September Moon Part 3

A clip from Wayang Wong Arjuna Wiwaha where Arjuna fights Niwatakawaca

Koeswanto played his role like clockwork. He would really love to play the role of the Cakil[i] one day, to show off his dancing skills, as an artist trying new roles, are challenges that will give him a chance to expand his artistic ability.

Everything went well until the part where Arjuna had to fight with Niwatakawaca. He knew that Parman hated him, but he never thought that he would go to the extent of physically harming him on stage. They danced the fight scene routine when suddenly Koeswanto fell forward and landed on his hand and knees on the stage after receiving a hard kick on his back. The music stopped playing and the audience fell into silence. Koeswanto knew that everybody was tense not knowing what to expect. He had a choice to ruin the performance by getting back at Parman or take one for the team. He chose the latter, not to say that he wasn’t angry.
He picked himself up from the floor, and continued to dance despite his back hurting from the kick. Parman sneered behind his mask, this guy was tougher than he thought. The music picked up and they continued with the dance. Koeswanto was grateful that Niwatakawaca only had one scene, because he didn’t know if he can maintain his calm if Parman provoked him again.
The public as the performance ended with the wedding scene of Arjuna to the seven heavenly fairies. The whole troupe came back on the stage to take a bow and thank the viewers.
Yuni clapped her hand in admiration for the dancers. The man who played Arjuna was dedicated indeed. From where she sat she could see clearly that his colleague kicked him on purpose, but main man kept on dancing like nothing had happened. She saw the dancers walking down from the stage and the audience began to chatting to each other creating a loud humming noise, some people even left the field.
Her eyes caught the site of a group of young girls standing not too far away from the tree she was in. She recognized them as habitants of nearby villages. Apparently the show was well promoted that even people from neighboring villages came to watch it, a free entertainment was something everybody in these remote villages look forward to.
“Psst, Mbak Yun, look over there!” Bambang called out to her nd pointed his finger to the distance.
She saw Pak Dahlan walking up and down the field followed by his loyal employees. So he probably heard about the mango theft by now. “MBng, we should get out of here.” She whispered.
Bambang nodded, “I’ll climb down first.” Bambang said.
“Hurry up!”
Bambang climbed down and signaled her to follow. From the corner of his eyes he could see Tarjo pointing at him, “Mbak hurry up!” He whispered, “They’ve seen me!”
“I know MBang, I’m trying my skirt is caught on this branch.” She said while trying to free the edge of her skirt.
“Here he comes….,” One girl from the group of young fan girls screamed hysterically. “Mas Koes….Mas Koes….over here……..”
Koeswanto shook his head, he was tired and sore, the only thing he wanted to do right now is to clean off his makeup and change into his regular clothes. But still an artist’s lively hood depends on happy fans. He forced a sweet smile and waved his right hand at them. He continued to walk towards the small temporary huts that they erected in the field for the dancers to use as a changing room. The group turned walking pass a line of tall trees growing at the edge of the field.
“You’re pretty popular with the girls aren’t you, Koes,” Budi said while elbowing him.
Koeswanto just smiled.
“If I was as popular as you, I would have two or three girlfriends by now.”
Koeswanto thought about his friend’s word for a while, “It’s never too late to find true love, I’m sure if she is out there, then the heavens will send her straight into my arms.”
There was a sudden scream coming from above, Koeswanto looked up in surprise and quickly moved to catch the girl who was falling from the tree top, he stepped forward twice, just in time to catch her in his arms.
Yuni was surprised to find herself being carried by a man in ancient clothing. By his makeup, she guessed that he was one of the dancers with the troupe that they hired to perform in the field.
“There she is….” A man shouted in the distance. “Stop there you little mango thief!”
Yuni jumped down from the man’s arm, “Thank you,” She said, then turned around to the man who was shouting in the distance, she jumped up and down and poked her tongue out to him, “You’re mango was delicious Pak Dahlan.” She shouted, then laughed loudly as she ran towards the other direction
Koeswanto looked at her with his mouth wide opened. His face blushed inadvertently, “What the hell was that?” He exclaimed. He lifted his eyebrow with realization, “It’s that trouble maker again!”
Budi laughed, “What did you say just now? That the heavens will send your true love straight into your arms?”
Koeswanto smiled and shook his head. “Let’s go, I have want to get into my clothes and wash my face.”
They reached the changing room. Parman was there, he had already taken off his mask and head dress.
“What’s your problem?” Koeswanto headed straight to him.
“Why? Did I embarrass the little prima donna?” Parman mocked.
“You’re a coward!” Budi stood by his friend, “You kicked Koes when he wasn’t looking and on the stage too. If you have any honor why don’t you challenge him to a fight, instead of attacking him from behind?”
“Do you think I won’t dare, let’s go to the field right now?” Parman shouted.
“My pleasure, let’s go!” Koeswanto walked towards the opening, just as Pak Atmojo walked in.
“Parman, what were you trying to do back there?” He yelled.
“It was an accident!” Parman replied.
‘Do I look stupid to you? You almost ruined our whole performance, and even our whole Pagguyuban. If Koeswanto didn’t control himself and retorted back to you, do you think anybody would even consider hiring us again?”
Parman remained silent. Pak Atmojo was carrying like a father to the member of his group, and just like a father he never doubts to discipline them when he think that they have gone out of line.
“Tomorrow you’ll be doing Koeswanto’s part of the clean-up work. Then you will be suspended three months from performing.”
“That’s not fair!” Parman said.
“What’s not fair is you putting everybody’s livelihood in danger because of your personal rancor!” Pak Atmojo huffed, “If I catch you trying to pick a fight with Koeswanto or any other member of this group again, you’re out of here!”

