Chapter 10: Uncle and Aunt's House
“You have packed everything you need, right Honey? Are you sure that you don’t forget anything?” Andra, Shinta’s father asked as he escorted his daughter and wife to the car that would take them to Jakarta today.
“Yes, Dad, don’t worry! I have packed up everything,” Shinta convinced her father.
“You don’t have to worry, Honey!” said Vina, “Last night, I have checked Shinta’s stuffs. She has had everything she needs for while she’s in Jakarta.”
Andra let out a sigh of relief. “Thank God.”
“And by the way, Vina, please give my love to your brother, Rizwan, and his wife, Penny, okay?” Andra requested.
“Sure, I will,” Vina promised.
Andra squeezed Shinta on the shoulders and said, “Take care, my daughter! Remember! Don’t cause too much trouble to your uncle and aunt while you are in Jakarta!”
“Okay, Boss.” Shinta saluted to his father.
“Okay, Honey, I think you should get going now,” Andra said.
“Okay, Honey. Assalamualaikum.” Vina kissed her husband’s hand.
“Waalaikumsalam,” Andra responded.
“Dad, don’t forget about your promise that you’re going to see me on the first day I go to the Police Academy, okay?” Shinta warned.
“Don’t worry, Honey!” said Andra, “I won’t forget it. I will come after your mother and you to Jakarta as soon as possible.”
“Bye, Dad.” Shinta kissed her father on the cheek.
Andra kissed his daughter’s forehead. “Bye, Honey. I’ll miss you terribly.”
“I’ll miss you too, Dad,” Shinta said.
Vina and Shinta gave their suitcases to the driver before they got into the car.
The driver put those suitcases into the trunk, and finally he hopped into the driver’s seat.
“Safe drive, Mang Dadang!” Andra talked to the driver that would take his wife and daughter to Jakarta.
“Of course, Sir, I will,” Mang Dadang replied.
The driver finally started the engine and their car began to pull away from the house.
Andra kept staring at the car until it was out of sight.
After driving for about two hours, they finally arrived in front of Vina’s brother’s house. After the driver helped get Shinta’s and her mother’s suitcases out of the trunk, Mang Dadang soon excused himself because he still had to pick Shinta’s father up in the afternoon.
Shinta and Vina walked arm in arm towards Rizwan’s house while dragging their suitcases
Shinta rang the bell on the wall beside the front door. “Assalamualaikum,” she and her mother shouted.
“Waalaikumsalam,” someone answered from inside the house. Not long after that, the door swung open.
“Vina, Shinta?” beamed a woman in hijab.
“Aunty Penny...” Shinta hugged her aunt soon.
“Oh Shinta, I missed you so much,” Penny said to her favorite niece as she hugged her back.
“Same here,” Shinta said, “I missed you too, Aunty.”
Detaching her embrace with Shinta, Penny asked, “How are you, Vira, Shinta?”
“We’re fine, Penny,” Vina replied for both of them, “and you?”
“I am fine too,” Penny responded.
“Thank God!” Vina mumbled.
“Come in please! Your uncle has been waiting for you in the living room, Shinta,” Penny said.
The three of them finally entered the house.
“Honey, your sister and niece are here,” Penny told her husband as they reached the living room.
Rizwan was so involved in some documents he was reading that he didn’t notice their arrival.
Seeing her husband’s behavior, Penny shook her head in disapproval. Hurriedly, she approached her husband and patted him on the shoulder. “Honey...”
Startled, Rizwan soon turned his attention to his wife. “Yes, Honey?”
“Look at that! Your sister and niece have just arrived.” Penny pointed to Shinta and her mother.
“Uncle Rizwan...” Shinta spread her arms.
“Shinta?” Standing up, Rizwan threw his arms around his niece. “How are you, Sweetie?”
“I’m fine, Uncle,” Shinta answered, “And how are you doing?”
“I’m fine too, Sweetie,” Rizwan replied.
Rizwan looked at his niece from head to toe before he commented, “Hey look at you, Shinta! You’ve grown so much. When the last time I saw you, I remember that you’re still knee-high to a grasshopper.”
“Of course, Uncle,” Shinta smiled proudly.
