In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 28: For Dinda's Sake

Aiman and Alya finally went to Adinda’s hospital room. They found Dinda lying unconscious on the hospital bed. Her head was swathed in bandage. An oxygen mask was placed over her nose and mouth. And tubes and needles were sticking into her little body.

Aiman drew a chair up closer to Dinda’s bed and sat down. Holding his sister hand, he shut his eyes and wished for her to get better.

“A Aiman?” Alya tapped Aiman on the shoulder.

Aiman swivelled around to face her. “Yes?”

“How much money is there in your account? Will it be enough for Dinda’s operation?” Alya plied her brother with questions.

Aiman heaved a long sigh. “To be honest, I don’t have that much money on me right now. But I promise you I’m going to get the money for Dinda’s operation, by hook or by crook. You have to trust me, okay?”

“But how can you get that kind of money in a relatively short space of time?” Alya posed another question tearfully.

Aiman thought for a bit before answering, “I’m going to borrow some money from Sandra’s father. He is a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. I’m sure he will lend us the money.”

“OK then, call Kak Sandra now and ask for her help!” Alya ordered.

“Okay. I’ll call her now.” Aiman then walked out of Dinda’s hospital room to make a phone call.

Aiman pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and then called Sandra, but he couldn’t get through. He tried to call her again and again, but much to his disappointment, he still couldn’t get through. He then called Sandra’s home phone, but no one answered it. Knowing it was in vain, Aiman lastly decided to return to Dinda’s room.

“What did Kak Sandra tell you, A Aiman? She and her parents are willing to help us, right?” Alya queried hopefully.

Aiman shook his head sadly. “I tried calling her several times but I couldn’t get through.”

“Maybe Kak Sandra is busy at the moment. You’d better go to her house and meet her personally,” Alya suggested.

“You’re right. Okay then, I’ll go to Sandra’s house now. Watch Dinda while I am away, okay? Just ring for the nurse if you need anything! And don’t forget to inform me at once if there are any changes in Dinda’s condition,” Aiman advised.

“Okay, I will,” Alya promised.

Aiman turned around and talked to Adinda, “I have to go now, Dinda. I’ll be back soon.”

He planted a kiss on his sister’s forehead before he got to his feet and walked over to the door.

“Bye, Alya,” Aiman said before he went out of the room.

“Be careful, Brother,” Alya said.

Aiman only replied with a nod.

(((((

Aiman drove his car to Sandra’s house at high speed. On arriving there, he honked his car horn, but no one came to open the door. He sounded his horn again, but it was still the same.

Aiman rolled down his car window. “Mr. Amir?” he called the name of the security guard who worked in Sandra’s house, but there was no answer.

Finally, Aiman got off the car and marched over to the the gates. He rang the bell and waited. But nobody turned up to open the gates for him yet.

Aiman wandered back towards his car and sat on the bonnet of the car, waiting for the security guard to come and open the gates for him.

A few minutes went on, at last Aiman saw Mr. Amir running towards the gate. When he noticed Aiman, the security guard hurriedly pushed open the gates and approached Aiman.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Aiman. I was in the bathroom when you rang the bell,” Mr. Amir explained.

“That’s all right, Mr. Amir,” Aiman said.

“Can I help you, Mr. Aiman?” Mr. Amir asked.

“Is Sandra home? If she is at home, could you please call her here? I need to speak to her urgently,” Aiman requested.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Aiman, but Miss Sandra and her parents aren’t at home right now,” Mr. Amir replied.

“Where are they going?” Aiman enquired.

Mr. Amir answered, “One of Mr. Hendra’s relatives who live abroad passed away this morning, so they went there to attend the funeral.”

Aiman’s eyes widened in surprise. “So Sandra went abroad?”

Mr. Amir nodded. “Yes.”

“Do you know when they will return home?” Aiman inquired.

“I’m sorry I don’t know when they will return because they didn’t tell me about it. But I assume that they’ll be back in a week or two weeks,” Mr. Amir answered.

“What?! One week to two weeks? But I’m afraid Dinda doesn’t have that much time. What shall I do now?” Aiman thought sadly.

