Endang put down her book and walked to the door, “Who would be visiting this early on Sunday?” She mumbled to herself.
Bu Nunik was standing at the door, she was dressed casually, “Good morning Mbak Endang.” She smiled, “Is Pak Guntoro home?”
“No, he isn’t, he’s out running.” She replied shortly.
“Ah, that’s okay. Is his wife home? I want to take the opportunity to introduce myself to her.”
“His wife? Eh, she’s also out, she went to the market very early this morning, she won’t be back until later today. Maybe……. Can I help you with anything? Why don’t you come in and sit.”
“I was just curious that’s all…..” Bu Nunik replied, “Eh Mbak Endang, do you have any wedding photos of them to show me, I really want to know what she looks like.”
Endang thought for a while, “Bu Nunik, I can’t do that, you should have pity on me. I’m a poor relative that they decided to take in and help with my education. If I do something to offend my guardians, they might get angry and send me back to the country. You said it yourself that I’m a good student. Please don’t put me in a position where I can be sent home, married off, and made to raise ten children.”
“Mbak Endang, don’t be sad, I’m not trying to get you in any type of trouble, don’t cry….” She was beginning to feel guilty.
“Bu Nunik, my niece in law is a very mean woman, she makes me clean the house all day, and I’m only allowed to eat their leftovers,” Endang sobbed, “Sometimes they make me sleep in the kitchen, and if I don’t wash her clothes properly, she would hit me and say mean things to me…..”
“Oh, my poor girl, how can someone like Pak Guntoro let something like this happen to his relative?”
“He’s so in love with her, that he doesn’t care about anything else, Bu Nunik you know that sometimes men can be blinded by love, I don’t want my parents to know about this, because I’m afraid that they may get offended and ask me to go home. I really want to finish my education.”
“Don’t cry, don’t cry, is there anything I could do to help you?” Bu Nunik looked at her with sympathy.
Endan Nodded, “Can you tell me the outlines that you’re planning to use in the midterm exams?”
“Of course I can. Why don’t you bring me your textbook?”
“I just so happen to have it here on the coffee table,” Endang said while reaching out for her book.
She finished marking the pages and gave to book back to Endang, “There, I hope this will help you.” Bu Nunik smiled kindly, “You can find me if you need help with anything else.”
“I really appreciate it,” Endand answered happily.
The front door opened as Guntoro came in, “I didn’t know we had a guest.” He wondered while looking at his colleague sitting near Endang.
Bu Nunik looked at him judgmentally, “I think I should leave now, Pak Gun, I’m surprised at how somebody who seems decent and correct like you will allow your wife to mistreat a poor relative like Mbak Endang.”
“What?” Guntoro looked at her with confusion.
“Bu Nunik, let me walk you out.” Endang got up, hiding her laughter.
She waved goodbye and closed the gate behind Bu Nunik, she was surprised to find Guntoro standing directly behind her when she turned around, “Do you mind filling me in on the details?” He asked.
“I was just killing two birds with one stone,” Endang replied.
“I have this eerie feeling that I might be one of those birds you just killed.” He stood in front of her, blocking her way.
“That’s my secret!” She teased while running into the garden.
“Confess…..” He chased her, catching her by the waist and lifting her up.
Ending laughed, trying to wriggle herself out of his grasp. She laughed loud as he used his finger to tickle her waist, “Okay, okay…..I give up….I’ll confess….” She cried.
He stopped tickling her, but didn’t let go of her waist. “I’m waiting.” He said.
“It’s just that Bu Nunik came here to see what your wife looked like, so I….” She suddenly felt strange. She looked around the garden and peered outside the fence and gate.
“What’s is it? Are you trying to avoid telling me what happened?” Guntoro whispered in her ear. Rubbing his nose against her neck.
“Mas, stop it. Why do I get the feeling that somebody is watching us?” Endang said seriously, “My skin is beginning to develop goose bumps.”
He looked at her arms verifying what she said. Guntoro looked around also, the street in front of their house was quiet, “I don’t see anything. Let’s just go inside.” He said feeling a little unsettled.
He stood across the street from their house behind a tree, watching them playing through the fence then entering the house together. His blood boiled with anger, a mixed feeling of jealousy and betrayal filled his heart and soul. He threw what was left of his cigarette on the ground and stepped on it. “You conniving, ungrateful, whore!” he growled spitefully.
“Good afternoon, I need to speak to Pak Guntoro, I’m Sergeant Bagus from the Police.” The man in uniform said to Guntoro as he opened the front door.
