, it’s up to you!”
Endang left the kitchen with two plates, leaving the one for Dini behind. She didn’t set it down in the dining room as usual but brought it into the living room. “Mas, let’s eat upstairs, that woman is getting on my nerves.” She said to Guntoro who was working on his laptop.
Endang walked directly up the stairs and entered his room, placing the plates on his desk. She sat on the bed waiting for him to arrive at the room.
“What happened?” He asked while walking in and closing the door.
“I can’t understand how you could have married someone like that. What did you see in her? Or are you just one of those shallow men who look at women’s face and body and don’t care about anything else.”
He sat beside her on the bed, putting his arm around her waist, “She finally got to you too, Huh? So now you know, what I had to go through. Turns out I’m not so mean after all.”
“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe a person like that exists. I tried to be nice to her, to be friendly and to try make peace with her, but she’s just so…so…annoying.”
“You’re cute when you’re angry.” He said to her ear, “What did she do this time?”
“She….., I don’t know if it was a threat or a promise or what, but she told me that she wouldn’t be in peace as long as we are happy. And she doesn’t even know that we’re married yet.”
“She might not know that we’re married, but I think she can guess that there is something between us. We’re living together here alone, and we disappeared for several hours earlier. All that, plus those hickeys on your neck.”
“Hickeys on my neck?” Endang looked at him then quickly stood up and walked to the mirror. She looked at her neck, there were three red round marks on it. “What were you thinking?” She wailed.
Guntoro couldn’t help but laugh, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t control myself.”
“You….you…..you’re horrible, why didn’t you warn me about this before?” She launched at him.
He grabbed her hands while continuing to laugh, “I said I’m sorry.”
“I’m so embarrassed…”She covered her face with her hands.
“Are you embarrassed of me?”
“No, not of you. But you know what I mean, stop picking on me!” She pouted.
“Okay, okay……I’m sorry. Tomorrow you should wear something to cover it up, otherwise people are going to start asking what you’ve been up to.”
“We should eat, your fried rice I as appetizing as always…” He said.
“If I knew what you did to me, I wouldn’t have served you dinner. I would have made you watch me eat while you starve all night.”
“nDang, how did it go with your husband’s ex?” Riski interrogated her as soon as they were alone.
“She’s kind of strange, very spiteful and full of anger. I think there must be something loose in her head.” Endang replied seriously.
“Is she trying to get back with Pak Gun?”
“I’m not sure, from the bottom of my heart I doubt it….She mopes around the house all day hugging her new husband’s shirt, but she keeps picking fights with me over my relationship with Mas Gun. She avoids talking or meeting him face to face, but she talks about him a lot behind his back.”
“You know what I think? I think she’s not interested in Pak Gun anymore. She’s probably in love with her new husband, but it must hurt her pride seeing that her ex-husband has already moved on and is now married again, especially to someone who is uglier than her.”
“Thanks for being such a supportive friend.” Endang knocked Riski on the head, “But she doesn’t know that we are married.”
“Are you thinking that she suspects that the two of you are dating or something…”
“Yep, that’s right.” Endang thought for a few minutes. “As long as she doesn’t try anything dramatic, I think I should just keep my eyes on her. I want to avoid conflict as much as I can, I don’t want Mas Gun to feel anxious and burdened.”
“My, oh my, aren’t you a dedicated wife.”
Endang walked pass the hall of the first floor of the faculty building. At the corner of her eye, she could see Guntoro was speaking with a group of female students. Although by their gestures and the books that they were holding, she can deduce that they were asking about statistics, but she still felt uncomfortable.
“nDang, your boyfriend is outside the bulding looking for you,” Syaiful said while quickly passing beside her in the hall.
“My boyfriend?” Endang didn’t understand what he was talking about.
“Yeah, you now the guy from the Finance Faculty.”
“Mas Widodo.” Endang thought. She didn’t want to see him or speak to him again. As far as she was concerned they were a thing of the past. She was married and was not about to meet another man behind her husbands back. Endang ignored Syaiful’s words and rushed to her classroom.
For the rest of the day she didn’t dare to go out of the faculty building, she kept finding excuses to stay inside. Only stepping out when she was safe by Guntoro’s side, in the afternoon on their way home together.
