September Moon Part 16


“Buk, what are you trying to do?” Koeswanto bellowed. “How can you bring her to love here without asking for my permission? Do I have to remind you that this is my house?”
“Oh…..look at you,” Bu Karto said pointing her finger to Koeswanto’s face, “You dare act all high and mighty in front of your mother. Even though this is your house, but I’m your mother, I’m the mistress of this house, I have the rights to make my own decisions or invite whoever I want.”
“Buk, that was true before I was married, now Yuni is the mistress of this house because she is my wife,” Koeswanto argued.
“You’ve been married for a few hours and already that woman is spreading her evil in this house and making you defy your mother! The next thing we know, that witch will make you send me packing my bags to leave this house.” She paused, “I can’t believe how evil she is.”
“Buk, if you keep this up, I swear I will ask Pak Amin to give back the house he rented from you so you can go and live there. I won’t take your lies about my wife,” he looked at Sitawati, “Excuse me, I’m going to wake my wife up now so we can enjoy our wedding night.”

“Koes, how dare you speak like that in front of me!” Bu Karto yelled.
Koeswanto shrugged his shoulder and entered the room. He closed the door as gently as he could, as he turned around in the darkness he almost jumped when he felt a figure standing in front of him.
“Yuni, you almost gave me a heart attack.” He managed to say.
“Imagine how I felt when I woke up to the shouting competition just now.” She replied, “Did your mother really bring Ndoro Sitawati to live here?”
“Why are you still calling her nDoro, just call her by her name, you’re my wife now.”
Yuni nodded sadly, “I can be your wife, but your mother will always see me as nothing more than a servant.”
Koeswanto exhaled, “Try not to think too much about it. Let’s go to bed.”
Yuni grabbed his hand, “I want some fried rice.” She exclaimed.
Koeswanto scratched his head, “Okay, I’ll have to make some for you.” He bowed down to her stomach, “We don’t want the baby to drool all the time.”
“If I make you cook for me, your mother will hate me even more.” She sighed.
Even though, I don’t cook for you, she’s not going to hate you any less. Besides, It’s the father’s responsibility to get anything the mother is craving for.” He said while touching her nose.
“Then I’ll go with you to the kitchen. I don’t want you to be kidnaped by a Kuntilanak[1] on your way out.”
Koeswanto chuckled and kissed her forehead. “Let’s go.” He said while taking her hand.
Yuni was pleasantly surprised to see Koeswanto knowing his way around the kitchen, “I didn’t know that you cooked.” She praised.
“I’m multi-talented.” He said, “Besides, my mother’s cooking taste so horrible that I had to learn how to cook, it’s better to enter the kitchen than suffer from a stomachache.”
“Mas, you’re exaggerating!” Yuni grinned.
“You’re right, I am.” He said while cracking an egg into the frying pan. “It’s ready.”
Koeswanto served the fried rice on a plate then handed it to his wife. Yuni tried a spoonful. She nodded her head and held out her thumb. “Delicious!”
“Of course!” Koeswanto replied. “Leave the dishes in the corner, I don’t want you to go to the well in the dark.”
“Okay.”

“What kind of a woman is still in bed at this hour?” Sitawati complained to Bu Karto while looking at Koeswanto’s room, “That’s what happens if you put a low life in a noble person’s place, her head will grow big. I hope it explodes one day.”
“Ah, Sita, calm down, if you shout like that, you’ll only end up quarreling with Koes, like what happened to me last night.” She said. “Sita, Has your mother said anything about the shaman that can help purify that woman’s evil spell on my son?”
“Not yet, Bu Lik.”
“You better tell her to hurry up, the longer we wait the stronger her grasp on him will be.”
Bu Karto glared at her, “I’ve never given you any permission to call me Ibu.” Bu Karto reprimanded.
Yuni looked down to the floor, not knowing how to act.
“You don’t need to give her permission to call you that, Buk. Or do you prefer her to call you by name?” Koeswanto commented.
“Koeswanto! I don’t know you anymore, you’ve changed so much in so little time,” she yelled.
“Bu Lik, don’t get angry, it’s bad for your health. If you get sick, somebody will be very happy and might laugh at you behind your back.” Sitawati sneered.
“You…!” Koeswanto lifted his finger to point at Sitawati, but Yuni held on to his arm.
“Mas, let’s go to the kitchen, I have to prepare breakfast and wash the dished from last night,” Yuni said.
“I’m not eating anything you prepare, who knows you might try to poison me.” Sitawati scorned.
“I never said I was going to prepare breakfast for you,” Yuni replied coyly.
“How dare you speak to Sita like that!” Bu Karto defended the young woman.”
Yuni shrugged her shoulder and left the living room. Koeswanto followed behind her without saying anything else.
“What a rude and uneducated thing” Bu Karto criticized.
“Bu Lik, we have to do something about her, she’s beginning to show me an attitude, soon she’ll be stepping all over me.” Sitawati nagged.