Mr. Amir could tell that Aiman was sad from his expression, but he didn’t know what’s wrong with him. So he decided to ask him, “Are you OK, Mr. Aiman?”

Aiman gave a weak smile. “ I’m fine. Thank you for your information, Mr. Amir. I ought to go now. See you later.”

“No problem, Mr. Aiman. See you,” the security guard responded.

Aiman got into his car. Then, he honked his horn as he drove past Mr. Amir.

He hit the steering wheel vehemently. “Why is this happening to me? When I was busy, Sandra always demanded to see me. But when I am absolutely desperate to see her, she isn’t here.”

(((((

Alya, who was sitting beside Dinda’s bed, scrambled to her feet directly Aiman came into their sister’s hospital room.

“How is it, Brother? Did Kak Sandra’s father want to lend us the money?” Alya asked hopefully.

Aiman shook his head feebly. “Sandra wasn’t at home. The security guard, who works in her house, told me that she and her parents went abroad this morning to attend one of their relatives’ funeral. And he also said that he didn’t know when they’d be back.”

Alya slumped back in her chair. “If we didn’t borrow money from Kak Sandra’s father, how could we get money for Dinda’s surgery?”

“Don’t worry! I’ll try to contact Sandra again later. Maybe she’s still busy with her relative’s funeral at the moment, so she can’t pick up my calls.”

Alya huffed. “Yes, you may be right.”

“How is she?” Aiman ruffled Adinda’s hair affectionately.

“Dinda regained consciousness half an hour after you left. But she went right back to sleep because she said that she was tired out,” Alya told him.

Aiman nodded in understanding.

“You’d better go home now, Alya. I’m going to stay here with Dinda for the night,” he suggested.

“No, I want to stay with Dinda too,” Alya disagreed with her brother’s suggestion.

“You should go home and get some rest, Alya. I don’t want you to get sick too,” Aiman persuaded her.

“But—”

“No buts,” Aiman interrupted in a stern voice.

Alya threw up her hands in defeat. “Fine. I’ll go home now. Happy?”

“Here you go!” Aiman pulled his car key out of his pocket and handed it to Alya.

Getting to her feet, Alya said, “See you tomorrow morning, Brother. Inform me at once if there are any changes in Dinda’s condition, okay?”

“OK, I will,” Aiman promised, “See you, Alya.”

Alya gave her younger sister who was lying flat on the hospital bed one last glance before she finally walked out of Dinda’s room and went home by her brother’s car.

(((((

Aiman kept vigil at Adinda’s bedside the whole night. As dawn broke, he began to feel sleepy, and he ended up dozing off in the chair beside his sister’s bed.

“A Aiman?”

Aiman awoke to the sound of someone calling his name. A smile crossed Aiman’s face when he saw that his sister had woken up.

“Thank goodness. You’re finally awake, Dinda.”

Adinda pulled herself upright and asked, “Could you give me some water, please? I’m thirsty.”

“Of course.” Aiman took a glass of water that was placed on a table next to Dinda’s hospital bed and gave it to his little sister.

Adinda slowly sipped the water before she handed the glass back to her brother. “Thank you.”

“Never mind.” Aiman put the half empty glass away.

“Now, you must eat your breakfast, okay?” Aiman said.

Adinda nodded her head feebly.

Aiman took a bowl of porridge that was put on the table. He spooned the porridge and raised it to Dinda’s mouth. But she turned her head away.

“I’m not a baby, you know. I can eat by myself,” Dinda protested.

“You’re sick, Dinda. Look at that! Your right hand is hooked up to an IV drip now, so I have to feed you,” Aiman persuaded her.

“Fine.” Reluctantly, Dinda opened her mouth and allowed her brother to feed her.

Not long after that, the door flew open and Alya went in. “Good morning, A Aiman, Dinda,” she chirped.

“Morning, Alya.”

“Good morning, Teh Alya.”

Aiman and Adinda responded at the same time.

“I brought you breakfast, Brother. Here you are.” Alya held out a lunch box towards Aiman.

“Just put it on the table. I’ll eat it later. I’m feeding Dinda now,” Aiman said as he put another spoonful of porridge in Adinda’s mouth.

