“I’M HOOMEEEE...” Yudha came back home again—with a bit pale and exhausted feeling.
“WELCOME BACK!!—” Teh Ningsih welcoming him, “Huh??..” and she looked shocked when knowing that Yudha was already home early, “You’re home early!—And you look pale!”
Yudha simple nodded to her, “Yeah! Maybe because of the overworks and sleeping late. The staffs said I can leave the office early to take a rest.”
“You must! Especially you’ll go home!” replied concerned Teh Ningsih, “I’ll reheat the bandrek, good for curing your common flu!..”
“Ah, no thanks, Teh!.. You surely become bothered!.. I’ll take rest.” Yudha tried to refuse it.
Teh Ningsih rushed to the kitchen, “Just go to bed and I’ll bring the drinks to your room!!” she shouted.
And Yudha gave up, “Okay then, if you insist!..” he turned his body to the room.
But when he was going to his room to take a rest and waited for the drinks, he spotted one part of the house he didn’t check during his staying at Kang Didit’s house—it’s the alley connecting the living room to the garage.
Driven by the curiosity, he checked the alley, and he found something interesting at that place—along the alley, many figured and nailed achievement certificates—mostly are Lia’s and Kang Didit’s achievements.
At Kang Didit’s achievements side—he’s a karate athlete in his young ages, before he became one of Karyawijaya University’s role-model students. He was also a role-model student since he was at SD, SMP, and SMU, and then he was also the president of the university’s board of students with suma cum laude holder!
“You are shitting me!..” Yudha amazed when he saw the written charter he passed; A magistrate scholarship at University of Tokyo and the youngest of board of directors of a well-known multinational company!
This man, is really a born-to-lead person! Kang Didit and the villagers has wasted their golden opportunities to change their village if he does not become new Kades candidate and win it!
After enough to check Kang Didit’s achievements, he switched his looks to the other wall, checking Lia’s wall of fames.
Emilia Agustia Usman—That’s her real name!
Yudha finally knew why Lia took art teacher vocational college. Since she’s a student at SD until SMU, she’s the frequent winners of arts competitions such as singing, poetry, and painting at school level. And she focuses on karate since she entered her college and became third to first places winners at university and college level competitions.
I see! She’s took the art teacher not for balancing her bloodthirsty instinct as a karate athlete like my first hypothesis—might be the correct one is; she becomes a karate athlete to balance her tender art lover’s heart!—Maybe.
Pak Mathias is right! Kang Didit’s family is an achievement machine!
Suddenly something touched his right shoulder, “Hey!..”
“GAAAHH!!” Yudha gasped and looked at Teh Ningsih caught him off-guarded while he was stroking his chest, “Y-You scarred me!..”
“I’m sorry!—The drinks is ready!” answered giggling Teh Ningsih.
“Sorry for troubling you! I should took the drinks by myself.” Said Yudha.
“It’s okay! It’s okay!..”
And then, Yudha took a three sips of the warm bandrek, then gradually he could feel the warmness of the boiled gingers which was energizing sensation from palm sugars streaming from his throat into his tummy and ended warming his entire body.
“Wow!.. This thing is really something!..” Yudha amazed.
“You never drink bandrek before?..” asked Teh Ningsih.
Yudha shook his head, “This is my first experience of drinking bandrek!..”
“These beverages are our traditional ancestral recipes to cure common flu symptoms. It’s safer than eating fever pills! Also, you have extra protection from the ginger because the herbs has natural antibiotics. Sometimes flu virus brings another bacterial infection as far as I know!”
She explained well!—Yudha praised Teh Ningsih in his mind.
“By the way. Lia noticed you’re not well since leaving for work!..”
“Oh, really??..” He looked shocked when he heard that.
“Yes!—She wanted to ask your condition since she looked that your face was down and weak, but you left the house!”
I didn’t expecting that!
“Do you know, Yud?—When she met you, she’s getting softer to strangers now!” said Teh Ningsih, “Since she moved from Jakarta after she graduated from her SMU, Lia was little bit defensive when meeting other peoples who she knew little.”
“Oh!—No wonder!” Yudha sighing remembering how defensive she is when he tried to explained the accident.
“Just take a rest for a while! And after that, if God’s will, you’ll feel better and fit again!” said Teh Ningsih took the empty bandrek’s mug, “Get well soon!” and she left the room.
“Is there anything I can do??..” Yudha looked at the ingredients—bananas, tofus, sweet potatoes, and cassavas—piling up at the kitchen sinks, were prepared to be washed, “Looks like it’s lots to do for the meeting’s snacks by yourself!”
