Chapter 33: Remorse
The robbers, Prama, Reza, and Putra, were finally caught by police after a long chase and they were being interrogated in the police station now.The police had managed to retrieve the stolen money too. The money was now seized by the police to be used as evidence against the robbers.
Meanwhile, Shinta heard that Aiman’s body had been being brought back to his home town for burial because Alya and Adinda wanted their brother to be laid to rest beside their parents. Therefore, she decided to go there to attend his best friend’s funeral.
She departed for Karawang at the crack of dawn. As soon as she arrived in that town, she hurried to Aiman’s parents’ house. Yes, it was said that Aiman had bought his parents’ house back. While Aiman and his sister were living in Jakarta, they had someone clean that house for them.
Standing on the opposite side of the road, Shinta watched Aiman’s parents’ house. It was apparent that the house had been fully redecorated. Now, she could no longer see any paint that had begun to peel off in that house like a few years ago because all the walls had been given a fresh coat of paint.
Shinta couldn’t help noticing that there was a yellow flag flying in front of the house. Yellow flag was a symbol of mourning in Indonesian cultures. People would usually find a yellow flag flying in front of the house of the person who had just died. She was saddened by the fact that his best friend was gone now, and tragically, he was killed because of her.
Alya and Dinda were at the door to greet all the neighbours who came to their house to express their condolences as they arrived.
Alya was standing, meanwhile, Adinda was sitting on a wheelchair beside her sister. Their eyes were red and swollen from crying.
Shinta intended to cross over the road and approach Alya and Dinda, but cried off the moment she saw Aiman’s fiancée’s car drawing up in front of the house. Sandra hopped out of her car and walked up to Alya and Adinda.
“Alya, Dinda,” she greeted them.
Dinda looked up at his brother’s fiancée in surprise. “Kak Sandra?”
“Alya, Adinda, I’m so sorry to hear of your brother’s death,” Sandra said tearfully.
Yes, Sandra had heard the news of his fiancé’s death when she was in Australia, and she also had found out the reason why he was killed. But it didn’t make her despise him. Instead, she felt so sad because she had to lose the man whom she loved. Without wasting time, Sandra immediately flew back to Indonesia and hastened to Aimana’s home town because she wanted to see her fiancé for the last time and to offer her condolences to his family too.
“Where have you been, Kak Sandra?” Alya posed a question fiercely, “You know, A Aiman was looking for you because we wanted to borrow some money from you to pay for Dinda’s surgery, but you’re nowhere to be found. He also kept trying to call you but he couldn’t get through. Because of you who suddenly disappeared without trace, A Aiman was forced to rob a bank to get the money for Dinda’s surgery until he got killed.”
Sandra was feeling very guilty. At that time, she was still upset with Aiman, that’s why she didn’t tell him that she wanted to fly to Australia to attend her relative’s funeral. She deliberately switched her mobile phone off because she didn’t want to be disturbed by Aiman. When she finally turned her phone on, she saw hundreds of miss calls and messages from her fiancé. She had been meaning to return his call for days, but still hadn’t got around to it until she heard of his tragic death.
“I am so sorry, Alya, Dinda. I wasn’t there at the crucial moment. But I promise you that I will never leave you ever again. From now on, both of you can stay with me. You two are my fiancé’s sisters, so I have regarded you as my own sisters too. I am the one who will take care of you to replace your brother’s position.”
“Really, Kak Sandra?” Adinda asked. Her eyes showed a spark of hope.
Sandra smiled. “Yes, Dinda, you—”
“No, Sandra,” someone suddenly shouted, interrupting Sandra, “They can’t stay with you.”
Sandra turned around. She was gobsmacked when her father, Hendra Kusumadiningrat, suddenly appeared here out of nowhere.
Sandra’s father’s yell brought Alya, Rara, and some mourners running out of the house to see what happened.
“Da—Dad, what are you doing here?” Sandra enquired of her father in stutter.
Her father was supposed to be still in Australia now. Sandra didn’t tell her parents when she decided to return to Indonesia alone, moreover if she wanted to visit Aiman’s hometown. So how could her father know that she’s here?
“Daddy came here to pick you up, Sandra,” answered her father, “I’ve known everything. It turns out that your fiancé who claimed to be a banker was no more than just a criminal. He had deceived us.”
“Aiman wasn’t a criminal, Dad. He was a very good man,” Sandra stood up for her fiancé.
“For crying out loud! He’s a criminal, Sandra. Why did you call him a very good guy?” Hendra yelled at her.
