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Saturday, April 23, 2011



Anna bidded her time through the rest of Sari’s visit. It was a relief when the two women stood to leave. She watched silently as Ibu Maya opened her handbag , holding it out to show June she had not stolen anything. Mrs. Harmon nodded her head slightly, waved her hand in acknowledgement, and called Mina to see the visitors out.
Anna went to back to her room and flopped down on her bed. Sari’s last words left Anna feeling crushed.

“Oh Tukiono, oh how could you go and fall for Sari?”

Anna remembered that day about six months previously when Tukiono stopped her outside church. He talked to her for ages, till her parents called to go home. She couldn’t even remember what they talked about, but she did remember how she felt. He made her so happy and they laughed and laughed. It was just such fun.
A few days later when her mother sent her off to the Allen’s to deliver a message. Anna walked down Jalan Kecil and found Tukinono was milling about just a few yards from her house. He walked with her almost to the Allen’s and when she finished her delivery and started home again, he was there, waiting for her.

Suddenly, Tukiono seemed to be anywhere and everywhere, Anna went. She had never been happier.

One Saturday, just minutes after her parents had left for a business trip in the city, Tukinono came to visit.

Mina came tentatively to tell Anna there was a visitor.

“Nona Anna, I told him to come back later, as your mother and father are not here. But he insists that I tell you he has come.”

“Of course you are to let him in, Mina. He’s come to see me.”

Ignoring the shocked look on the servant girl’s face, Anna added, “And bring us tea and some of those little cakes that cook just baked.”

Sitting opposite Tukiono, handsome by any culture’s standards with his wavy dark hair and sharp black eyes, Anna enjoyed playing the hostess. The questioning looks on Mina’s and Sujatmi faces as they served the tea and cakes didn’t detract from her enjoyment, it brought her a delicious sense of pleasure. She loved playing the hostess to such an enviable guest.

She thanked the girls in a dismissive tone and turned to Tukiono with a bright smile.
“Selakan makan. (Please eat.)” she said, shyly.

Tukinono didn’t stay nearly long enough. But his visit lingered with her as she sat in the now lonely living room, as the girls cleared away the dishes. She dreamed of the future, a home with Tukiono, servants attending them, bringing tea while they laughed. Many of her Indonesian friends were married already. She could easily picture herself in society with them, going to church with them, and having them into her lovely little house. She and Tukiono would make the perfect couple.

The second visit began much the same as the first. It ended in disaster.
Tukiono arrived, by chance Anna assumed, while her parents were out together again. Anna thought the scene set once more for another lovely visit. Maybe this time the formalities required might just give way to more. Surely they would exchange more than a mere gentle handshake.

Then Anna’s parents returned early. Their business in the city hadn’t worked out; the people they went to meet were not in. The look on her parents’ face as it dawned on them that Tukiono was Anna’s visitor and that this was not the first visit of it’s kind seemed to be more than just ordinary shock.

Her father recovered his manner, greeted Tukiono and came and sat with them. Her mother took longer to join them, holding her in mouth that pinched expression Anna knew too well. June called for cold drinks for herself and Anna’s dad before sitting in chair opposite the visitor.

‘Why had they come back so early? They were spoiling everything.’

Anna narrowed her eyes, and tried to keep talking to Tukinon, but her friend now turned his attention to her father. Anna wished they had never come, the looks her mother was throwing towards both she and Tukiono! It was no wonder he left so quickly.

“You two were very unfriendly!"

Her father looked sad and opened his mouth as if to speak. But her mum stood up and said, “You don’t understand anything, Anna.”

Anna ran to her room and slammed the door.

‘Always so over-protective,’ she thought as she pulled a brush harshly through her hair. She would never be able to have a life.

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