“Yun, why won’t you talk to me? What’s wrong?” Koeswanto persuaded.
Yuni shook her head in silence, “Nothing.” She replied.
“Is it something I did? Something I said? Did I offend you?” He chased.
“No, who am I to feel offended?” She replied with sarcasm.
“Are you upset that I’m going to the terminal with Sitawati to pick up my mother? Yun, it was my mother who asked for it. She called to the neighbor’s house this morning, I….”
“I said, who am I to feel offended?” She looked straight at him defiantly, “It’s getting late. nDoro Koes, you should head out now, otherwise you won’t make it in time. Remember that you have to pick up nDoro Sitawati.”
“Excellent!” Pak Atmojo exclaimed, “Follow me to my office and I’ll show you how I’m managing the expenditures.”
“Yes, sir.” She glanced at Koeswanto then followed Pak Atmojo to his office.
“Well that’s something, from maid to bookkeeper.” Budi commented.
“Not everybody was born with the same opportunity to study and look for a good job.” Koeswanto exhaled, “I’m glad she got this opportunity to show her abilities. She really deserves it.”
“You’re serious about her, aren’t you?” Budi looked at his friend.
Koeswanto looked at him, “If I wasn’t serious. I wouldn’t have brought her home with me. I asked the heavens to send my true love into my arms, and they did. If I didn’t accept their decision for me, I’ll be cursed.”
Budi shook his head, “So you’re with her not because you like her, but because you think you’re fated to be together.”
“I never said I didn’t like her.”
“Well, it’s just that if you compare her to the other woman who surrounds you, she’s not eye catching, she’s not the kind of woman that men would take a second look at.”
“Yun, don’t be sad.” He whispered while caressing her shoulder “I’ll take responsibility for you. I promise”
“How can I face my parents tomorrow knowing that as a daughter I’ve disappointed them and abused their trust towards me?” She muttered staring into blank space clasping the blanket tightly to her chest.
“Once my mother gets back from Semarang, I’ll talk to her we’ll arrange a visit to your parents and set a date for our wedding.”
“Mas, do you think nDoro Putri will agree? I’m just the daughter of a poor peasant, working here as a maid. How would she allow me to be her daughter in law?” Yuni began to weep, “This is my fault. It’s not enough that I’m ugly, I’m too easy, so cheap, and so worthless, I couldn’t conserve myself, I should have had more dignity, I should have …”
He quickly turned her around then put his fingers on her lips, wiping away her tears, he said, “Shhh, don’t mistreat yourself like that, you’re not easy or cheap, you’re the most precious thing to me. And what happened just now, was because I love you and I want you to be mine. But more importantly, I want you to know and always remember that it wasn’t only you who gave yourself to me, but I also gave myself to you. So you have to take responsibility for me too. You have to value yourself more, because the woman, who owns my body and soul, is the woman who means more to me than all the beauties in heaven and on earth combined.”
“Let’s buy something for your parents,” He said when they were in front of a shop selling yellow tofu.
“My parents?” She looked at him inquisitively.
“Eh-he, don’t you want to visit them?”
“Of course I do, I haven’t seen them in so long. I miss them very much,” She confessed.
“Tomorrow, we’ll go to Desa Sumber Rejo.” He affirmed. “Let’s buy some typical food for them, then we can go and check out the city before going back to Jember.”
“Thank you, nDoro.” She cheered.
“nDoro?” His eyebrows arched.
“Mas Koes.” She could barely whisper without blushing.
Tari Karonsih depicting the love story of Panji Asmara Bangun and Candra Kirana
She stood on the tip of the toes on the short stool to put the big pot on top of the cupboard. The neighbor had just returned it after borrowing for several month. She jumped and pushed the pot, but something was blocking its way. The pot began slipping from her hand, she quickly extended her other hand which was holding the cupboard to help her balance, but the weight of the pot overcame her and was heading straight for her head, she moved her body back to deflect it, losing her balance. She closed her eyes knowing that it was inevitable, she was going to fall to the floor.
Something was supporting her, preventing her from falling, she opened her eyes, Koeswanto’s cheek was just a few centimeters away from her face. She was leaning against his chest and his hands were holding her upper arms. She could feel his warm breath on her face, causing her to be awestricken. She hurriedly pushed herself forward taking hold of the corner of the closet to support her weight.
“Wah…” Yuni couldn’t help but admire Sitawati. She was beautifully fair skinned, thin, with hair that reached her waist. Yuni had seen her during the performance in her village, but up close in person she seemed even more beautiful.
As proper manner at the time, she kneeled on the floor while serving the tea and cookies on the living room table for Sitawati and Bu Karto.
“Sita, this is Yuni, she is working here as our servant, she comes from Desa Sumber Rejo. Koes hired her when he was there.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that Mas Koes was looking for help,” Sitawati said.
“Neither did I,” Bu Karto smiled, “But Yuni is a very good cook. She only started to work here last week, and look at how tidy and well organized the house is. She’s very efficient and hard working.”
“Oh, that’s good, how considerate of Mas Koes, to find someone to help you around the house,” Sitawati stated. She observed Yuni closely then nodded with satisfaction. “Just a simpleton.” She thought.
“Yes he is, sometimes. He promised me to bring you here to visit a week ago, but look, I had to wait all this time to be able to see you.” Bu Karto sighed.
“Oh, he did, did he?” She replied.
Bu Karto turned to Yuni, “Where’s Koeswanto, Sita is here to visit, but he disappeared just like that.”
“I will go to look for him,” Yuni replied.