“I told you Aiman wasn’t a criminal, Dad. He committed a crime because he needed much money to pay for his sister’s surgery. He had tried to seek help from me before, but I wasn’t there for him. Therefore, Aiman was forced to rob a bank to save his sister’s life,” Sandra explained.
She paused a moment before she went on tearfully, “It’s my fault that Aiman is dead. If I didn’t deliberately ignore his calls, he wouldn’t decide to rob and he wouldn’t get killed.”
“Stop blaming yourself, Sandra! His death is not your fault. That criminal got his just deserts,” Hendra chided.
Nina felt insulted by Sandra’s father’s harsh words. She then warned him, “With all due respect, Sir, please don’t speak ill of the dead!”
“Shut your mouth! It is none of your business,” Hendra snapped at her.
Nina was tempted to snap back angrily at him, but Rara shook her head, silently telling her not to do that. So Nina could only clench her fists to check her anger.
“Let’s go home now, Sandra!” Hendra took his daughter’s arm.
Sandra shook her father off. “No, Dad, I will only go home after Aiman’s funeral.”
“No, Sandra. You don’t need to attend that criminal’s funeral. You must go home with Daddy now!” Hendra insisted.
“Fine. I’ll go home with you now, Dad. But please let Alya and Dinda come home with us too, Dad! They are orphans, and now their brother has just passed away too. They don’t have any family who can take them in, so I’m thinking that they can stay with me from now on,” said Sandra hopefully.
“I’ve already told that they can’t stay with you, Sandra. I don’t want you to get in touch with that criminal’s family ever again,” Hendra emphasized.
“I beg you to have pity on them, Dad. Let them stay with me! They don’t have anyone to live with. Besides, Aiman was my fiancé. So it is my responsibility to look after his sisters after he passed away,” Sandra tried to persuade her father.
“It’s no business of yours with whom they’re going to live, Sandra. They are not your responsibility,” Hendra scoffed.
“That’s enough!” Hendra cut her off, “Let’s go home now!” Hendra grasped his daughter by the wrist and started to pull her along with him.
“No, Kak Sandra, don’t go!” Dinda struggled out of her wheelchair and attempted to run after her brother’s fiancée, but she fell to the ground because she still felt so weak.
“Dinda!” Alya, Nina, and Rara shrieked her name as she fell.
Their scream made Hendra and Sandra’s steps come to a halt. They both whirled around to find out what happened to Dinda.
Sandra was surprised to see Adinda falling from her wheelchair.
Nina and Alya hurried to help Dinda get back to her wheelchair.
“Kak Sandra, please don’t go! Don’t leave us!” Adinda pleaded. Tears spilled out of her eyes.
Before Sandra could give a reply, Hendra barked a question at Dinda, “Who are you to tell my daughter not to go?”
Hendra’s remark succeeded in silencing Dinda.
“Look! I want the both of you to stay away from my daughter. Your brother had besmirched my family’s reputation. I don’t want you to put my daughter to a lot of trouble too,” Hendra talked to Alya and Adinda sternly.
His rude words wrenched a sob from Dinda.
Seeing her sister cry, Alya hugged her sideways protectively.
Without another word, Hendra marched his daughter towards his car. He then bundled her into the passenger seat before he wedged himself into the driver’s seat. Meanwhile, he had his driver drive Sandra’s car.
As her father’s car began to pull away, Sandra looked out of the window at Alya and Adinda.
“I’m so sorry, Alya, Dinda, I can’t attend your brother’s funeral, and I can’t stay with you like what I’ve promised either,” Sandra thought sadly.
Shinta waited until Sandra’s car disappeared from sight before she crossed over the road and approached Alya, Adinda, Nina, and Rara.
“Teh Alya, if we can’t stay with Kak Sandra, with whom are we going to live now?” Adinda queried woefully.
Alya stroke her sister’s long straight hair affectionately. “We still have each other, Dinda. We’ll be all right just by the two of us.”
“You don’t have to worry, Alya, Dinda! Start now on, you can live with me. Before Aiman died, he requested me to look after you. I promise I will always take care of you and protect you,” Nina vowed.
“You know, Alya, Dinda, I’ll always be there for you too,” added Rara.
“Thank you, Teh Nina, Kak Rara,” Alya and Adinda said in unison.
“Dinda, Alya, Nina, Rara,” Shinta greeted them.
“Murderer!!!” Dinda suddenly dissolved into hysterics when she saw Shinta.
Yes, Alya and Adinda had known that Shinta was the one who killed their brother. Nina remembered Alya and Dinda broke down and wept when she told them the news of their brother’s death. After Alya calmed down a little, she demanded, “We want to get at the truth, who killed our brother? And why?”