“Oh okay.” Alya did what her brother told her right away.

“Have you had breakfast yet?” Aiman asked her.

Alya replied, “Yes, I have.”

Aiman kept feeding their youngest sister, while Alya sat down on the sofa that was positioned against the wall.

“Good morning everyone,” Dr Firman greeted as he went into the room and shut the door behind him.

“Good morning, Doctor,” the three siblings responded in unison.

Doctor Firman walked over to Dinda’s bed and enquired, “Hello, Adinda. How are you feeling today?”

“I feel a lot better today, Doctor,” Dinda answered.

Dr Firman beamed. “I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better.”

Adinda returned the doctor’s smile.

“I have a good news for you,” Dr Firman said.

“What is it, Doctor?” Adinda queried enthusiastically.

“Wait a second!” Dr Firman pulled out an envelope from his lab coat and handed it to Aiman. “This is your test result. We’ve found a suitable donor for you, Adinda, so you can have your surgery soon.”

“Really, Doctor?” Dinda’s eyes showed a spark of hope.

Dr Firman’s head nodded in the affirmative.

“Who is Dinda’s suitable donor, Doctor?” Alya asked out of curiosity.

“Based on the test results, it is revealed that Mr. Aiman is the perfect match for Adinda. Meanwhile, Miss Alya is not a good match,” the doctor explained.

“When will my sister’s surgery take place, Doctor?” Aiman inquired.

“We will perform the transplant shortly after you have proceeded with payment for the surgery.”

At the doctor’s answer, Aiman fell silent. On the one hand, he was happy to know that there was now a possibility that Adinda would make a full recovery. But on the other hand, he felt sad because he didn’t have money for his sister’s surgery.

Aiman had been trying to contact his fiancée all night because he wanted to borrow money from Sandra’s father. But she seemed too busy to return his calls. Even she didn’t read all his messages. Now, Aiman was confused where he was going to get the money for Dinda’s transplant.

“Um, Doctor, can we speak privately?” Aiman asked.

“Certainly!” Dr Firman replied.

Aiman and Dr Firman finally walked out of Adinda’s room.

“So, what do you want to talk about, Mr. Aiman?” Dr Firman queried.

“Doctor, to be honest, I don’t have enough money for my sister’s transplant yet. But could you please still perform her operation? I promise I’ll pay for her surgery as soon as possible,” Aiman pleaded.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Aiman. I wish I could help you. But the hospital will not permit me to perform the operation before you pay off the expenses,” Dr Firman said ruefully.

“Please Doctor, help me! I’m trying to tap my future father-in-law for a loan. But the problem is, he’s abroad right now. But I swear I will pay for Dinda’s surgery as soon as he returns from abroad,” Aiman begged.

“I want to help you, Mr. Aiman, I really do. However, the hospital management is the one that acts as the decision-maker in this hospital, not me. So I suggest you to discuss this problem with the hospital management,” the doctor advised.

“All right, I will talk to them. But could you please help me convince them to help me, Doctor? You’re one of the most respected doctors in this hospital. I’m sure the hospital management will listen to you,” Aiman asked for the doctor’s help.

“I’ll do what I can, but don’t get your hopes up, okay? I don’t want you to be disappointed,” Dr Firman said.

“Okay. Thank you, Doctor.” Aiman shook the doctor’s hand.

“Don’t mention it,” Dr Firman replied, “I hope you can get the money as soon as possible, Mr Aiman. Because to be honest, without the transplant, I’m afraid Adinda probably won’t last out the week.”

Knowing Adinda was dying, Aiman’s whole world seemed like shattered into a million pieces. He felt he had failed his parents because he couldn’t take care of his sister well.

“I... I... I’ll try my best to get the money as soon as possible. Yes, I will,” Aiman convinced more to himself than to the doctor.

“Good luck, Aiman!” Dr Firman gave Aiman a pat on the back before he took leave of him.

(((((

No sooner had Dr Firman left than Alya came out of Dinda’s room.

“What have you talked about with Dr Firman, Brother?” she demanded.

Aiman took Alya’s arm, guided her to a bench in front of Adinda’s room, and told her to sit down before he seated himself beside his sister.