“I’m Guntoro.” He replied, looking with curiosity why the police were at his door.
“Pak Guntoro, we need you to accompany us to the police station we have some questions to ask you. It’s just for questioning nothing more” The policeman said again.
“Mas, what are they talking about?” Endang said while holding his arm tightly.
“It’s okay, don’t be afraid, Sergeant Bagus, may I know what this is about?” Guntoro asked.
“Your ex-wife Dini Winarti and her husband Brian Contreras were assaulted yesterday afternoon while they were touring around the Batu area. She has been severely wounded and is in the hospital.”
“Mas Gun…” Endang began to cry.
“Don’t worry.” He said to her, “I’m going with them, call Rahmat and tell him to call my lawyer and Wahyu, have them pick you up and meet me at the police station. I have a bad feeling about this, once we leave, lock the gate and the door, and don’t open it for anyone except Rahmat or Wahyu. For no one!” He kissed her forehead and followed the police officers out.
Endang quickly locked the gate closed the door locking her behind her just like he said, she dialed Rahmat’s number, “Mas Rahmat, this is Endang.” She said trying to speak despite her throat feeling dry from the anxiety.
“Oh, Mbak Endang, what can I do for you?” He asked.
“Mas, the police came and took Mas Gun to the police station for questioning, somebody attacked Dik Dini and left her hospitalized, Mas Gun said that you need to call his lawyer and Mas Wahyu and then pick me up to meet him at the police station. Mas Gun told me to lock the gate and the door and not open it for anyone but you.”
“Okay, Mbak, don’t worry, we’ll be there in a few minutes. Just hold on tight. I’ll call you as soon as we get there.”
Endang hung up the phone and sat on the couch in the living room. Her hands were shaking, she began to pace back and forwards anxiously. Her mouth was very dry and he stomach turning. She worried not knowing what was going on with her husband. She went to the kitchen to get a glass of water to calm her nerves. She came back into the living room and turned on the television to help distract her mind. The Tari Ngremo and funny jokes from the ludruk in the TV wasn’t enough to make her laugh let alone cheer her up. From time to time, she checked her watch, fearing that the longer they took the more difficult the situation would be for Guntoro.
She turned around when she heard the sound of the gate being pushed, and then being shaken several times, as if somebody tried to open it by force. Her heart started to beat vigorously. She turned off the television and quickly jumped up to turn off the lights. She hid behind the door. The gate began to make a different kind of shaking sound, somebody was trying to climb it! She gasped. Endang quickly reached for her phone. Her hand was shaking uncontrollably. The phone slipped from her hand and fell to the ground causing the cover to fly off and the battery to fall out. She crawled on the floor to pick up the pieces of the phone. She quickly put it back together again and turned it on. The gate outside was still shaking.
Suddenly there was the sound of a man’s voice shouting at someone. The gate clanged followed by the noise of someone landing on the ground. “Hey, who are you? What are you doing here?” She heard several fast footsteps of people running.
Her phone lit up and vibrated, she snatched it and looked at the screen. It was Rahmat she sighed in relief. She answered, “Hello.”
“MBak, this is Rahmat, we’re here in front of your house. I have the keys to the gate, just wait in there to open the door for us.” He said.
She waited until the doorbell rang before she opened it. “Mas, thank you for coming.” She said.
“When we arrived here, there was a man who was trying to climb the gate. He jumped down when he saw us. My uncle is chasing him right now.” Rahmat said.
Wahyu appeared at the door a few minutes later, “I couldn’t catch him.” He said while catching his breath. “The bastard ran so fast.”
“Mas Wahyu, thank you for coming,” Endang said to him.
“I couldn’t see his face because he was wearing a cap, but it was definitely a young man, in his early twenties. He was slim and quite tall.”
Endang shook her head, “I know a lot of people with that description.” She said. “That describes many of my male friends in class.”
“We should go now, tell me what you know on the way to the police station. The lawyer should have arrived by now.” Wahyu said.
Endang followed them out and locked the door and the gate. He got into their car and began to update Wahyu and Rahmat on what she knew.
“Where were you yesterday afternoon around 2PM?” The police officer asked him.
“I was teaching in the University. There were around fifty students who saw me.” Guntoro replied calmly.
“Your ex-wife was staying at your house until a few days ago. Why was that?” he asked again.