Yuni woke up to the sound of the pouring rain on the metal roof of her house. She got out of her bed and walked out of her room.
Bu Nining looked at her daughter, “Yun, it’s not appropriate for a girl to get up after the roosters.”
“I was feeling cold, that’s why I wanted to stay in bed a little bit more.” She replied.
“Hurry up and wash up, then help me prepare breakfast.”
“Yes, Buk.”
Yuni finished washing herself at the well. She immediately went to the kitchen to help her mother, “Buk, where is Bapak?” She asked.
“He went to the field early this morning, he had to make sure that the rain water will drain properly and not flood the rice field.”
“Here, you smoothen the chili paste.”
They prepared rice, chili paste, vegetables, and bean cake. This combination was Pak Bakrie’s favorite, and his wife always made sure to cook things he liked.
“Yun, why don’t you eat first?”
Yuni nodded her head and got her plate, filling it and eating with great joy. She was hungry from all the running around and hiding last night. She needed to re-fill herself.
“Buk…Ibu….” Pak Bakrie came home yelling from the door. He wore a sunhat to keep his head dry from the rain and he had a plastic poncho on.
“She’s eating in the kitchen.”
“Tell her to come her, now!” He said holding back his anger.
“But what happened?” His wife looked at him, worried.
“Just call that girl here. I need to teach her a lesson.”
Bu Nining ran inside the house, “Yun, your father is looking for you, he looks very upset.”
Yuni’s faced turned pale, she knew very well why her father was upset. “I’m coming.” She walked slowly to the living room, her heart was beating fast.
“Pak….” She whispered.
“How long will you continue to embarrass me?” Pak Bakrie said, “Pak Dahlan came to look for me in the rice field and told me about what you did last night. Do you know how I had to swallow up all his insults because of you?”
“Pak, I was just playing around….” Yuni replied.
“Playing around? A girl your age? Pak Dahlan said that you even climbed a tree to hide from him. It was only the other night I talked to you about changing your behavior! Who is going to marry a girl who can’t behave like you?” Pak Bakrie reached out for the broom in the corner of the living room, then began whacking it a few times at his daughter’s legs and buttock. “Swear to me that you’ll behave like a proper woman, swear to me!” He yelled.
“Pak, stop it! Stop it, you’re hurting our daughter.” Bu Nining cried.
“Be quiet, Bu. She’s like this because you spoil her to much! When will she ever become a proper woman if we don’t correct her now? Is she going to end up becoming a wild woman? This is for her own good, for her own future!”
“Pak, I promise, I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll behave like a proper woman.” Yuni cried, trying to block the broom stick with her hand.
“Are you going to behave like that again?” Pak Bakrie asked.
Yuni shook her head, “No Pak. I promise.”
“Make sure you keep that promise.”