“I asked Dr Firman’s help to perform Dinda’s transplant even though we haven’t paid for her surgery yet. But Dr Firman suggested that I should speak to the hospital management because they’re the decision-maker in this hospital. He warned us that if Dinda didn’t have her transplant in a week, we had to prepare ourselves for the worst,” Aiman elaborated tearfully.

Alya burst out crying. “What are we going to do now, Brother? Where are we going to get the money for Dinda’s transplant?” she wondered aloud.

Aiman wiped the tears from her eyes. “Hush! Don’t cry! I don’t want Dinda to hear about this.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help it,” Alya sobbed. “I just don’t want to lose Dinda.”

“I understand what you feel. But we have to be strong for Dinda. There must be a way to get the money for her surgery.”

“But how can we get the money?” Alya cried.

Aiman thought for a moment before speaking, “Do you mind if I sell our car and house to pay for Dinda’s surgery?”

Alya shook her head. “No, I don’t mind. It doesn’t matter to me if we must live in poverty again as long as Dinda can make a full recovery.”

“You can say that again. As long as Dinda have her health, nothing else matters,” Aiman agreed with her.

(((((

Aiman and Alya then sold their family car soon. Thankfully, they managed to get a good price for the car. Yet it didn’t help much to cover the expenses of Dinda’s surgery. That’s why they also decided to pawn all Alya and Dinda’s jewellery. They’d put their house up for sale too. But they hadn’t found a buyer for their house yet. Even though they could find someone who wanted to make a purchase of their house, it wouldn’t be enough to pay for Adinda’s surgery. Because their house was only worth about Rp 1.2 billion. So if they added up all the money from the sale of their house, car, and jewellery, they would only get Rp 1.5 billion in total. It meant that they still needed Rp 8 more billion.

They also had talked to the hospital management. They asked if they could pay for the surgery in installments. But the hospital didn’t grant their request.

Now, Alya and Aiman were at a loss what to do next. They didn’t know where they were going to get the money for Adinda’s stem cells transplant.

“We can’t contact Sandra to borrow money from her father. The hospital isn’t very helpful either. There seems no hope that Dinda will make a full recovery now,” Aiman said bleakly.

“All is not lost. We still haven’t tried the banks for a loan,” Alya said.

Aiman’s eyebrows lifted. “The banks?”

“Yes.” She nodded at him. “You used to work in a bank, right Brother? I’m sure the bank will be happy to loan money to you.”

“If only you knew Alya I never worked in a bank but I robbed banks,” Aiman thought woefully.

Aiman faked a smile. “It’s a good idea! I’ll go to the bank to borrow the money tomorrow.”

(((((

The next day, Aiman approached the bank for a loan. Unsurprisingly, the bank refused to lend him the money.

Aiman stomped out of the bank with a heavy heart. Then, he sauntered towards the parking lot to get Alya’s motorcycle. Yes, because he had sold his car, he had to go to the bank by his sister’s motorcycle.

He took his helmet that he put on the pillion seat before wearing the helmet and locked it into position with a click. Afterwards, Aiman swung his leg over the motorcycle, straddling it easily.

Aiman was about to rev the engine of the motorcycle when all of a sudden, his cell phone rang. Without wasting time, he pulled the cell phone out of his pocket and took a look at it. Pandu’s name was flashed up on the screen. He was one of Aiman’s coworkers. Aiman touched the answer button before he clamped the cell phone to his ear.

“Hello,” Aiman greeted.

“Hey, dude, what’s up?” Pandu asked from the other end of the phone.

“I don’t feel very well,” Aiman replied honestly. “What’s going on, Pandu? Why do you call me?”

“Aiman, when are you going to start working again? Our boss kept asking me where you are. I’m afraid I can’t cover for you any longer,” Pandu enquired.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to go back to work in the near future. My sister is still critically ill in the hospital. Doctor said that she’d require surgery, but I don’t have enough money for her surgery yet. I’ve approached the bank for a loan. But the bank refused to lend me money. Now, I’m still busy trying to get money for my sister’s surgery,” Aiman explained.