“Don’t pay attention to them,” Koeswanto said.
“I’m not, I’m used to that type of treatment,” Yuni replied, “In my village they would call me all sorts of things and make fun of me. What mBak Sita said just now, is nothing compared to what I’ve heard before.”
“People can be mean sometimes.” Koeswanto lamented.
“It doesn’t affect me, they can say anything they want to say.”
“Hmm….still, I don’t like to hear it.”
“Mas, tomorrow I want to go and talk to Pak Atmojo about my job,” Yuni said changing the topic. “Since you have to start practicing again.”
“You know, I would prefer that you stay home and take care of the house and our baby,” Koeswanto commented.
“Mas, I promised Bapak that I will be at least financially independent, and I don’t want to let him down,” Yuni stated.
Koeswanto exhaled, “Yun, look, today I’m going to receive payment from the land rent. After giving Ibu her share, the rest is still more than enough for our daily lives.”
Yuni smiled, “Then we can save it up for the baby. The baby is going to need many things, clothes, cloth diapers, socks, mittens, hats, blanket, and other things too.”
Koeswanto forced a smile, pulling her into his arms “Okay if that’s what you want,”
Yuni leaned her head against his chest, “That’s what I want.” She whispered.
“What a shameless woman you are,” Sitawati yelled as she entered the kitchen. “How dare you do something like that here?”
“mBak Sitawati,” Yuni answered calmly turning her head without lifting it from Koeswanto’s chest, “If you don’t like to see my husband and me acting lovingly to each other, you can leave my husband’s house. We’re not forcing you to stay here.”
“What is it, Sita?” Bu Karto rushed to her side, hearing the shouting from the kitchen.
“Bu Lik, can you believe that this woman was Mas Koes do disgusting and inappropriate things here in the kitchen?” She pointed at them.
Yuni quickly drew herself away from Koeswanto, knowing that a display of affection in front of an elder is not polite.
“Tsk, that’s what happens if you marry a woman like that, Koes. She wouldn’t know how to respect your house, your guest, and your mother.” She looked at Yuni judgmentally.
Yuni looked down to the floor, “I’m sorry, Buk.” She said softly.
“Don’t be sorry,” Koeswanto said to his wife. “I don’t think I have to answer to anyone what I do in my house with my wife. Besides it’s not like we were doing something prohibited.”
“There are rules in society, and proper behavior is one of them.” Bu Karto lectured.
“Mas, let’s not argue with Ibu anymore,” Yuni whispered to him. “Buk, excuse me, I’m going to the well to wash these plates.” She said getting up and walking away.
Koeswanto wanted to follow her, but his mother blocked his way, “Koes, one day you’ll regret disobeying me! You’ll see what kind of woman you married and what kind of woman you rejected.”

“Our newlyweds are back,” Pak Atmojo said as they walked into the administration office.
“Good afternoon Pak Atmojo.” Yuni greeted.
“mBak Yuni, sit down, sit down.” He smiled kindly.
Koeswanto helped her to her chair, “Pak Atmojo, thank you for letting Yuni come back to work even after she left without saying anything.” He said on his wife’s behalf.
“Not at all. Mas Wibowo explained the situation to me. Also about your father’s concerns,” He glanced at Koeswanto, “Of course I’m happy to help in any way that I can.”
“Excuse me, I’m going to practice now.” Koeswanto excused himself.
“Go ahead,” Pak Atmojo replied, “Yuni, can you please start registering the receipts for the weeks that you were absent.”
Yuni nodded.