Teh Ningsih who was busy washing the ingredients startled when she heard Yudha’s voice, “No need! And you need rest for a while!” she refused.
“Absolutely I’m better now!—Thank you for the bandrek, Teh!“answered Yudha after taking a rest for two hours.
“No! No! No! It’s okay! It’s okay! Those are common things I can handle it by myself!”
Yudha was little bit disappointed, “So!—May I sit at the dining chair?..”
And he sat at the chair and was looking at Teh Ningsih busy doing her housewife’s duty—I hope Lia doesn’t see me sitting back and is watching her sister-in-law working alone, otherwise there might be another serious misunderstanding!
At the breakfast, Kang Didit told to the householders—also his university’s guests—at the late evening, that his house will be visited by the Lembur Ciheras’ elders, and Teh Ningsih said she’ll make gorengan for their guests’ snacks.
After watching her preparing the guest’s meals, Yudha got bored—he lay his head at the table, watching the rice fields outside the window with his empty gaze—and Teh Ningsih caught him spacing out.
“Yud! Do you look around Lembur Ciheras’ areas?..” she tried to break the ice.
Yudha raised his heavy head, “Nope! Not yet!..”
“You can take a look around the village with my husband’s bicycle!..”
Yudha thinks about her advice—Looking around the village with a bicycle? Sounds interesting! Better than doing nothing here!
“Can’t you ride a bicycle??..”
“No!—I mean!—Yes, I can ride a bicycle! Your advice sounds interesting!” answered clumsy Yudha.
“Kang Didit hid the bicycle behind the bamboo couch at the front terrace.” Said Teh Ningsih, “The northern hill and south beach is a good spots to visit —I heard many field practice students visited that spots before leaving Lembur Ciheras.”
“Ah, sure! Thanks for the info!..” Yudha got up from his lazy sit and prepared to start his small trip.
“Aaaand one more thing, Yud!” Teh Ningsih hold him.
“The bicycle is Kang Didit’s favorites. Please take care of it, okay?”
Yudha understandly nodded his head.
“Maa!.. Can I use my smart phone??..” asked limply Siska.
Bu Mulyadi—Her mother—who took care her bedrest at central province hospital scolded her, “You’re still sick! Don’t touch any gadgets first until you get better as the doctor said!”
“But now I’m feeling better!—I don’t like sleeping and doing nothing, Ma!..” whined Siska.
But Bu Mulyadi still stayed firm with the doctor’s order, she still answered her daughter with shaking her head. Siska didn’t want to lose. She tried to look better by trying to get up from her bed—but too bad, she still didn’t have enough power to move her own body.
“See??—” told her mother, “Now stay there and follow what doctor said!”
Siska fell sick when she got home after watching movie premiers with her gang. First thought it’s just a common flu caused by too much outside activities and rest in the late night. But in the following day, her fever got the worst with dengue fever symptoms.
“Okay, Ma! I give up!..” said Siska.
She was trying to kill her boredom by looking at herself—her clothes was changed with patient clothes, and her left hand was wrapped with gauze bands to make sure the IV tube was not detached from her hand.
“Since when I’m here?..” asked Siska.
“Two days.” told her mom while busy replying Get Well Soon, Siska! messages from the families, colleagues, and the unknown numbers who knew that Siska is falling sick.
Siska wondering—How’s Yudha doing in the field practices? Sure he is worried so much I didn’t tell about my fever yet!
“Ma! Can I use my smart phone!—Just for a minute to check my social media accounts!” whined Siska.
“If you want to update your fever’s status, you don’t need to—the news has spread out.” Answered her mom simply.
“I just—I just want to text someone!..”
“Who? Your boyfriend??” guessed her mom.
Siska was blushed when she heard what her mom said—the perfect combination of blush by shame and blush at the fever made her become a red tomato girl. Her mother showed her teasing smile when she caught her daughter’s real intention.
“Don’t worry! I message your boyfriend to visit you today!..” told her mother.
Siska was shocked when she heard what her mother said—How come she knew my relationship with Yudha?? Has he ended the field practice early?? Did Papa call him back to Bandung to visit me??
But, this suspicious! It’s too good to be true!
Then, someone knocked her room.
“Looks like it’s him!—” told her excited mother when she checked her watch.
The also excited Siska was looking at the opening door; imagining that Yudha was coming in with flowers and fruits!
“Excuse me! Is this Siska’s room?”
Siska was shocked when she heard that familiar voice—it’s not Yudha’s voice.
“Hey, Adri! Come! Come! Long time no see!!..” welcomed her mom.