Guntoro looked at Karno his lawyer who nodded, Guntoro shrugged his shoulders, “I’m not so sure, but I heard that she had a problem with her current husband and wanted to hide away for a while. She was the one who came to look for me at work and asked me to give her a place to stay.”
The policeman smiled, putting both hands on the table, “Your ex-wife is a very attractive woman, very beautiful. Maybe having her stay in your house for a few days, awakened some lingering feelings that you didn’t know you had for her. And because of that, when her husband came to pick her up, you became very jealous and decided to teach her a lesson.”
“I was the one who called her husband Brian Contreras to come and pick her up. You see Dini’s presence in my house was becoming uncomfortable for me and my wife. We are newlyweds who naturally would like to have a higher level of intimacy, and Dini’s presence there was foiling it.”
“So you’ve re-married too?” The policeman asked.
“Yes, for a few months now.”
“Bu Dini’s new husband Mister Brian, said that you may be behind the attack. According to him, you and he have a very similar physical appearance and his wife had told him that she left you five years ago because of your mistreatment towards her. He suspects that you might be angry and jealous because she ended up with a man who looks like you, but younger and has more money.”
“Officer, it was my client Pak Guntoro who filed for divorce from Bu Dini Winarti five years ago. I have here in my briefcase the court files documenting her physical aggression towards him during one of the court sessions, which lead my client to suffer several injuries, and also witness statements about Bu Dini’s radical behavior towards Pak Guntoro’s immediate family which caused his grandfather to have a heart attack and be hospitalized.”
The policeman looked at the documents and took a deep breath. “That would be all for now. We might need to call you again for further questioning, depending on the outcome of the case.”
“Of course,” Guntoro smiled and nodded respectfully.
He walked out of the small office which was used as the interrogation room. Endang, Rahmat, and Wahyu were already there waiting for him to come out. Endang saw him then immediately ran towards him, he hugged her tightly as she hid her face in his chest.
“How did it go?” Wahyu asked.
“It went okay. It was Dini’s husband who accused me of being the mastermind behind the attack.” Guntoro said.
“Why would he do that?” Endang asked.
“She claimed that she divorced me because I mistreated her, and who knows what else that woman said about me to convince her husband to take her back?” Guntoro shook his head.
“Shouldn’t you explain to him that what she said wasn’t true, and tell him the real reason you and her divorced?” Endang asked.
“And make them fight and separate? Nope! As long as she’s married to him, she’s his nightmare. I hope he brings her back to his country and won’t ever let her come here again.”
“Gun, when you were taken in for questioning and Endang was alone at home, someone tried to break into your house. Luckily we arrived on time to stop him. He was climbing the gate trying to get into your house.” Wahyu said.
“Are you alright?” Guntoro asked while looking at his wife.
Endang nodded, “A little scared, but I’m fine.”
“Gun, I’m worried about this, your ex-wife got attacked and now somebody tried to break into your house. I think you should hire somebody to guard your house.”
“Yu, wouldn’t that look strange? I’m only a humble part time lecturer, not a politician or an important person.”
“Gun, are you willing to put Endang’s safety on the line?” Wahyu looked straight at him.
“Of course not. Do you know who can work at my house?” Guntoro asked.
“Yeah, I work in a security company as a side job, I can get 24 hours protection on your house. Besides, I think it will be a good idea if Rahmat stays with you until we everything is resolved.”
“But Mas Wahyu, how much would that cost Mas Gun?” Endang said worriedly.
“Don’t let him deceive you nDang. Guntoro is not as poor as he makes out to be. He’s just incredibly stingy that’s all. He’s the kind of person who after he dies in poverty at an old age, his family will get a surprise inheritance.”
“Yu, there’s nothing wrong with living humbly.” Guntoro said, “I agree with getting the security guards and to Rahmat staying with us. Let’s do that.”
Rahmat nodded, “I’ll get my things.”
“Good! in the meantime, I’m going to do an investigation of my own to find out what’s going on here,” Wahyu said.
He ran down the street as fast as he can. As soon as he was certain that he wasn’t being followed anymore, he stopped and leaned against the wall to catch his breath. He lit a cigarette to help him calm himself. He continued walking to his boarding house. He opened the gate and entered.
The front door opened as a young man stepped out, “Oh? Where did you come from all sweaty and panting?” Widodo asked him amicably.
He only smiled and entered the house without saying anything.
“What an arrogant prick,” Widodo grumbled.
 East Javanese traditional dance
 Theatrical act from East Java, usually showcase traditional dancing and comedy episodes.