Endang heard about it before, but she never believed it till now. There was such a thing as a doppelganger in this world. And she had one standing in front of her at this very moment. Brian Contreras was almost a carbon copy of Guntoro.
Endang shook her head in disbelief. Her emotions migrated from shocked to bewilder to anger. “Why would she marry someone who looked like Mas Gun?” Endang thought.
Apparently she wasn’t the only one who noticed this because Guntoro seemed to observe the foreigner with curiosity and Brian in turn looked at Guntoro with amazement.
“Are you Brian? Welcome to our house, please come in.” Guntoro said composing himself.
“Thank you! You must be Guntoro.” The foreigner replied amicably.
Endang stared at Dini intensely, there was nothing she would love to do more than chew her ear off. Seeing her like that Guntoro, quickly pulled her closer “nDang, don’t you have a quiz to study for?” He asked.
Endang shook her head.
“Well, now you do, tomorrow there’s going to be a Statistic pop quiz tomorrow! Let’s leave these two to talk for a while. It was nice meeting you, Brian.” He said shaking his guest’s hand.
“I don’t like this, I want her out of this house!” Endang said as soon as they got to the room.
“Calm down! Don’t let your jealousy get the better of you! Of course she has to leave this house immediately, there’s no doubt about it. But don’t get agitated.”
She paced back and forwards, “I thought at first she was in love and missing her husband seeing how she keeps on hugging his shirt, but now seeing what he looks like, I feel so insecure and afraid.”
“Afraid? Afraid that I might go back to her? Afraid that she might want to go back to me?”
“Well, of course. Isn’t that natural that I feel afraid of those things?”
“He may look like me physically, but it doesn’t mean we have a lot in common.”
“I suppose you’re right….” Endang doubted. She beamed up again, “Well, come to think of it at first glance the two of you do look alike, but if you pay more attention to the details there are many differences. For example, his hair is lighter and straight, and his eyes have a nice clear color to it, his voice is not as deep and maybe even a little high pitched, his nose is a little bigger and taller, I think he has more muscles than you, he probably works out more, and ….”
“That’s enough!” Guntoro barked “Now it’s me who’s beginning to feel concerned! I have to kick those two out of here as soon as possible.”
“Dini, when your ex-husband called me and told me that you were here, I was very worried, but now after seeing him, I’m even more worried. Have you always seen me as his replacement?”
“Brian, it’s not what you think. It’s not like that at all…..” Dini’s tears began to fall down her face.
“Is that why you were always so cold towards me? Tell me, when you look at me, who do you see? Do you see me or do you see him? You know, I’m glad I came here. At least now, I’m not going to be the fool anymore.” He said while turning around heading towards the gate.
“Brian, wait, don’t go, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Brian, please believe me, I love you, I really do love you. I admit at first it was like that but now……”She ran forward and hugged him from behind.
“Dini, are you sure, are you sure that it’s me who you love?” He brushed her arms off and walked away.
Dini stood frozen for a few minutes, her heart was about to explode. Suddenly a lot of things began to seem little and unimportant to her, Guntoro and Endang being together, the fact that Brian was with his ex-girlfriend, her pride and vanity, it all shrunk into a meaningless dot. For the first time in her life she felt that she had been defeated, abandoned and alone. She ran into the house and up the stairs, banging on Guntoro’s bedroom door.
Guntoro opened the door, “What do you want now?” He asked.
Dini pushed him back and entered the room, she passed by him and headed towards Endang who was sitting on the bed. Guntoro reached for her shoulder to prevent her from harming Endang, but Dini was determined, she rushed forward and lunged towards Endang, burying her face in the younger girl’s lap and began to cry hysterically.
“What happened?” Endang asked not expecting something like this.
“He’s gone, it’s over. He left me…..he left me….”
“Mas Gun, can you please get her a glass of water.” Endang looked up at Guntoro.
“Tell me what happened. Did you have a fight with him?” Endang said gently to Dini, while removing her hair from her face.
