September Moon Part 14


Pak Bakrie sat quietly in his chair. The cigarette failed to calm the anger and repentance that was building inside his chest. He wasn’t only angry at his daughter and the scoundrel who she got involved with. He was also angry at himself, for being a failure of a father. He couldn´t understand what did he do wrong?
He thought back to the day he first laid eyes on her. It was mid-September the month that the rainy season was beginning to visit. It was a difficult labor for his wife, she had to endure two days of contractions before the midwife confirmed that the baby was ready to be born. He wasn’t allowed inside the bedroom because a woman in labor is no sight for a man. His heart broke to pieces hearing his wife’s cries as her body adjusted to allow the child to come out into the world.

Finally, he heard a loud cry, not too long after the midwife came out of the room with a beautiful fat baby girl, wrapped in a sarung. For him it was love at first sight, he remembered kissing her little forehead while holding her in his arms with pride that only a father could understand.
She was a gift of joy that life had bestowed on him, he smiled tenderly at her cute round face, a face that reminded him of the full moon, like the full moon in the clear sky that night. That would be her name, Chandra Wahyuni a joyful gift from the moon.
She was his little girl, the apple of his eyes, the light in his heart. There wasn´t a single day that he didn´t worry about her, he would worry if she didn’t have enough to eat, worry for her health, and worry about her future. He remembered the angst he felt when she fell ill and the pride that filled him on seeing her first steps, hearing her first words, reading about her achievements at school, and discovering her sharp wits every time he discussed business and land cultivation with her.
He hated the young man who so easily walked all over his daughter’s pride and honor. Just because they were poor compared to that scoundrel’s family, he could easily treat her with disrespect and use her as an object of his lust. Pak Bakrie gripped his chest and began to cry. He hadn’t cried for as long as he could remember, not even at his mother’s death bed. But today, he couldn’t control his emotions.
“Pak Bakrie, I understand this must be difficult for you,” Bu Lurah said sympathetically, “But you should recognize that the young man is more than willing to take responsibility for your daughter.”
“But Bu Lurah, I’m worried about my daughter’s future with him. Just look at him, he’s young, good looking and rich. If he could easily disrespect her that way now, how will he act after they are married? He’s the kind of man who can easily attract woman, if he could fall into temptation with my daughter, how canI be sure that he won’t do the same with other women. If only my daughter had married Pak Dahlan, although older than her, but at least I know him very well.” He explained.
“Pak Bakrie, you don’t know for sure if she wouldn’t be happy with Mas Koeswanto, just like you can’t know if she would be happy with Pak Dahlan. But at least she is in love with him, and he seems to be in love with her too.”
“But what if his family doesn’t approve of her because of their different social status and background?” He continued to relay his fears.
“Then all the more you should show her support and love. I think it would be easier for your daughter to confront any problems that may come, if she knows that her parents are behind her, ready to catch her if she falls.” Bu Lurah reasoned. “Besides, it is our belief that the four major events in our lives are already destined by God, our birth, our fortune, our soulmate and our death. They are all written in the palm of our hands. If Mas Koeswanto is destined to be Yuni’s life companion, there is nothing you can do to prevent it.”
Pak Bakrie exhaled thinking about her words. There was a certain level of logic to her reasoning. A child does need a mother and father to grow properly, and it would be wrong of him not to give the opportunity to the child’s father to care for it. He refused to believe the young man’s sincerity towards his daughter, but at this moment, it’s too late to make a difference. The forbidden fruit has been eaten.