“What happened to you today? Why didn’t you go out of the faculty building?” He asked her as they were driving home.
“You noticed did you? I thought you were too busy with your female students to pay attention to me.”
“I’m never too busy for you, I can be a thousand kilometers from you, and you would still be the only woman I see in front of me.” He replied.
“Hmmm……” She smiled “Cheesy!”
“So tell me, why were you hiding inside the building all day? ”
“Mas Widodo was in front of the faculty building looking for me, I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to meet him.”
“Hmm, his face became serious. “The next time he comes looking for you, text me! I’ll go and talk to him.”
“Let’s go out to eat, I want some chicken noodles,” Guntoro said changing the subject.
“Sure.. “She replied curtly.
“Is there something in your mind?” He fished.
“Why are you thinking about her?” He asked seeing her expression.
“I think now I can understand the root of her behavior, I mean her jealousy towards you when the two of you were together. Not that I justify her reaction, but I can relate to her reason.”
“What are you trying to say?” He glanced at her.
“When we were in the faculty building, I realized that you are such a big flirt, maybe that’s why she behaved the way she did towards you. You know it takes two hands to clap, smoke doesn’t appear if there’s no spark.”
“I don’t care what sparked Dini’s reaction. But I am concerned if you see me as a big flirt.” His voice shaking, “Why do think of me that way?”
“This is not the first time I thought that way about you, when I was a freshman I avoided you because I didn’t like how you were too friendly with the female students. A lot of times I hear comments from them thinking that maybe you were returning their feelings.”
“But…but I’m just trying to be nice, to be friendly. I don’t want to be the scary old lecturer who is inaccessible to his students. I think I treat my male and female students alike.”
“You do. Many male students think you’re great and kind and always willing to help. Obviously they don’t start looking at you with dreamy eyes like the female ones. I suppose that’s the effect of being handsome and single.”
“You think I’m handsome?” He smiled.
“Have I ever said you weren’t? You look just like your father.”
“Do you think my father is handsome?” He frowned.
“A lot of people think he’s handsome, he used to be the number one dancer for Wayang Wong Wisanggeni.”
“So who do you think is more handsome between……”
“Back to our previous conversation, maybe the way male students and female students perceive your treatment towards them differently, I suppose there’s not much you can do about it.”
Guntoro laughed, “I can’t do anything about being born handsome, but about being known as a single man, there’s a way around that.”
“What are you thinking?” Endang looked at him with her eyes opened.
“You’ll see.” Guntoro turned the car to the right and drove to the market complex, he parked the car in front of a jewelry shop. “I know our people don’t usually wear wedding rings, but I think we can consider this a special case.”
He got down from the car and quickly walked around it to open the door for her. Endang came down looking at him doubtfully, not understanding his chain of thoughts.
“Let’s go.” He grabbed her hand and walked towards one of the jewelry store. “You should pick out a ring for me to wear as a wedding ring, that way you can be sure that the female student wouldn’t see me as single.”
“Would that be alright?” She doubted.
“Why not?” He flicked her nose.
“I mean are you sure you have enough money to buy jewelry?” She asked again.
He took a deep breath but smiled, “Now that you’re not living in a boarding house anymore, I’m saving a lot of money on the monthly rent, the money I can use to pay the monthly quota for the ring.”
“I never got to thank you for that and for my tuition. Thank you.” She smiled while clasping his hand tighter.
He lifted her hand to his face and kissed it without saying anything.
They entered a shop that Guntoro liked, Endang spent a few minutes looking at the rings through the glass case. “This one.” She pointed to a simple platinum wedding band with leaves engraved on the surface.
Guntoro asked the attendant to take it out and then tried it on. Endang lifted her thumb and nodded.
“We’ll take this one, can you bring us the matching pair too?” He asked the young woman.
“What are you planning?” She asked.
“Miss, can you also sell me a chain from the same material?” he didn’t answer Endang but talked to the store attendant instead. “Thank you, I’ll take all of these.” He said while handing her the credit card.
“Mas, why are you spending so much money?” Endang rebuked.
“Hey, your husband is not such a useless man, you know.” He replied while putting the chain in her ring and putting it around her neck. “Now we have a matching pair of rings, without being so obvious.”
