In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 25: A New Life

Aiman settled himself comfortably on the sofa in the drawing room. He was riffling through the newspapers on the table, looking at the vacancies that were advertised in those local papers. When he found a vacancy that he felt suitable for him, he soon wrote it down on his notebook.

Yes, Aiman was trying to find a new job. It had been a week since Aiman decided to quit as a robber, and he thought that he needed to bestir himself and start looking for a job. But so far, all his efforts to get a job proved unsuccessful. It came as no surprise to him, though. He admitted that jobs were hard to come by these days, especially for people who hadn’t been to college like Aiman. But he wouldn’t stop trying to get a job for the sake of his younger sisters.

Speaking of his sisters, Aiman had told them that he was thinking of applying for a new job because he was no longer working with Prama, Reza, and Putra. But he gave no reasons for his decision. Fortunately, Alya and Dinda just accepted what Aiman told them and never thought to question their brother’s decision.

All of a sudden, the doorbell rang loudly.

“Assalamualaikum,” someone shouted from outside the house.

“Waalaikumsalam,” replied Aiman as he rose from the sofa, and finally went to answer the door.

“Shinta?” Aiman was surprised to see his best friend standing on his doorstep.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, but can I talk to you for a moment?” Shinta asked.

“Oh no, you don’t disturb me. Come on in!” Aiman stepped aside to let Shinta enter the house. He then led her to the drawing room.

“Please sit down!” Aiman said.

“Thanks, Aiman.” Shinta parked herself on the sofa. Her eyes immediately were drawn to the pile of newspapers on the table.

Aiman’s eyes followed Shinta’s gaze. His face glowed with embarrassment when he realized what she was staring at.

“I’m sorry. This room is in a mess.” Aiman apologized as he cleared all the newspapers off the table.

A smile hovered on Shinta’s lips. “It’s okay, Aiman.”

“What would you like to drink?” Aiman offered once he had kept the newspapers under the table.

“No, thanks. I won’t be long,” Shinta refused politely.

“Oh okay.” Aiman lastly plonked himself down on the sofa next to Shinta.

“Are you still looking for a job?” Shinta gestured to the pile of newspapers under the table.

“Yes, I’m still looking for work. Because so far, I’ve been rejected by all the companies I applied to,” Aiman told her sadly.

Without warning, Shinta held Aiman’s hand gently. “Don’t give up, Aiman! Keep applying and by the law of averages you’ll get a job sooner or later.”

Shinta’s words were a great encouragement to Aiman. Before he met her, Aiman began to feel pessimistic about his chances of getting a job. But Shinta’s encouragement lifted his spirits. And now, he realized that he had to take a more optimistic view of life and he shouldn’t give up easily.

Aiman smiled at Shinta. “You’re right, Shinta. I shouldn’t give up. OK then, I’ll keep trying to get a job.”

She smiled back. “That’s the spirit!”

There was a moment of silence before Shinta said hesitantly, “Um, Aiman...”

“Yes?” Aiman responded.

“Would you take it amiss if I offered to help you find a job?” Shinta inquired carefully.

Aiman chuckled. “What are you talking about? Of course, I won’t feel offended by you. On the contrary, I would be grateful if you could help me in finding a job.”

“OK then, I’m going to ask my father if there are any vacancies in his friends and colleagues’ companies. I’ll immediately let you know if any vacancies come up,” Shinta stated.

“Thank you very much, Shinta.” Aiman spontaneously hugged her.

“There’s no need to thank me, Aiman. We’re best friends. We must help each other,” Shinta said before she slowly pulled away from Aiman’s embrace.

“By the way, what brings you here, Shinta?” Aiman inquired out of curiosity.

Instead of answering Aiman’s question, Shinta looked around the room.

“What’s the matter, Shinta? Are you looking for something?” Aiman queried in mystification.

Shinta asked back, “Are your sisters at home right now?”

He shook his head. “No, they haven’t come home yet.”

At Aiman’s reply, Shinta sighed with relief. “Thank goodness your sisters are not at home. It means that we can speak freely now.”

Her statement fanned Aiman’s curiosity. “What exactly do you want to talk about, Shinta?”

“Actually, the reason why I come here is because I want to discuss about the rob— I mean your friends,” answered Shinta.

A frown creased Aiman’s forehead. “What’s wrong with them?”

“Are you still in touch with your friends?” Shinta posed a question.

Aiman shook his head feebly. “I’ve been trying to contact them all week, but I couldn’t get through. Maybe they’re still angry with me.”

A secret smile touched the corners of Shinta’s mouth. She was glad to hear they had been avoiding Aiman all week. But it would be better for them to sever all contact with Aiman for good. Those robbers were a bad influence on him. Aiman was better off without them.

“But never mind!” Aiman continued, “I know my friends perfectly well. They never stay angry for long. Sooner or later, they will certainly forgive me.”

Shinta’s smile faded. To be honest, she didn’t want Aiman to make it up with his friends. You might call her selfish, but it’s for his own good. Shinta just didn’t want Aiman to get into a life of crime again.

“Look, Aiman! No matter what happens, don’t ever allow yourself to be persuaded by your friends into becoming a robber again! I don’t want you to be involved in trouble with the police. I’m afraid I won’t be able to save you again,” Shinta advised.

“Don’t worry, Shinta! You know me perfectly well. Once I’ve decided to do something, nothing can make me change my mind. Because I have decided to go straight, I will never go back to the bad ever again. I promise you,” Aiman convinced her.

A smile spread slowly across Shinta’s face. “I’m relieved to hear that.”

Aiman returned her smile, but said nothing.

Shinta glanced at her wristwatch. “I’m sorry, Aiman, but I must be going now.”

Aiman found it difficult to hide his disappointment when Shinta said that she had to go. “You want to leave already? Don’t you want to wait for Alya and Dinda first?”

“Much as I would like to stay, I really must go now. My lunch break is almost over. So I have to get back to work soon,” Shinta explained.

“Oh okay,” said Aiman.

“Give my love to Alya and Dinda when they come home, okay?” Shinta said.

“Okay, I will,” Aiman promised.

Rising to their feet, Aiman then saw Shinta to the door.

“See you, Aiman,” Shinta said as she climbed into the driver’s seat.

“Bye, Shinta.” Aiman waved at her.

Shinta beeped her horn at him and lastly drove away.

Aiman watched until Shinta’s car disappeared into the distance before going back into the house.

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