“She´s staying in your house?” Budi almost shouted.
Koeswanto nodded, “Yeah, it has just been two days, and she is conspiring with my mother to make Yuni’s life miserable.”
“yeah, but Yuni doesn’t look like the type to just roll over and let anybody walk all over her.”
“hmm, you’re right. She’s been patiently taking everything in, but if she can’t hold it back anymore, I don’t know what would happen.”
“I don’t know, you know that’s why it’s not a good idea to marry because of an accident like that. Our ancestors always teach us to abstain from being intimate before marriage for a reason. For example, I would never marry a woman who my mother doesn’t approve, it’s just too much headache.” Budi gave his opinion.
“Who’s side are you on?” Koeswanto stared at him.
“I’m on your side, of course. I was just giving my honest opinion.”
“Well, it’s too late now. Let’s stop talking rubbish and start practice,” he said while fastening his sash around his waist.
“Koeswanto, Tari Gotokoco!” Pak Atmojo shouted out of nowhere.
Koeswanto turned around and nodded, putting a big smile on his face.
Pak Atmojo nodded to Yuni who put a tape in the cassette player.
Koeswanto took this as a chance to show his new wife, his dance skills. She always saw him dancing the role as Alusan, dancing with a very gentle and smooth movement. this dance is more dynamic and upbeat. As in the Mahabharata epic, Gatotkoco is the son of Pandawa’s Bima and a Giantess

Koeswanto placed a knee on the floor and the other leg arched beside him, as the music began to play in the background. He slightly raised his body as his arched arms at the side of his body flipped both ends of his sash backward. The music was dominated by the Gendang[2]. He moved his head and lowered his body again, placing his hand on his right thigh and his left hand with his palm facing up against his left leg. turning his head around, he moved his hands to form a Sembah [3]. He continued to do the choreography, the Gatotkoco dance has a lot of shoulder movements, a typical depiction of giants in Javanese dances. The dance also involves a lot of leg movements, moving on his tiptoe while shaking his whole leg. The challenge was the part where he had to stand on one leg, his left leg while lifting his right leg up behind his body. This is to depict Gatokoco flying as according to the lore, he is able to fly in the sky (like Superman). He jumped off the ground, then landed on the ground, twirling backward and the dropped to the floor.
All the member of the group actually stopped to watch as Koeswanto continued the dance. Joko even came up to Yuni and Pak Atmojo who were observing Koeswanto. “I can’t imagine Mas Koes with a thick mustache.” He whispered to Yuni.
She giggled silently as she envisioned her husband as Joko said. “He still would look very handsome.” She declared proudly.
“Hmm…so much love and admiration for your husband.” He teased.
“Of course!” Yuni replied while poking her tongue.,
“Koeswanto is a talented dancer,” Pak Atmojo said, “Tomorrow we are going to have a new member, who will also be playing Alusan roles. I think I will ask him to train with Koeswanto for the first two months.
“Oh? A new dancer?” Yuni looked at him.
Pak Atmojo nodded, “You should know him, he’s my nephew Wahono.”
“Mas Wahono is joining the paguyuban?” Yuni asked in excitement.
Pak Atmojo smiled widely, “I knew you would be happy to have him join us, that’s why I asked my brother to give him permission, besides, he has taken dancing classes for three years now. It’s time for him to try it professionally.”
“My goodness. I’m so excited, he is one of my very good friends.”
“I’m glad you’re happy,” Pak Atmojo said while nodding, “I’m glad your happy.”

[1] Kuntilanak is a beautiful female ghost who seduces men and spirits them away to have sexual relationship with them before preying on their organs.
[2] Two headed drum used in traditional Javanese music or Gamelan. The Javanese Gendang is different from the ones in other regions of South East Asia, as one end is smaller than the other.
[3] Sembah is clasping both hands slightly above the head to demonstrate worship.

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