“No, he didn’t believe that I really loved him, he thinks that I only see him as a replacement for Mas Gun, but that’s not true. That’s not true. I thought it was that way at first, that’s why I came here, but after seeing him again today, I realized how much I missed Brian, and how much I love him. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do?”
Guntoro entered the room again with a glass of water, he handed it to Endang who in turned helped Dini drink the water. “Dini, get a hold of yourself, you’re always like this, jumping into conclusions and letting your emotions takeover. You won’t solve anything by doing that.” Guntoro said to her harshly.
“Mas Gun is right, you should try to calm down first, It’s still not too late to fix your relationship with your husband, he’s probably still in the city, you can still go to him and try to sort things out with him.” Endang persuaded her.
“I think you should give the both of you some time to calm down, tomorrow you can find him and talk to him. Nicely! Don’t go at it with your usual hysterical and condescending way.”
“Mas Gun, don’t be so harsh.” Endang glared at him.
“I don’t know where he’s staying….” Dini said softly.
“I’ll ask Rahmat to find out about it. Most likely he’s in one of the big hotels in the city. How hard could it be to locate him?” Guntoro continued, “You brought this on to yourself, you’re already in your thirties but you can’t think like a mature woman.”
“Mas Gun!” Endang scold, “This is not the right time!”
“He’s right,” Dini said, “If I wasn’t so spiteful and selfish, all this wouldn’t have happened,” She said to Endang, “I need you to accompany me so you could be my witness that nothing happened between Mas Gun and me while I was here.”
Endang looked up at Guntoro, he considered for a while, “If you want her to go with you, then you’ll have to wait until she finishes her classes tomorrow in the afternoon. And she can’t go alone I have to be with her. There’s no way I’m going to let her enter a hotel alone with you, I don’t trust you!”
“What do you think I might do to her?” Dini felt offended.
“Dini, you’ve proven to be somebody who would do anything to get her way, and you’ve never shown any good intentions towards Endang. Her safety and well-being are my number one concern. Take it or leave it!”
“Hey, pssttt……look at Pak Gun’s finger, is he wearing a ring?” Anies asked Endang.
Endang looked at Anies then shrugged her shoulder. “You should ask him yourself.” She replied.
“But aren’t you his relative? How could you not know?”
“Do you think I have nothing better to do than checking into his business?” Endang trying hard to contain her smile. She looked at him from her chair dreamily.
“Endang, don’t be stingy, why don’t you tell us.” A girl who sat behind her asked.
“Leave her alone!” Riski defended.
“nDang, come on, tell us.” Endang felt somebody kicked her chair.
She turned around angrily, “What do you want?” She raised her voice.
“Mbak Endang, is there something you want to share with the class?” Guntoro called out from the front of the room.
“No sir.” She said shaking her head, cursing him inside her heart.
Endang was left in peace for a few minutes when they began to disturb her again, she even felt her cell phone vibrating a few times. Endang took a deep breath and resolved to ignore them.
“nDang, do you know if he has a girlfriend, is that a couple ring?” Anies asked again.
“nDang, you’re so mean, why don’t you share the gossip with us? Don’t be so stuck up! Don’t you consider us as your friends?” Sari tickled her waist from her left side.
Endang inadvertently giggled, slapping her friend’s finger away. Guntoro looked at her disapprovingly. Seeing the girls bothering her, some of the boys started to join in without knowing what the reason was.
Iwan the young man who was sitting behind her started to pull small strands of her hair.
“Ouch!” She complained softly. “What are you doing?” while turning around slightly.
He laughed a little, scratching his head with his right hand, “Sorry.” He grinned.
“Wan, she has a boyfriend already, a senior in Finance, even if to try to get her attention like that, she won’t be interested in you!” One of the boys whispered.
“So what? As long as there’s no coconut leaf decorating the door on her wedding day, I still have a chance.” Iwan grinned again.