Thinking about his failure to educate his daughter, he secretly wished for life to give him another chance. Then he remembered that he is given another chance through his grandchild, he is going to be granted another apple of his eye. After what his daughter and the scoundrel did to him, they should at least allow him to claim the rights to name the child. He thought, if it’s a girl this time he would choose a name to reflect the sun instead of the moon, and instead of acting sinfully prideful calling her a gift, he would name her to reflect his hopes for her, to grow up as a pure and proper woman like the daughters of holly-men of long ago. If life would give him a chance again through the birth of a granddaughter, he would name her Endang Suryati. But if it turns out to be a boy then he’ll give it the name Guntoro Dharmawan so he would grow up to be strong at heart and be a man of proper morals and norms, unlike his perverted scoundrel father.
He stood up and walked to the back of the house to the well.
“Pak, where are you going?” Bu Nining asked worried to see her husband looking for the two youngsters, “Pak, don’t try to do anything to Nak Koeswanto, please control your temper.”
He didn’t respond to her questions, he stood at the back door observing his daughter cleaning the young man’s face with care and gentleness. He realized that he had never seen her like that before. She had always been a boyish girl, who never shown any interest in men.
He coughed to catch their attention, “You, I want to talk to you.” He pointed to Koeswanto. “Yun, go inside and wait in the living room with Bu Lurah and your mother.”
Yuni looked at him with doubt, “Yun, why don’t you do as Bapak tells you.” Koeswanto said.
“But Mas….”
“I’ll be alright, this is something I have to affront as a man.” He smiled.
Yuni bit her bottom lip, walking past her father, looking at him with uneasiness.
“Let’s go.” Bu Nining said, putting her arms around her daughter’s shoulder and leading her inside the house.
“Young man, I’ve considered it again. I suppose there is no sense in trying to deny what had already happened. The priority now, is to make sure that the baby doesn’t falter, physically or emotionally. I hope you will at least try to be a good father. You and Yuni made a big mistake, a big mistake! You should promise me that you will educate the child properly so it doesn’t follow in your footsteps.” He paused, “As a symbol of my hope to the baby, I’ve thought of two possible names, if it’s a boy, I want you to name it Guntoro Dharmawan, so he will grow up to be a strong hearted and moral oriented man, and if it’s a girl, you should name it Endang Suryati, so she would grow up to be a proper and pure woman.”
“Bapak, I will definitely give the name you chose for the baby.” Koeswanto agreed, “If it’s a girl I will name her Endang Suryati and if it’s a boy I’ll name him Guntoro Dharmawan. Thank you for approving our relationship.”
“Hey scoundrel, I never said I approved of your relationship!” Pak Bakrie replied in a menacing tone, “I accept it, because there is nothing left for me to do. I don’t want to ruin my daughter’s future even more. But I want you to remember, if you ever do anything to upset her, I won’t forgive you.”
“I understand Pak.” Koeswanto bowed several times to show his appreciation then asked gingerly. “Does this means I can take Yuni back to Jember with me after we are married?”
Pak Bakrie considered his words for a while, “I suppose that would be the best thing to do for now. A wife has to be beside her husband for better or for worst.”
“Thank you, Pak.”
“Don’t thank me. If it was up to me, I would send you to meet your ancestors! I thought about what Bu Lurah said, she was right. The only thing I can do now is support my daughter. Something inside here tells me that you’re going to disappoint her.” He said pointing towards his chest. “Let’s cancel the plan to do the marriage contract today. The two of you should marry the proper way. You should at least have enough respect for my daughter to bring your elders here to ask for her hand and set a date.”
“I understand, Pak.”
“Good! Then you can go home now. You can call to Pak Lurah’s house when you have determined what day you are going to bring your elders here. You should let us know at least two days in advance at so we can prepare to receive them properly.”
“I understand, Pak.”

