Your Stories

This page will feature the selected short story, poem, or article of the month along with its English translation.

Bilingual writers, we would appreciate your help with the translation of Indonesian work into English. Please contact us at dalangpublishing@gmail.com

Please adhere to the following maximum word limits:

Short story – 3000 words.
Poem – 500 words / poem – please submit 5 poems on individual pages.
Article – 2000 words.

Please follow our Writer’s Guidelines for formatting and other submission directions.


Topeng Nalar

Dewi Ria Utari was born in Jepara on August 15, 1977. She began writing short stories in 2003. Her stories have been published in Djakarta, A+, Spice, Media Indonesia, Koran Tempo, and Kompas, and have appeared in anthologies such as Ripin: Kompas Selected Short Stories 2005–2006; Pena Kencana Literary Award 2008; and Cinta di atas Perahu Cadik: Kompas Selected Short Stories 2007. Her novel, Rumah Hujan, was published in 2016 by Gramedia. Dewi currently lives in Jakarta and is the Editor in Chief for Sarasvati, an art and lifestyle magazine. She can be reached at dewiriautari@gmail.com.

Copyright ©2017 by Dewi Ria Utari. Published with permission from the author. Translation copyright ©2017 by Femmy Syahrani.
 

Topeng Nalar

 

Sudah tiga hari Nalar demam. Biasanya demamnya cepat hilang begitu dikompres air atau keningnya ditempeli irisan bawang merah. Kemarin neneknya sudah membawa dia ke Mak Moyong—dukun anak. Kata si dukun kena sawan. Tapi demamnya tak juga turun ketika ia dipaksa neneknya minum jamu dari Mak Moyong.

Kalau sore ini aku dapat gaji mingguan, Nalar akan langsung kubawa ke Dokter Kiki. Puskesmas sudah tutup saat aku bubaran pabrik. Tidak tega aku jika menunggu sampai besok. Demam Nalar begitu tinggi. Lagi pula penyebabnya aku sendiri. Sebagai ibu dan penyebab sakitnya, aku harus bertanggung jawab. Apalagi sudah setahun ini hubunganku dan Nalar tak begitu hangat.

Penyebabnya, ketika setahun lalu, ia melihat aku nopeng dengan Ibu di kampung, Nalar memaksaku untuk mengajarinya nopeng. Aku menolak. Sudah cukup rasanya garis keturunan penari topeng berhenti di tubuhku. Lagi pula tanggapan nopeng sudah tidak sebanyak dulu saat aku remaja. Sejak tak banyak tawaran nari, aku memutuskan jadi buruh rokok. Pemasukan sehari-hari meski sedikit ternyata lebih mampu menyambung hidup kami berempat: aku, ibu, Danu dan Nalar.

Selain soal penghasilan, aku tidak tega jika membiarkan Nalar melalui sejumlah persyaratan yang harus kujalani dulu. Puasa mutih, yang hanya makan nasi putih, dan ngrowot, yang hanya makan umbi-umbian, Senin-Kamis, belum lagi dalam waktu-waktu tertentu harus tidur di lantai tanpa alas, hingga tapa kungkum, bersemedi dengan berendam. Aku menjalaninya karena tidak ada pilihan lain. Bukannya aku tidak suka menari. Namun, aku harus tau diri.  Rumah ini sudah kehilangan para lelakinya. Baik ayahku maupun suamiku. Mereka ditakdirkan meninggal mendahului para istrinya. Sungguh tak mungkin jika menjadikan ibuku di usia larutnya harus ikut mencari uang. Cukuplah aku.

Melihat keadaan ini, wajar rasanya jika aku tak menginginkan Nalar menjadi penari topeng. Seperti anak-anak lainnya, aku ingin ia sekolah sampai semampuku membiayainya. Setelah lulus, ia bisa kerja di pabrik, penjaga toko, atau penjual barang.

Harapanku pupus ketika tiga bulan lalu, Nalar diajak ibu mengunjungi makam Mbah Buyut di Desa Gabusan. Dua jam perjalanan naik bus. Sepulang dari sana, Nalar langsung ke kamar penyimpanan topeng dan mengobrak-abrik topeng-topeng yang sudah kusimpan rapi. Di depanku, ia langsung memasang sampur yang dibelitkan di pinggang dan memasang topeng di wajahnya dengan cara digigit. Saat kutanya, ibuku membantah telah mengajarinya menari. Nalar sendiri tak mengatakan apa pun. Ia hanya menari menandak-nandak dan baru terdiam saat kucopot paksa topeng di wajahnya.

Bukannya meredam keinginan Nalar, ibuku malah semakin bersemangat mengajari Nalar menari. Dengan sisa gamelan di rumah, Ibu mengiringi Nalar menari. Bocah itu paling suka gerakan lerep, gerakan mengelus dua jumbai di kiri dan kanan topeng, sambil mengentakkan kaki ke tanah. Jika hanya menari, sebenarnya aku tak terlalu kesal. Aku hanya tak suka ketika Ibu mulai mengajari berbagai tirakat yang pernah diajarkannya kepadaku saat seusia Nalar. Anak itu sudah terlalu kurus untuk ikut-ikutan puasa dan sejenisnya. Sebagai ibunya, aku malu jika Nalar dianggap kurang gizi. Ditaruh ke mana mukaku. Seolah aku tidak cukup memberinya makan.

Inilah kenapa aku tak suka berharap. Berkali-kali aku dikhianati harapan. Aku berharap Nalar bisa kerja di pabrik, penjaga toko, atau penjual barang. Setidaknya dengan tetap menjadi buruh nglinting rokok, aku bisa membiayainya sampai SMA. Memang ia baru tujuh tahun. Masih bisa ia berubah mengikuti harapanku. Tapi sekali lagi, aku benci berharap. Sangat membencinya ketika ayahku meninggal karena malaria, dan suamiku tak pernah pulang sejak pamit melaut tiga tahun silam.