Endang shook her head and rolled her eyes up, “Crazies!” She whispered to them.
“What’s going on over there?” Guntoro shouted at the group of students. They hushed up, pretending to take notes. Not convinced with their acting, he added, “Do you have any questions? Do you understand what I just explained? So I can point out to any of you to repeat it and you can do it, right?”
The students started booing.
“But nobody had any questions, so I thought I can assume that everybody understands today’s lesson.”
“Pak Guntoro I have a question.” Syaiful lifted his arm, in his usual comedic demeanor.
“What is it Mas Syaiful?”
“The girls wanted to know why you are wearing a ring today.” He asked.
Guntoro smiled, “What’s wrong with me wearing a ring on my finger?”
“Ask him if it’s a couple ring!” Anies whispered to Syaiful.
“Anies wants to know if it’s a couple ring.” Syaiful barked out again, followed by the class laughing and Anies blushing.
“No, it’s not a couple ring!” He paused for a while, “It’s a wedding ring. Now let’s go on with our lesson for today.”
The class began to whisper among themselves, “nDang, why didn’t you tell us that Pak Guntoro got married?” Anies murmured to her, with some other girls agreeing.
“Guys, it’s not like he’s a superstar and I’m a gossip columnist, what’s it to us if his married or not?” Endang replied.
“What’s his wife like?” Somebody asked.
“She has hair on her head, two eyes, one nose, two ears, and a mouth. What more can I say?” She replied sticking her tongue out.
“Okay, okay, that’s enough, why don’t we concentrate on what’s written on the white board!” Guntoro shouted out again.
“My heart is broken.” Anies said her eyes teary.
“What’s wrong with you? It’s not like you were dating him.” Endang looked at her sharply.
“But I had hopes, and now it’s all gone.” She said sadly.
“Don’t worry about it, he’s not the last man on earth!” Endang replied coldly.
“Luckily my love story is not like yours, Nies.” Iwan said in a low voice.
“Keep on hoping!” Riski whispered.
“I have a better idea, since Iwan is single and available, why don’t you go and help Anies mend her broken heart,” Endang said to him.
“Anies, don’t give up, you never know, maybe Pak Guntoro is an MBA.” Iwan put on a wide grin.
“MBA? What does that have to do with the subject?” Riski asked.
“You know Married But Available…….” Iwan replied.
They tried to hide their laugh.
Guntoro looked at them again, “Mas Iwan do you want to take over the class?” He asked sarcastically.
“We were wondering if you are an MBA, Married But Available.” He said out loud
Guntoro smiled and shook his head. “I am available.” He said, “To my wife.”
The class hooted at him.
“nDang, can I talk to you?” Widodo suddenly came up behind her when she was buying a drink at the shop.
“I’d rather not if you don’t mind!” She replied.
He grabbed her by the wrist, “Just for a few minutes.”
Endang pulled her arm away, “Let me go!” She said firmly.
“Mas Wid, why don’t you leave her alone, the two of you have broken up already.” Riski said to him.
“Mas if she doesn’t want to talk to you, you should respect that!” Syaiful added.
“nDang, I’m sorry for what happened before!” Widodo said again.
“There’s nothing to apologize about, it’s better if you don’t look for me anymore. We don’t have anything to talk about.” Endang replied, then turned to her friends, “Let’s go!” She said.
The three of them walked out the shop and headed to the faculty building. “He’s still looking at us!” Riski whispered.
“nDang, how could you date somebody as creepy at that?” Syaiful said.
“He wasn’t creepy when we were dating,” Endang replied not daring to look back.
“At the Tugu Hotel?” Guntoro confirmed to Rahmat on a phone conversation. “What room? 605, Okay. Thanks, Mat.”
Through the blinds he saw Endang and her friends walking briskly towards the faculty building, her face was a bit pale. Syaiful once in a while looked over his shoulder. Guntoro wondered what happened to them.