“Why don’t you borrow money from our company?” Pandu suggested.

“I just started working at that company for one month. So the company definitely won’t lend me the money,” Aiman said.

“Ah you’re right. I’m sorry. My bad. Why not borrow money from a loan shark then?”

Aiman’s brow rose in surprise. “A loan shark?”

“Yes. I can recommend you a notorious loan shark if you want,” Pandu said.

“What am I going to do now? Should I borrow money from the loan shark to pay for Dinda’s stem cells transplant?” Aiman wondered.

(((((

“How is it, Brother?” Alya asked expectantly as soon as Aiman returned to the hospital.

Adinda was sound asleep on her hospital bed. Thus, Aiman and Alya could speak freely now.

Aiman shook his head dolefully. “The bank refused to lend us the money”

Alya started to weep. “If the bank won’t lend us the money, where are we going to get the money for Dinda’s surgery?”

“Actually, I know where we can get the money besides from the bank. One of my coworkers recommended that I should see a loan shark,” Aiman told his sister.

“Did you meet the loan shark, then?” Alya asked.

“Yes,” Aiman replied, “I’ve met that loan shark. He will give us the money on two conditions.”

“What are they?” Alya queried.

Aiman answered, “First, we have to offer our house as a guarantee when getting the loan.”

“I think I don’t have a problem if we have to offer our house as a guarantee. Anyway, we’re going to sell our house too, right?” Alya commented.

“Yeah, that’s right. But the second condition makes me doubtful about taking out a loan from that loan shark,” Aiman said.

Alya frowned. “What is that?”

“The second condition is we must pay our loan back within six months with unfairly high rates of interest,” Aiman replied.

“Is he crazy? How can we repay Rp 9 billion in only six months along with its unfairly high rates of interest?” Alya flared.

“You’re telling me,” Aiman agreed with her, “That loan shark is completely insane.”

“I think we shouldn’t borrow money from that loan shark, Brother. It’ll only work to our disadvantage,” Alya advised.

“You’re right, Alya. But the problem is where can we get the money for Dinda’s surgery now?”

“Why don’t we borrow some money from your friends?” Alya proposed.

When Alya mentioned the word friends, Aiman thought she’s referring to Shinta and Nina. So he said, “Shinta and Nina will never have that kind of money.”

Yes, that was true. Shinta was only a policewoman. Her job certainly didn’t pay high salary. It’s impossible for her to lend him nine and a half billions Rupiah. Meanwhile, for Nina. Aiman knew that her family was one of the richest people in their village. So maybe they could help them a bit. However, from what he heard Nina’s parents’ business was in deep trouble right now. That’s why Nina decided to work in Jakarta. Nina had been through the mill these last few months, thus, Aiman didn’t want to bother her with his problems at the moment.

“When I said your friends, I didn’t mean they’re Teh Shinta and Teh Nina, but I meant Kak Prama, Kak Reza, or Kak Putra. They run their own business, I’m sure they can loan us money,” Alya clarified.

“I don’t like to borrow from my friends, especially from friends like them,” Aiman hissed.

“Because they don’t get their money honestly,” Aiman added in his mind.

“I know you and Kak Prama, Kak Reza, and Kak putra aren’t talking to each other right now. But I think it’s time you settle your differences with your friends. Go and apologize to them, and ask a favour of them!” Alya tried to persuade him.

“No, I will never ask for any favours from them in any circumstances,” Aiman said with emphasis.

“I wish you could understand, Alya. Prama, Reza, and Putra are robbers. I just don’t want to use their illegal money to pay for Dinda’s surgery,” he thought.

“So you’d rather watch our sister dying than asking for your friends’ help?” asked Alya. There was a hint of accusation in her voice.

“It’s not what I meant, Alya. I—”

“If you truly care about Dinda,” Alya cut him off, “you should ask for your friends’ help. They are the only people who can help us now.”

Aiman breathed deeply before speaking, “Fine. I’ll do it.”

Aiman realized that it was the wrong thing to do. It would be very embarrassing too. But he’s willing to swallow his pride and ask for the robbers’ help. It’s purely and simply for Dinda’s sake.

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