In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 22: Doubt

When the night fell, Shinta sat on the porch deep in contemplation. The event that had happened between her and Aiman this morning was whirling in her mind.

Somehow, she began to harbour doubts about her decision on letting Aiman go. At first, she thought that she’s doing the right thing. Although Aiman had broken the law, Shinta went to bat for him because she believed that Aiman deserved a second chance. But the more she thought about it, the more doubtful she became. Now, she couldn’t decide whether she had taken a right or wrong decision. She—

“Shinta?” Her uncle’s voice snapped Shinta out of her trance. She twisted her head around to look at her uncle who was now standing at the doorway and greeted him, “Oh hi Uncle.”

Rizwan came up to his niece and asked, “What are you doing here?”

“I just want to get some fresh air here, Uncle,” Shinta answered.

“It’s too cold to sit outside. Come inside now!” her uncle ordered.

Shinta was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn’t feel the cold that was caused by the icy wind blowing in gusts. But now that her uncle mentioned it, she was suddenly chilled to the bone. However, Shinta didn’t want to go into the house. Not yet. She still needed more time to mull over her decision.

“Okay, Uncle. I’ll come inside later. I want to stay here a little bit longer,” she told her uncle.

Rizwan sighed in defeat. “Fine. But don’t take too long, okay? I don’t want you to catch a cold.”

“All right, Uncle,” Shinta said with a smile.

Rizwan soon realized that her smile was forced. He leaned forward to scrutinize his niece’s face and inquired anxiously, “Is anything wrong? You look worried, Shinta.”

“Oh, nothing’s wrong, Uncle,” Shinta lied.

“Don’t lie to me, Shinta!” he snapped at her.

“I didn’t tell you lies, Uncle. There’s nothing wrong with me. I was just thinking about work,” she reasoned.

“Come on, Shinta. Loosen up! I don’t want you worrying yourself sick about your work,” Rizwan advised.

“Okay, Uncle, I’ll try,” Shinta said.

“I’ll go inside now. You too have to go in soon, okay?” Rizwan stated.

Shinta nodded her head as a reply.

Rizwan was just about to walk into the house, but Shinta suddenly stopped him. “Wait, Uncle!”

Rizwan spun around to face his niece. “What’s wrong?”

Shinta rose from the chair she was sitting on and enquired hesitantly, “Uncle, may I ask you a question?”

“OK, fire away!” Rizwan responded.

“Uncle, what would you do if you caught your loved ones committing a crime?” Shinta posed a question.

Rizwan regarded his niece suspiciously. “Why do you ask about it?”

“Oh nothing, just idle curiosity,” Shinta rejoined.

Rizwan chuckled. “Oh I thought you have just caught someone you love committing a crime.”

Shinta laughed to cover her nervousness. “Of course it’s impossible, Uncle!”

When their laughter had died down, Shinta plied her uncle with questions, “So what’s your answer, Uncle? If one day you caught your loved ones committing a crime, what would you do? Are you going to let them go or turn them in to the police?”

Rizwan draped his arm around his niece’s shoulders. “Look, Shinta! In the eyes of the law, everyone is equal. No matter who they are, if they commit a crime, they have to hold responsible for their actions. And as a police officer, it’s our duty to bring those responsible to justice.”

“So it means that you’re still going to turn that person over to the police even though they are the one whom you love?” Shinta queried.

“Yes, even our loved ones,” Rizwan replied with emphasis.

Shinta lapsed into silence. She just realized that she had made a terrible blunder. She shouldn’t have released Aiman. Aiman had done something wrong and he should be punished for what he did in order that he could learn from his mistakes. But Shinta messed everything up.

However, Shinta knew that it’s no use crying over spilt milk. She had made a decision to let Aiman go, and there would be no going back. She just hoped that Aiman kept his promise to quit as a robber, otherwise, both of them would get into trouble.

“Shinta, are you okay?” Again, her uncle’s words interrupted Shinta’s train of thoughts. “Why do you suddenly become quiet?”

“Oh I’m fine, Uncle,” Shinta quickly replied.

“Let’s go in, shall we? It’s getting colder out here,” Rizwan suggested.

“Okay, Uncle,” Shinta agreed.

The two of them lastly entered the house.

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