In the Name of Friendship

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Chapter 7: Tragedy

“Nina, do you think Aiman’s parents and sisters have arrived in Jakarta now?” Shinta asked as soon as they arrived in front of Shinta’s house after watching a movie in the theater.

“I think they should have arrived there by now,” Nina replied.

“If Aiman has heard our message from Aunty Nuri, do you think he is going to return to Karawang, Nina? You know, I miss Aiman terribly. I want him to go back to Karawang as soon as possible,” said Shinta.

Before Nina could respond, she was interrupted by a scream that came from Shinta’s house. “Shinta! Nina!”

Nina and Shinta turned around and saw Vina, Shinta’s mother, running out of the house towards them.

“What’s going on, Mom? Why do you look so panic?” Shinta inquired her mother worriedly.

“Yes, Aunty Vina, what happened?” Nina added.

Instead of answering their questions, Vina asked them back, “Shinta, Nina, have you heard the news?”

Vina’s question made Shinta and Nina confused.

“News? What news?” Shinta asked curiously.

“They said that the bus that carried Aiman’s family was involved a collision with a truck on their way to Jakarta.”

Shinta’s eyes went wide, meanwhile, Nina’s mouth was agape.

“What?!” they yelled at the same time.

“Yes, Shinta, Nina. Nina’s mother who broke the news to me. She said that she saw it on the news,” Vina said.

“How are they right now, Mom?” Shinta queried worriedly.

“Nina’s mother told me that Aiman’s parents were killed instantly in the scene of the accident. Meanwhile, his sisters were rushed to the hospital because they were severely injured,” Vina elaborated.

Tears rolled down Nina and Shinta’s faces.

“What about Aiman, Mom? Has anybody told Aiman about what happened to his family?” Shinta asked sadly.

“Yes, Aiman’s neighbour had called Aiman to tell him the bad news,” Vina replied.

“Shinta, I think we should go to the hospital now to check on Alya and Dinda,” Nina suggested.

“Yes Nina, I agree with you,” Shinta said.

“Alright, we’re going to the hospital together. I’ll ask Mang Dadang to get the car ready for us first, okay?” Shinta’s mother said.

“Yes, Mom.” Shinta nodded her head.

“And Nina, you’d better leave your motorcycle here. You can go to the hospital by our car. You know, it’s dangerous for a girl to ride motorcycle alone at night,” Vina advised.

“Yes, Aunty,” Nina agreed.

After Mang Dadang, Shinta’s family’s driver got the car ready, Shinta, Nina, and Vina, Shinta’s mother, hurriedly went to the hospital where Aiman’s sisters were receiving medical treatment.

Shinta, Nina, and Vina found Alya sitting alone on a bench in front of the intensive care unit. She kept bowing her head, indicating the grief that overcame her.

Shinta and Nina approached Alya immediately. Meanwhile, Vina decided to watch them from afar because she wanted to give her daughter and her best friend time to console the little girl.

“Alya?” Shinta patted her on the shoulder.

Alya lifted her head, showing a small band aid on her forehead.

When her eyes met Shinta and Nina’s, she quickly stood up and engulfed them in a hug.

“Teh Shinta, Teh Nina, My mom and dad...” she sobbed.

“Yes, Dear, I know. You have to be patient, Alya. Teh Shinta and Teh Nina will always be by your side.”

“Shinta is right, we’ll always be there for you, Alya. You have to be strong for your sister, Dinda, and your brother, Aiman.”

After detaching their embrace, Nina asked worriedly, “Alya, where is Dinda? How is she right now?”

“Dinda is in the ICU. She’s still in a critical condition,” Alya answered tearfully.

Shinta and Nina approached the ICU door with Alya in tow. From the windowpane, they could see Adinda lying unconscious in the hospital bed. They were so sad when they saw her with tubes and needles sticking into her little body, bandage was wrapped around her head, and oxygen mask was placed over her mouth and nose.

“When Dinda comes to later, I don’t know how to tell her about our parents’ death. I’m sure she’s going to be so sad.”

Shinta held Alya’s hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry, Alya! Teh Shinta and Teh Nina will help you to explain everything to Dinda.”

“Yes, Alya,” Nina added, “We will help you to overcome this.”

“They’re right, Alya,” said Vina who finally approached them, “You’re not alone. You still have us. We’re your family too. We’re going to face it together.”

“Thank you, Aunt Vina,” said Alya. She then gave her a hug.

(((((

The next day, the majority of the villagers cooperated in the preparation of Aiman, Alya, and Adinda’s parents funeral whilst waiting for Aiman’s arrival from Jakarta.

Alya was sitting beside her parents’ bodies while reading the holy Qur’an. Tears kept streaming down her face. Her youngest sister, Adinda—who had just come to this morning—was here too. After she heard what happened to her parents, she insisted on attending their funeral even though she had to use a wheelchair because she was still recovering from the accident. The poor girl couldn’t stop crying over the lost of the two people whom she loved the most.

The people who attended here, including Shinta and Nina, felt so sad looking at the situation of those sisters. Shinta and Nina who were standing near the door kept staring at Alya and Dinda pitifully.

“I still can’t believe it, Nina. Aiman’s parents have to pass away so soon. Whereas we still could talk and laugh with them yesterday,” Shinta said tearfully.

“That’s destiny, Shinta,” Nina said, “We never know what destiny holds in store for us.”

“You’re right, Nina,” Shinta agreed, “Now, I don’t know what will happen to Aiman and his sisters after their parents passed away.”

Not long after that, Aiman finally arrived. He didn’t spare a glance at Shinta nor Nina as he stepped into the living room where his parents’ bodies were laid down. His eyes only focused on his mother and father’s bodies who were now covered with a cloth.

Aiman knelt in front of his parents’ bodies and wept. “Mom, Dad, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Shinta and Nina approached Aiman.

Shinta tapped Aiman on the back gently and said, “I’m so sorry, Aiman. You have to be patient, okay?”

“Shinta is right,” Nina added, “You have to be strong for your sisters.”

Aiman didn’t respond anything. All he could do was cry and cry.

Aiman who was overcome with grief did not utter a word during his parents’ funeral. Meanwhile, his youngest sister, Adinda kept crying while calling out her parents’ names. Aiman’s other sister, Alya put a consoling arm around Dinda’s shoulders whilst ruffling her sister’s tousled hair affectionately. She tried to look strong. But the tears brimmed in her eyes betrayed the sorrow she was trying to hide.

One by one, the mourners began to leave the cemetery. Shinta and Nina decided to go too. They both understood what Aiman was feeling, so they wanted to give him some time alone to allow him grieve the death of his parents for now. But tomorrow, they promised to come to him again to console him and his sisters and to give them support too.

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