“No! I won’t go there. Why do I have to lower myself to go to their house?” Bu Karto declared. “Besides, you know that I don’t approve of your marriage to that peasant girl.”
“But, Buk. I‘ve already promised them that I’d bring you there to ask for Yuni and set the date.” He contended.
“It’s your promise, not mine. You made me look bad with my promise to Sitawati’s parents, what makes you think, I’m going to do what you ask and go there?”
“Fine! I’m going to marry her like it or not. You are my mother, but I do have other elders that I can ask to represent me.” Koeswanto affirmed.
“You wouldn’t dare!” She stared at him, “Your mother is still alive and breathing, and you plan to go over me, just to marry that thing?”
“That thing…is going to be the mother of my child.”
“You don’t know that, how can you be so sure?”
“That’s enough Buk. I don’t want to fight anymore.” Koeswanto walked out of the room.

“mBak Asih, are you sure that the girl didn’t use black magic to get Nak Koes’ attention?” Bu Rini asked.
“Bu Lik, my mother is right.” Sitawati added. “How could a person who looks like that, be able to steal Mas Koes’ heart, if not by using evil spirits to help her achieve that?”
“Come to think of it, you might be right.” Bu Karto considered, “Koeswanto has never paid so much attention to a girl before. I thought it was strange that he suddenly became interested in her.”
“Bu Lik, we have to find a shaman who can cure Mas Koes. We can’t let him fall into the clutches of that woman.” Sitawati said, “Besides, that child that she is carrying could be anybody’s baby. That evil girl is trying to trap him into marriage, she probably is interested in your fortune.”
“Eh, mBak Asih. I will ask around for a white shaman who can cleanse all the black magic from Nak Koes.” Bu Rini offered.
“Jeng Rini, thank you. I don’t know what I would do without your help.” Bu Karto smiled.
“But of course. Nak Koeswanto is my future son in law, it’s my obligation to save him from dishonest people.”

“Are you going there any way? Despite my disapproval?” Bu Karto blocked the door with her body.
“I am, Buk. Pak Lik Darto has agreed to be my elder for this prupose.” Koeswanto said.
“Darto is your father’s step brother. How can you ask him to represent you, when you have another uncle who is your father’s real brother?” She rebuked.
“Pak Lik Tono is in Semarang, he can’t come on a short notice because he’s busy. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t approved. I’ve talked to him and he said that he doesn’t mind that I ask Pak Lik Darto to represent me.” Koeswanto replied while smoothening his batik shirt. He observed himself in the mirror, feeling satisfied with his appearance.
Bu Karto began to cry, “Koes, think about it again. Sita is the right woman for you. Not that Wewe Gombel[1] of a woman.”
“Buk! I won’t have you humiliate her like that.”
“Koes, I am not letting you walk through this door. If you want to go out of here, you have to go over me. I want to see if you’re the kind of son who dares to use force against his own mother! Koes, come to your senses now, and promise me you’ll forget about that ghost and marry Sita.”
“Buk. It’s a bad idea to force people to be together without love. Especially when one of them already has somebody else. Buk, are you going move away from the door or not?” Koeswanto challenged her.
Bu Karto folded her arms on her chest planting her feet firmly on the floor. “If you want to get out of this room to go to Desa Sumber Rejo, then you have to push me away.” She declared.
Koeswanto shook his head, he headed to the window and opened it then he jumped out, he turned to his mother and said, “Buk, I’ll see you when I get back, bye.” Then he walked away towards his uncle’s house.

“Buk, don’t tie Yuni’s waist too tight.” Pak Bakrie said to his wife, “You might harm our grandchild.”
“I know, Pak!” Bu Nining replied.
“Pak what time will they be arriving?” Yuni asked.
“Eleven o’clock.”
“We still have an hour, I want to lie down for a while. I’m feeling very lethargic.”
“Yun, is there anything you want? Something to drink or to eat, maybe it will help bring the baby’s spirit up. Usually the baby’s mood effects the mother you know. I remember when your mother was pregnant with you, she would be angry all the time, and look how you turned out.”
“Ah….Bapak…..” Bu Nining exclaimed.
“Buk, we have to take care of our little Endang.” Pak Bakrie said.
“Pak, it’s Guntoro! I’m sure it’s a boy!” His wife replied, “What do you think it is Yun?”
Yuni looked at both of her parents, “Whether it’s a Guntoro or Endang, I love it just the same.” She replied.

[1] Wewe Gombel is an evil spirit in a form of an ugly woman or sometime an old woman who kidnaps children who are abandon by their parents.

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2 thoughts on “September Moon Part 14

  1. I love this part! I think every child should respect their parents. But in this situation, it’s only right that Koes goes against his mother. Koes is being a man and taking responsibilities for his actions 🙂
    And I’m happy that Pak Bakrie is allowing Yuni to live with Koes after their marriage.

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