At first, Nina didn’t want to tell them that Shinta was their brother’s killer because she didn’t want to drive a wedge between Sandra and Aiman’s sisters. But Alya constantly badgered her to let her know who responsible for their brother’s death was. Adinda kept staring pleadingly at her too. Thus, Nina had no choice but to tell them the truth. And since that time, Alya and Adinda borne a grudge against Shinta.
“Rara, please take Dinda inside!” Nina requested.
Rara nodded her head before she wheeled Dinda into the house.
“What the bloody hell are you doing in my house, Murderer?” Alya questioned Shinta vehemently.
“I am here to see Aiman for the last time, Alya,” Shinta answered.
“No, I won’t let my brother’s killer to see him,” Alya flared.
“I’m so sorry, Alya. I know I am wrong. But I swear I didn’t mean to kill your brother. It was purely an accident. Please forgive me, Alya, and let me see your brother for the last time!” Shinta pleaded.
“No, I’ll never forgive you for what you did! You’ve no right to see my brother. Clear off now!” Alya shouted furiously at Shinta.
“Please Alya! Let me see Aiman for the last time, I beseech you! I promise I will immediately leave after that. Please! just want to say goodbye to my best friend,” Shinta begged.
“Your best friend you said? How could you call yourself his best friend after what you have done to him?” Alya barked questions at Shinta angrily.
Shinta remained silent because she realized that Alya was right. She didn’t know whether or not she still could consider herself Aiman’s best friend after what she had done to him.
“You know what?” Alya went on, “By killing our brother, you have put Dinda’s life at risk too.”
“What do you mean?” Shinta asked, didn’t understand.
“You’ve known Dinda requires to have a stem cells transplant, right?” Alya inquired.
Shinta nodded her head. “Yes.”
“It usually takes a few years to find a matched donor for the transplant, even one third of patients die before a suitable donor is found. Dinda was lucky because she could find a suitable donor so fast. Guess who her matched donor is! Our brother. But because A Aiman is dead now, Dinda doesn’t have a donor anymore,” Alya explained wistfully.
“The stem cells transplant is Dinda’s only hope of survival. But you have dashed her only hope to survive. There is now no possibility that my sister will make a full recovery and it’s all your fault,” Alya screamed with indignation.
“We haven’t exhausted all the possibilities yet, Alya. I will help you to find another donor for Dinda. I’m sure she’s going to be fine,” Shinta stated.
“It’s too late now. Doctors said that if we couldn’t find a matched donor for Adinda, she probably wouldn’t last out the week. So I’m not sure if Dinda can hold on until another donor is found,” Alya said bleakly.
“Doctors are only human. They can’t play God in Dinda’s life. Don’t give up on your sister, Alya! I’m sure there is still a glimmer of hope to save her,” Shinta convinced her.
“Let’s face it! Nothing but a miracle can save my sister now. And you certainly can’t bring a miracle for Dinda. So I want you to piss off and leave me and Dinda alone now!” Alya hissed.
“No Alya, I won’t go until you let me see Aiman for the last time,” Shinta said persistently.
“I will never allow you to see my brother. So shove off now!” Alya bellowed.
Before Shinta could give a response, Nina chimed in, “Alya is right, Shinta. It’s best if you go now.”
“No, Nina, I will only go after I see Aiman for the last time,” Shinta said insistently.
“Don’t be stubborn, Shinta! Scram now! We don’t want you here. Why can’t you understand that?” Nina hollered.
Shinta stared at her best friend in disbelief. “Why are you doing this to me, Nina?” she asked tearfully, “Didn’t you say that you’d forgiven me?”
“Yes, I have forgiven you, Shinta,” replied Nina, “But to tell you the truth, I will never be able to forget about what happened. After all that you have done to Aiman, I don’t know whether we still can be friends again or not.”
Nina’s words wrenched at Shinta’s heart. She felt so sad when Nina said that she couldn’t be her friend anymore.
“What are you waiting for? Get lost now!” Alya roared.
To be honest, Shinta didn’t want to leave this house before she was allowed to see Aiman for the last time, but she didn’t want to cause a commotion here, so she finally agreed to go away with a certain reluctance.
However, Shinta didn’t really leave. She waited in her car that was parked nearby from Aiman’s parents’ residence. After several hours went by, finally, Shinta saw some people carrying Aiman’s casket out of the house. Shinta swung herself out of the car and secretly followed a procession of mourners that slowly made their way to the local cemetery.