In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 2: New Friends

It’s been a week since Andra and Vina, along with their only daughter, Shinta, moved to Karawang. However, Shinta couldn’t adapt herself to her new surroundings yet. She kept nagging her parents to go back to Jakarta, but her mom and dad wouldn’t hear of it.

Because her parents didn’t grant her wish, Shinta decided to run away from home. Carrying a small rucksack with the picture of a Barbie doll on her back, she slipped out of the house before her parents were awake.

Yes. Shinta was determined to go to Jakarta by herself. That’s why she woke up before dawn, then quickly took a bath, and finally got dressed in pink sweater and blue jeans. After that, she packed her backpack with some clothes and her favorite toys, before she left her home.

Shinta started walking along the village roads. The last road she took turned out to end before a vast of rice fields. So she had no choice but to follow the muddy track through the rice field. Her steps came to an abrupt halt when she saw an animal that looked like a snake coiling up in the mud.

“SNAKE!!!” Screaming out in terror, Shinta wheeled around and started running to the opposite direction. The little girl didn’t know that the animal which she had just seen wasn’t a snake but an eel. That long thin freshwater fish certainly looked like a snake. Because Shinta had never seen an eel before, she mistook the eel as a snake.

Unexpectedly, Shinta stumbled over a rock. She fell and grazed her knee.

“Mommy, help me! I am afraid!” Shinta cried.

“Hey, maneh keur naon di dieu sorangan wae? (Hey, what are you doing here alone?)” someone asked in Sundanese.

Shinta looked back over her shoulder and found a little boy with curly hair who dressed in blue T-shirt and black shorts standing behind her.

Shinta frowned in confusion. “What did you say? I don’t understand what you meant.”

“Oh so you’re not Karawang people?” the little boy asked her again.

“Yes,” answered Shinta in between her sob, “I’m from Jakarta. I’ve just moved house to Karawang last week, so I can’t speak Sundanese.”

“Oh I see!” His head nodded in understanding. “Come on let me help you up!” The boy finally helped Shinta to her feet.

“Thanks.” Shinta smiled.

The boy smiled back. “No problem.”

He then posed another question at Shinta curiously, “What are you doing here? Why are you crying?”

Shinta told him, “I don’t like moving here. That’s why I ran away from home because I want to go back to Jakarta. But on the way, I saw a snake. Then I ran and fell.”

The boy gasped in astonishment. “You want to go to Jakarta on foot?”

Shinta nodded. “Yes.”

“But it’s too far to walk. You have to take the bus or train if you want to go to Jakarta,” the boy explained.

“So Jakarta is far from here?” Shinta asked innocently.

The boy wanted to laugh at her, but he forbore from doing so. “Yes. My father told me that it’s a two-hour drive to Jakarta from Karawang.”

“It means that I can’t go to Jakarta by myself. What shall I do now?” Shinta started to cry again.

“Don’t cry!” the boy cooed, “You’d better go home now. Your parents must be getting frantic by now.”

“Okay, I will go home,” Shinta agreed with his suggestion.

“Where do you live? I will walk you home if you want,” the boy offered.

“I don’t remember the way to my house,” Shinta sobbed.

“So you get lost?” he queried.

“I think so,” Shinta replied.

“Why don’t you go to my house with me? Maybe my parents can help you,” Aiman suggested.

“Thank you. You’re so kind,” Shinta said gratefully.

“Never mind,” the boy responded with a smile.

“By the way, I am Aiman. What’s your name?” he asked, holding out his hand to Shinta.

Smiling, she shook his hand and answered, “My name is Shinta. Nice to meet you, Aiman.”

“Nice to meet you too, Shinta,” said Aiman. “Let’s go now, shall we?”

Shinta nodded her head. “Okay.”

Shinta finally followed Aiman to the direction of his house.

“Aiman... Aiman...” The eight-year-old boy immediately stopped walking and whirled around when he heard someone calling his name on their way to his home.

Shinta stopped and swivelled around too.

They both saw a little girl in red sundress and a pair of flip-flops running towards them. Her long hair was tied back neatly in a ponytail.

“Hi Nina,” Aiman greeted the girl.

“Aiman, who is she?” The girl, Nina pointed at Shinta.

“Nina, this is Shinta. She’ has just moved here. And Shinta, she’s Nina, my best friend,” Aiman introduced them to each other.

Nina held out her hand and gave Shinta a smile. “Hi Shinta, I’m Nina.”

Shinta shook Nina’s hand and returned her smile. “Hi, my name is Shinta.”

“Where are you two going?” Nina asked out of curiosity.

“Shinta gets lost and doesn’t remember the way to her home. So we’re going to my house now to ask for my parents’ help,” Aiman explained.

“Can I come with you too?” Nina inquired hopefully.

“Course you can,” answered Aiman, “Let’s go!”

The three of them lastly went to Aiman’s house.

Aiman lived with his family in a little house which was located nearby from the rice fields. Shinta thought her new house was small, but apparently Aiman’s house was much smaller than hers. Even the cream paint on some walls had begun to peel off.

Shinta lastly realized that she should be grateful to have such a big house. Although her new house was smaller compare with her previous one, but it was still very comfortable and in perfect condition.

Aiman introduced Shinta to his parents and siblings. Aiman’s mother, Nuri was a friendly housewife. Meanwhile, his father, Fachri was a hard-working farmer. Aiman had two sisters who were two years and four years younger than him. Their names were Alya and Adinda.

Aiman told his parents what happened to Shinta. Fortunately, his parents had heard about a family from Jakarta who had just moved to their village last week. Thus, they knew where Shinta’s house was.

At long last, Fachri, Aiman’s father walked Shinta home. Aiman and Nina came along with them.

Andra and Vina were grateful that their missing child could be found safe and well. They gave a lot of thanks to Aiman, his father, and not forgetting Nina for taking Shinta home.

From that day on, Shinta, Aiman, and Nina got along like a house on fire. Because Shinta was befriended by Aiman and Nina, Andra and Vina soon became friendly with those two kids’ parents too.

Much to Shinta’s parents’ relief, the presence of Aiman and Nina made Shinta forget about her wish to return to Jakarta. Therefore, Andra and his family could settle down and start life afresh in this new town.

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