“My brother, Rizwan.” Vina spread her arms and his brother hugged her right away.
“Oh, Vina, my sister. How are you, Sis?” asked Rizwan.
“I’m fine, Brother,” she answered, “How are you?”
“I’m fine too, Sis. And how is your husband?” Rizwan posed another question.
“He’s very well. But he’s busy now, so he can’t come here with us. By the way, he sent his love to you and your wife,” Vina explained.
“Please give him my and my wife’s love too, Sis,” Rizwan said.
Vina nodded. “Sure, I will.”
“Have a seat please!” Penny said.
Rizwan, Vina, and Shinta then sat down on the sofa.
“What would you like to drink, Sis?” Penny inquired.
“Anything is fine, Penny,” answered Vina.
“Okay, wait a minute!” Penny headed towards the kitchen to get some drinks for her sister-in-law and niece.
“Shinta, so you’ve been accepted in the Police Academy?” Rizwan questioned enthusiastically.
“Yes, Uncle,” replied Shinta happily, “I’ve been accepted. I’m so happy, Uncle. Finally, my dream of becoming a policewoman will come true.”
“I’m glad to hear that too, Shinta,” Rizwan said proudly.
Finally, Penny returned from the kitchen. She brought a tray with three cups of tea and two jars of cookies on it. She then served it to her husband, sister-in-law, and niece.
Shinta took her cup of tea. “Thank you, Aunty.”
“Thank you, Penny. Sorry to have troubled you,” said Vina.
“No problem, Sis,” responded Penny. After that, she took a seat beside her husband.
“Please help yourself!” Rizwan said.
Taking her cup of tea, Vina took a sip before she put it away. “Brother, I entrust my daughter as long as she is in Jakarta. Please take care of her well! If she makes a mistake, please scold her! And remember! Do not pamper her too much, okay?”
“Okay, Sister. Don’t worry! I and my wife will take care of Shinta well. Moreover, we have regarded Shinta as our own daughter. Especially since Rahma went missing.” Sadness was written all over Rizwan’s face when he mentioned that name.
Penny understood what her husband was feeling. She held his hand gently and said, “Honey, I told you that we shouldn’t talk about Rahma again. Raking up the past will only hurt both of us.”
“Who is this Rahma whom you’re talking about, Aunty, Uncle?” Shinta queried in bewilderment.
“Shinta!” Vina gave a signal to Shinta to shut her mouth up.
Penny smiled sadly. “That’s okay, Sis.”
“So Shinta, Rahma is uncle and aunty’s daughter who went missing when she was a kid. Maybe you don’t remember her anymore because you were still too young when Rahma went missing. Rahma is one year younger than you. When she was four years old, our family had a holiday in Puncak. Because of our carelessness, we lost Rahma. Since that day forth, we keep searching for her everywhere, but we haven’t found her yet until now.”
“Your aunty is right, Shinta,” added Rizwan, “We have been searching for Rahma for years, but she’s nowhere to be found. It’s as if Rahma has vanished off the face of the earth. However, I’m sure that she is still alive right now, and hopefully, we can see her again someday.”
“I’m sorry, Uncle, Aunty, I didn’t mean to make you sad,” Shinta apologized.
Penny smiled. “That’s okay, Shinta.”
“Aunty, Uncle, I hope you can find Rahma as soon as possible. I can’t wait to reunite with my cousin again,” Shinta prayed.
“Amen,” said Penny, Rizwan, and Vina in unison.
“Shinta, I know you’re tired. Let me see you and your mother to your rooms now!” Penny said.
“Okay, Aunty,” said Shinta.
Shinta and her aunt rose to their feet.
“Come on, Sis!” Penny talked to Vina.
“You and Shinta go first. I still want to talk with my brother,” replied Vina.
“Oh okay, Sis. Let’s go to your room now, shall we, Shinta?” Penny wrapped her arms around Shinta’s shoulders.
Shinta nodded. “Okay, Aunty.”
Penny lastly escorted Shinta to her bedroom which was located on the second floor. This was the room where Shinta was going to spend her nights in as long as she’s studying in the Police Academy in Jakarta.