They passed by for Dini at the house. Guntoro parked the car in front of the hotel, Dini got out and walked to the lobby. “We’ll wait for you at the restaurant,” Guntoro said. “If you want Endang to talk to him, you can find us there.”
She was as beautiful as always, Endang could see that she put in a lot of efforts to look gorgeous for her husband. “Dik Dini, you can use this advice or not, but I suggest you tell him how you feel, reach out to his heart instead of fighting with him.”
“I guess you’re right, I’m going to follow your advice, you have proven yourself to be good at seducing men.” She said while glancing at Guntoro.
“She deserves to die!” Endang said after Dini was a few meters away from them.
Guntoro laughed, “I feel sorry for the poor guy. Let’s go over there to the tea house. We can sit outside so we can look at the old town square.” He said while putting his arm around her waist. Then pulled a chair out for her. He ordered them some tea.
“Look at that lotus pond,” Endang said while pointing towards the center of the street.
“I can understand why many young people like to go there for dates.” He signaled to a young couple sitting by the pond. The man was tall and had a short military cut while the young woman was short with her hair down to her neck. They were sitting side by side enjoying the view. “Behind this hotel there’s the animal market and the flower market, but at night it converts to a street food market, if we can get out of here soon, we should go there to check things out.”
“That would be nice.” Endang smiled.
“What was the ruckus in class today?” He asked.
“The guys were bothering me over your wedding ring. Oh, by the way, you didn’t have to call me out in class. It’s not like it was my fault, somebody kicked my chair.”
“I have to treat all my students the same way, I can’t treat anyone differently just because she shares my bed at night.” He said cheekily.
“You’re terrible.” She looked at him sharply.
Guntoro took her hand and held it tightly, “Don’t be angry.”
“I’m not, just a little unhappy about it.” She pouted
The waiter came with their tea. A few hours passed by and Guntoro was beginning to feel impatient, he was looking at his watch every few minutes, “Almost two hours.” He said.
“Hey, look there they come!” Endang signaled to the door at the far end.
“Hello.” Brian greeted Guntoro, “I think we have some things to talk about.”
“Please take a seat.” He replied.
“Thank you for coming, Miss……” He looked at Endang.
“Endang.” She replied.
“She’s my wife….” Guntoro introduced her.
“Wife? I didn’t know you’ve remarried.” He said while looking at Dini.
“Now you do….”
Brian sat across to Guntoro while Dini sat beside him. “I think you can understand why I was upset about the situation.” He said.
“I can,” Guntoro replied.
“I hope you don’t take this situation as a sign that Dini is still interested in you,” Brian said. “She has moved on from her past with you. We might look somewhat alike, but we are very different. And you should be clear that the man she loves is me!”
“Okay….” Guntoro replied.
“And if you ever try to approach my wife again, I won’t let you off so easily,” Brian said again.
Endang’s face stiffened, offended by what he said, but she chose not to heed his senseless words.
Guntoro smiled patiently, “So with that being said, the two of you have made up, right?”
“We’ve talked about our situation, and we’ve decided to give it another try,” Brian explained.
“Congratulations!” Guntoro smiled. “If you’ve resolved your situation, we would like to excuse ourselves.”
“Mas Gun, we’ll pass by your house to pick up my suitcase,” Dini said to him.
“You should pass by in the afternoon,” Guntoro told them.
“Good night, Guntoro.” Brian stood up and extended his hand.
“Good night,” Guntoro replied taking Brian’s hand and shaking it.
They walked through the food market hand in hand. Endang loved fried snacks, and there was an abundance of it to buy. They chose to eat some in one of the food stalls.
“So it turns out that I didn’t need to become a witness to explain that you and Dini weren’t up to anything during her stay.”
“He didn’t have to ask, just knowing that I have a wife, he could guess it.”
“At least we will have peace and quiet again at home.”
Across the street, a man sitting on a motorcycle was looking at them, as Guntoro and Endang stood up to walk to the car, he clutched his fist and hit it against the handle bar In anger.