“You can be so cheesy sometimes.” Endang paused then smiled mischievously, “I like cheesy! Keep on being cheesy towards me!”
“We have still have some time to grab a bite before Dini’s husband arrives. Come on, a few blocks from here there’s a restaurant called Mie Pangsit Gajah Mada, as their namesake, they’re famous for their Pangsit Mie. I want you to try it.”
“Okay, show me the way.” She said cheerfully.
Dini was sitting on the rattan swinging chair on the terrace when they arrived home. “Aren’t you making yourself too comfortable here?” Guntoro asked sarcastically.
Dini looked at them with a cold expression without saying anything.
Endang shook her head and took a deep breath, “Did you have lunch?” She asked.
“You’re pretty shameless, aren’t you? Flaunting your happiness in front of me.” She said looking at Endang.
“Dini, I won’t allow you to talk to her like that! If you think we’re flaunting in front of you, and you don’t want to see us, you can easily leave this house.” Guntoro raised his voice.
“As always, you’re defending you little lover here. I wonder how such a prominent University will do nothing about one of its lecturer acting immorally by living together with one of his students. Or are you deceiving people pretending to be aunt and nephew? Just like you deceived me in the past.” She said again.
“Dini, stop it!” Guntoro began to shout.
“You’re still a heartless and cruel man, aren’t you? I dedicated my youth to you, and what did you do? You replaced me with a younger woman. You took advantage of me and my father’s wealth to improve your lifestyle, and when you got tired of me you threw me away just like that.” Dini looked at him with hatred, “Do you think I’m stupid, how can a University lecturer afford a house like this and a brand new car? When we divorced you got half of the house and the car, the house and car you could afford to buy because you were working for my father, do you think if you weren’t married to me at that time, you would have received such a good salary and good position?”
“Dini, all the money from our divorce settlement is still in the bank, if you want it you can have it! But let’s make one thing clear! After I left the factory, the stock price and revenue of your father’s company dropped sharply because he couldn’t maintain operations and production efficiency, much less the quality of his product. Tell me, has he been able to recover from that fall? Because according to the business newspapers, he hasn’t. You can claim whatever you want, but for your information, the members of the board of directors officially recognized my contribution to the company. Oh yes, they did contact me and offered me to come back to the factory. I earned my keep, in no way was I a charity case for your father, and certainly not for you!” Guntoro was beginning to lose his patience.
“Calm down, don’t get too upset, you might get sick.” Endang put her arm around his waist and stroked his arm.
“Well, look here, this little girl is blatantly hugging you in front of me, the two of you are like peas in a pod, two revolting and shameless people who are meant for each other!”
“I won’t allow you to insult my wife!” Guntoro shouted.
“Wife? Huh! Who did you have to bribe to legalize your disgusting incestuous relationship?”
“Dik Dini!” Endang said, “We don’t have to explain anything to you! I don’t appreciate that you’re upsetting Mas Guntoro. You have absolutely no rights what so ever to come to our house and humiliate my husband!”
“Oh, how cute, the two of you are defending each other!” She answered sardonically.
“That’s enough! I’m going to drag her out of here and throw her on the street.” Guntoro sad while moving forward towards Dini.
“Mas, don’t do that, a man should never use force against a woman no matter how evil she is.” Endang said holding him back. “Let me do it, I’ll drag and throw this old bag out of our house, myself!” She rolled up her sleeves and approached Dini.
Just as Endang grabbed Dini by the hair there was a loud clanking sound at the gate, making them turn around to see who it was. A foreigner was standing there, he was about the same height as Guntoro, wearing jeans and a white T-shirt, and his eyes were hidden behind a John Lennon styled dark sunglasses.
“Brian?” Dini gasped as the man took off his sunglasses.
Endang looked at him with her jaw dropping, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” She exclaimed under her breath.
 Traditional Javanese theatrical Javanese dance theatrical performance with themes taken from episodes of the Ramayana or Mahabharata. Performances are stylized, reflecting Javanese court culture
 If you’re ever in Malang East Java, check this place out https://foursquare.com/v/mie-pangsit-gajah-mada/4cde3bbbdb125481c4a12fce
 Pangsit Mie is a Chinese-influenced noodle dish that is very much loved by the Indonesian people. Can only be described by one word “Yummy” ❤