“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.” Continue reading →
Koeswanto was extremely nervous as he stood at the door of her house. He paced back and forward wondering why nobody had opened the door to let them in.
“Koes, calm down. You’re going to get a panic attack if you keep that up.” His uncle persuaded him.
“Why are they taking so long?” He asked almost to himself.
Finally, the door opened and Pak Bakrie greeted them, “Welcome.” He said.
Koeswanto was slightly relieved seeing his future father in law’s expression was relaxed and friendly. He was somewhat worried that he would try to pick a fight with them.
“Please, sit down,” Pak Bakrie said to them.
The table was set with various containers filled with snacks, there was also a tray ready with glasses filled with tea. Koeswanto looked around the living room it was obvious that his future mother in law had put in an effort to clean it and decorate the room with their humble means.
Pak Bakrie and his wife sat on the long chair while the two guests sat across them. It was according to custom that during the marriage offer, the future bride should not be present in the room. Yuni was waiting inside her own room.
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.
Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu When the sky is full of stars, my lovely
Aku ngenteni tekamu I await you
Marang mego ing angkoso, nimas To the clouds in the sky, my love
Sun takokke pawartamu I ask for you
Janji-janji aku eling, cah ayu Remembering the promises, my lovely
Sumedhot rasaning ati My heart wants to cry
Lintang-lintang ngiwi-iwi, nimas The stars seem to wave to me, my love
Tresnaku sundhul wiyati My love for you reaches the sky
Dek semono janjimu disekseni That day you promised before…..
mego kartiko kairing roso tresno asih The clouds and stars with all your love
Yen ing tawang ono lintang, cah ayu When the sky is full of stars, my lovely
Rungokno tangis ing ati Hear my heart cry
Binarung swaraning ratri, nimas Listen to the sound of my heart tonight, my love
Ngenteni mbulan ndadari Awating the full moon up on high
Koeswanto arrived home heart broken, he searched the train station in and out, but Yuni was nowhere to be found. He didn’t understand why she left without saying anything. Could it be that she heard his conversation with his mother? That must be the reason, why else would she leave? Koeswanto thought carefully, she really had no place to go but to her village. Tomorrow first thing in the morning he had to go there to look for her.
He walked out to the field behind the house. Twenty three years of living here, but it had never felt as empty as it did tonight. He looked around him left and right hoping that this was all a joke that she would show up from inside the kitchen or from behind a tree to surprise him, but there was only silence. Continue reading →
The little girl cried alone while sitting in the corner of the front porch. Koeswanto walked to her and heaved her up in his arm. “What’s wrong with my little princess? Why are you crying?” He asked affectionately.
“Mas Koes, Dik Guntoro is mean to me. He wouldn’t let me watch cartoons on the TV….” The little girl sulked.
Koeswanto smiled, “Huh, the two of you are always fighting. I don’t understand that Guntoro, he’s already twenty years old, but he still acts like a kid. That’s all because his mother keeps treating him like a baby.”
Koeswanto carried the little girl to the living room, “Gun, why are you making Endang cry over the television?” He scolded his son.
“Ah, Pak. That little kid is so intense, she was hogging the TV since this morning. I’ve been watching her cartoons all day, I want to watch other things too.” Guntoro rebuked.
“You’re already an adult now, but you still pick fights with babies! When are you going to act like a grown man?”Koeswanto said while putting Endang down on the couch. Then turned on the VCD, the screen changed to images of a gray cat chasing after a brown mouse.
The little girl laughed gleefully, she climbed down from the couch and hugged his leg, “Mas Koes, you’re the kindest and most handsome person in the whole world. I want to marry you when I grow up!” She said.
Koeswanto laughed whole heartedly, “My precious girl, when you do grow up, I will be the one to make sure that we’ll find you a nice guy who will dote on you and treat you like the princess you are.” He said while pinching her nose. “Now, go back to the couch and watch TV.”
Koewanto left the living room to continue with his gardening.
“I want to marry you when I grow up.” Guntoro mocked, he moved closer to Endang, “Hey you, manipulative little brat! Get that stupid idea out of your head about marrying my father!” He grumbled.
Endang looked at him and poked her tongue, “You only gave me one candy, if you want to watch TV longer, you shouldn’t be so stingy!”
“I can’t believe this, she’s just five years old, and she’s so manipulative and scheming, I can’t imagine what would happen when she grows up to be an adult woman, people usually become worse with time. I feel sorry for the guy who’s going to marry her in the future!” He mumbled to himself.
“Dik Gun, I’m thirsty, Can you get me a glass of tea?” Endang said.
“You lazy little kid, why don’t you go to the kitchen and ask my mother for it, you’ve been bossing me around all day, and you won’t even let me watch TV, I’m not my father who is more than happy to surrender to all your capricious.” He said to her while grabbing the remote control from the table. Guntoro changed the channel then leaned back on the couch.
Endang looked at him upset and teary eyed. “You’re a horrible person. I can’t believe that you’re Mas Koes’s son. You’re mean and stingy.”
Guntoro ignored her tantrum, “Little girls should behave properly and do what their elders tell them to do!”
Endang looked at him with an angry face then began to cry loudly, “MBak Yun, Dik Gun is being mean to me again.” She shouted.
“Guntoro!” His mother shouted from the kitchen, “Are you disturbing the little girl again? I don’t care how big you’ve grown and I don’t even care that you’re already an adult, if you don’t act like one, I’m going to get the broom stick and hit you with it.”
“Rotten kid!” Guntoro said while getting up to leave, he quickly pulled small strand of her hair before running out of the living room.
Endang cried louder.
“Guntoro……. ” Yuni and Koeswanto simultaneously yelled.
Koeswanto held the prop Keris in his right hand, his left arm forming an arch beside his body. His legs wide apart and knees slightly bent, he moved left and right to the rhythm while stabbing the Keris in the air horizontal to his neck. He picked up the end of his sash with his left hand and walked in a small circle, he moved his left foot forward, in line with his left arm and flipped the sash covering his forearm and hand. His right arm forming a seventy-degree angle behind his body, the Keris held between his index finger and thumb. He flipped the sash again then repeated the movement, but this time facing a different direction.
Tanto stepped forward joining the dance, he reciprocated Koeswanto’s movement but in a different direction, if Koeswanto faced left, he faced right. If Koeswanto stepped forward, Tanto stepped backward. And alternately making the stabbing movements as the other stepped away from the Keris. They danced the Keris fighting scene between Alusan roles.
“Huh. Imagine if real warriors fought that way,” Yuni thought to herself. ”They’d grow white hair and lose their teeth before anyone can win the fight.”
Pak Atmojo had called her to the paguyuban today to help with preparations for the next event. She was feeling perfectly fine until she arrived at the hall, then the mixed of odors in the air began to disturb her, and provoke an uneasy sensation in her body.
Yuni was exceptionally cranky today, her body was heavy, her breasts hurting and everything seemed to annoy her. Since she didn’t want to offend anybody with her bad mood, she kept to herself at her desk most of the time, only going to the bathroom when she needed to.
She passed Sitawati in the hall way, “Oh, you’re here.” Sitawati said. Continue reading →
Damyanti Biswas is an author, blogger, animal-lover, spiritualist. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book, or baking up a storm.