“Adri?!!..” Siska called her ex’s name with shocked expressions.
Adri answered his shocked ex with soft smile, and her mother looked happy seeing both of them meet—She didn’t know that her daughter had already broken up with her most favourite daughter’s boyfriend couple months ago.
“Ah, yes!—” Adri showed two special parcels for Siska—the left side was a small flowers parcel and the right side was a transparent plastic jar wrapped with nice pink ribbons—Siska and her mom could see many chocolate biscuits inside the jar, “These are for you, Siska!..”
“T-Thank you!..” replied awry Siska while looking Adri putting the presents at the small cabinet stand aside her patient bed.
“Adri, how’s your work at Pak Michael Supaat?” asked Siska’s mom.
Pak Michael Supaat is a well-known national prominent lawyer. He’s Siska mom’s colleague. She’s recommended Adri to become Pak Michael apprentice. Adri knew that becoming closed with that big lawyer is a gold opportunities—and he took it and maximized it!
“Superb, Tante!—I have many experiences become his mentee!.. And Pak Michael said, maybe in the next month I’ll become the full-career lawyer.” Answered Adri.
“Waaah!—Tante is happy and proud to hear that, Adri!” said Siska’s mom, “So, when are you both going to more serious relationship??..”
“Eeeh??—What do you mean by more serious relationship??..” asked Adri awkwardly.
Siska’s mom smirked, “I never thought you are so dull-head about this thing, Adri!—Getting married!” told her frontally.
Siska and Adri were shocked when they heard that.
“M-Ma! It’s not the time to talk about that!..” sulked Siska trying to control her uneasiness.
Adri laughed, “Let Siska choose her own path, Tante.” Said Adri trying to answer wisely.
“Kids nowadays, they demand to choose their own path!—But in the last, they’re stuck and lost in their own path! If we, the parents, have a better plan—why don’t we arrange them, right??..” argued Siska’s mom.
Adri can’t argue more with her. He nodded to end the arguments.
“Okay, then!—I’ll go to cafeteria for a while!” said Siska’s mom when she was getting up from the sofa, “Take your time, guys! Siska looks sick for missing you!..”
When Siska’s mom left the room, Siska and Adri stopped pretending a still lovey-dovey couple.
“Damn!—Fate is funny! I don’t know your English course mentor is my girlfriend!..” said Adri.
Siska remembered that time, when she’s going with her new English course gang—and one of her new gang’s personnels was her course mentor ess-first time. Siska didn’t realize it until the gang made that mini-event watching together a movie premier, Adri come and greet himself as her mentor’s boyfriend.
When both of them knew their former relationships, her mentor just giggled and considered as God’s great divine comedy, but in Siska’s side—it’s surely God making a bad and lousy jokes for her!
“Don’t tell me you didn’t tell her our relationship!..” guessed Adri.
Siska nodded with guilty face, “I was too afraid to tell her!—She’s too much expecting you!..” answered her.
“So, she didn’t know you’re dating with another boy?..”
Siska shook her head.
“And she considers that you are still dating me while you date with your new boyfriend?..”
Adri shook his head when he heard Siska’s confessions, “I suggest you to tell the truth as soon as possible!..”
“But I don’t want to hurt Mama!..”
“Stop thinking you can please both of them!..” scolded Adri, “What do you think?—Better hurt one person’s heart or hurt two person’s hearts?.. If I become you, I’ll choose one! One headache is better than two headaches.”
“So, guys, how’s doing??..” asked Siska’s mom who came back from the cafeteria.
“Ah! She looks better now, Tante!—Surely she will leave the hospital very soon!..” answered Adri.
“Aaah! Motivated by our lover is better medicine than any drugs or medical therapies!..” said Bu Mulyadi.
“Well, okay then!—Looks like I must go, Tante!..” Adri asked to end the visit.
“Why so rush, Adri??..” asked Siska’s mom disappointed.
“I have to attend Pak Michael’s meetings!..”
“Come back later, Adri! Send my messages for Pak Michael!”
“Sure, Tante!..” he nodded, “Oh! There’s something I forgot!”
Adri made unexpected maneuvers to Siska—he kissed her forehead, like a real couple do when trying to boost their partner in love when fall in sickness!
W-What are you doing???—Siska overwhelmed by her ex’s maneuver.
“Get well soon, babe!..” said Adri.
“Awww!.. That young man and woman’s love!—I envied so much!..” whined Siska’s mom while she was looking at Adri getting out from Siska’s room.
But Siska could only stoned, speechless when her ex-boyfriend kissed her forehead without permission.