After her husband had eaten his breakfast and left the house to go back to the rice field, Bu Nining went to look for her daughter who was hiding in her room. “How is your leg, nDuk?” She asked.
“It hurts very much, Buk.” Yuni pouted.
“It’s your fault, why did you have to do something like that?”
Yuni sulked lying face down on her divan.
“Let me see your leg.” Her mother said while lifting her skirt up. She had red strokes on her legs and buttocks. “You have to put a compress on this, so it would recover fast. But with all these wounds, it’s kind of difficult to do it properly.”
Yuni shook her head, “I don’t care.”
“I have an idea, since it has stopped raining now, you should go to the small river behind our field and soak for a while. The water will help your blood circulation.”
“But I’m too sore to walk.” Yuni replied.
“Come on, I’ll help you to go there.” Her mother said. She stood up and took a batik sarong from her daughter’s door-less closet. “Come, on get up.”
They walked together to the river. The street was quiet, because most of the people preferred to stay at home due to the weather. The river was shallow, only reaching to Yuni’s knee, but because of the rain earlier in the day in was deeper than usual, at times like this it would reach up to her waist. The ting that she had to take most caution of was the current. The current was strong, making the water flow quickly against the rocks.
“Take off your clothes and put on this sarong!” Her mother ordered.
“Bu, help me go behind that tree.” Yuni said.
“Just change here! The rocks around the tree are slippery.”
“Here?” Yuni doubted.
“Don’t worry, there’s nobody around!” Her mother confirmed while looking around.
Koeswanto opened his eyes in disbelief. He had come here to hide away from Sita who was following him all over the place. He thought that nobody would come here because of the rain. But now the crazy girl and her mother was in front of him across the river. He was about to call out to them to make them aware that he was here, but the girl had already had already taken off her shirt. If he made a noise, they might misunderstand and think that he was peeping on purpose. He turned away as the sight embarrassed him, but his curiosity made him glance at her through the corner of his eyes.
“Yun, go into the water and soak there for a while. I have to go home for a while, I think I left a kettle on the stove.”
“Okay, Bu.” Yuni said, “Don’t forget to come for me.”
“I will, I’ll leave your clothes on this small rock.” She said while putting Yuni’s folded clothes down on a rock under a tree.
Yuni entered the river, just as she thought the water reached her waist, she found the rock that was in the middle of the river and sat down on it. Her mother was right, the cold water helped ease the pain on her legs and buttock. “Stupid Pak Dahlan,” She cursed.
Koeswanto searched his mind for a way to get out of this situation. He didn’t want to sit here and wait for her to go away.
A sudden breeze blew from the direction of the rice field, Yuni saw her clothes slipped down from the rock into the water. Yuni stood up to catch it, but her she couldn’t move her legs causing her to fall into the water.
“Ibu…………” She called out while trying to keep her head above the surface.



[i] Cakil is an evil demon or giant

11 thoughts on “September Moon Part 3

  1. This chapter reminds me of my childhood in a village before we moved to city. I, my sister, brother and cousin used to climb trees and steal fruits. We were caught stealing by the owner’s son, my cousin hurted him and his father was so angry and looked for my cousin in my house since he was hiding there. Haha..

    Just a suggestion, I think it will be better if you put dividing line between one scene to another (I don’t know if I say this correctly, sorry my english is not that good so sometimes you will find grammar mistakes) what I’m trying to say is, for example: after Pak Atmojo’s scene you should put dividing line or enough blank space before we jump to Yuni’s scene.

    I laughed and think the same as Koeswanto that Yuni and her mother were crazy, haha…

    Oh, I want to ask you this, why do you have month slipped in your novel title, I cannot relate it to the story, or I miss something?

    Lastly, thank you for your hardwork in writing this story and sharing it with us.

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