Hanya tersisa satu lelaki di keluarga kami. Danu, kakak Nalar yang sekarang sudah kelas enam SD. Seharusnya aku seperti kebanyakan keluarga lainnya di kampungku, yang menaruh harapan ke anak lelakinya. Tapi bagiku, Danu tidak bisa diharapkan. Aku tidak bisa memercayai anak yang kulahirkan tanpa kutahu siapa ayahnya.

Mungkin karena aku tak menerima kehadirannya, Danu juga tak memedulikan kehadiranku. Ia lebih peduli pada Nalar. Baginya, Nalar lebih dari sekadar adik seibu. Nalar seolah dolanan yang tak pernah kubelikan sejak ia bisa merengek. Dolanan yang bisa membalas setiap sentuhan dan perhatiannya.

Sejak Nalar belajar menari, Danu tak lagi sering menghabiskan waktu dengan bocah-bocah lelaki yang kerap nongkrong di warung kopi Pak Gatot. Dulu, ia kupergoki terbatuk-batuk saat mengisap rokok pemberian anak-anak itu. Begitu aku lewat di depan warung, ia langsung klepas klepus berlebihan sambil duduk menekuk salah satu kakinya seperti gaya sopir truk yang suka mangkal di warung itu.

Belakangan ini, Danu lebih suka menunggui Nalar belajar joget. Ia menonton sambil menatah kayu randu untuk membuat topeng. Aku tak tahu dari siapa ia belajar. Pasti hanya coba-coba. Dari yang semula hasilnya topeng peyot Danu mulai bisa menatahnya seukuran wajah Nalar.

Sebenarnya aku senang, Danu jadi tak banyak nongkrong di warung. Tapi tetap saja aku memiliki banyak celah untuk memarahinya. Apalagi jika aku pulang dari pabrik dalam keadaan lelah teramat sangat. Teras rumah penuh serpihan kayu, menjadi benda yang cocok sekali untuk kuraup dan kulemparkan ke wajahnya. Sambil kelilipan, biasanya Danu hanya menyimpan marah dan mengambil sapu lidi. Nalar hanya bisa menangis.

Kemarahanku pada Danu semakin memuncak dengan sakitnya Nalar. Gara-garanya empat hari lalu ketika aku mendapat tanggapan nari di kampung sebelah. Juragan beras desa sebelah menang jadi lurah. Aku diminta nari tayub dengan Yu Wasis. Ibu sebenarnya sudah tidak setuju aku tayuban. Lebih baik nopeng saja. Katanya, nopeng lebih terhormat ketimbang nayub. Aku sudah persetan dengan alasan itu. Yang penting ada uang beli beras.

Ternyata Nalar mencariku. Rupanya ia dengar dari Danu bahwa aku dapat tanggapan nari dan ia merajuk ingin menonton. Kemudian Danu berhasil meyakinkan mbahnya jika ia bisa menjaga Nalar. Akhirnya mereka menyusulku.

Tiba-tiba aku melihat mereka diantara penonton. Namun perhatianku lebih tersita ke berapa banyak lelaki berwajah berahi yang bisa kukalungi sampur. Mereka jelas-jelas lebih royal menyisipkan uang kertas ke dalam kembenku. Semakin malam, aku tak cukup puas dengan puluhan tangan yang merogoh dadaku. Juragan beras yang punya gawe konon penggemar rahasiaku. Dia pasti bakal nyangoni aku duit berlembar-lembar jika bisa mengajaknya tidur. Sayangnya, niatku gagal ketika menjelang tengah malam, kulihat Nalar dan Danu berdiri termangu di deretan belakang penonton. Aku baru menyadari kehadiran mereka ketika hanya tinggal puluhan lelaki dewasa. Garis genit di bibirku mendadak wagu begitu melihat wajah pasi Nalar. Ia terlihat mimbik-mimbik tepat saat Kang Jono menyusup belahan dadaku. Aku langsung berlari turun dari panggung. Kuseret kedua anakku menjauh dari tempat itu. Biarlah malam itu menjadi rezeki Yu Wasis.

Sepanjang jalan pulang, kugelandang kedua anakku dengan perasaan kisruh. Di gendonganku, Nalar terus membenamkan wajahnya di cerukan dua buah dadaku. Sementara Danu tak mengeluarkan suara apa pun. Hanya bunyi srak-sruk kedua kaki telanjangnya yang bergegas mengikuti langkah kakiku.

Begitu sampai rumah, aku langsung masuk kamar dan membaringkan Nalar yang ternyata sudah tertidur. Setelah itu, aku keluar dan menarik tangan Danu yang sedari tadi berdiri mematung di ruang tengah. Tak kupedulikan teriakan ibuku yang sibuk bertanya, “Ono opo tho iki,” sambil membenahi rambutnya yang acak-acakan selepas tidur. Aku menuju kamar penyimpanan topeng. Setengah kudorong Danu ke dalamnya. Tak kupedulikan tangisnya. Tanpa mengeluarkan sepatah kata pun, aku mengunci pintu. Masih sempat kudengar isak Danu dari dalam.

Paginya, aku terbangun oleh igauan Nalar dan panas keningnya yang menyengat ketiakku. ”Mas Danu. Mas Danu,” igaunya sambil merem. Lirih suaranya memanggil kakaknya membuatku beranjak dari kasur. Niatku untuk terus mengurung Danu kubatalkan. Setidaknya, jika merasakan kehadiran Danu, Nalar agak tenang.

Tak kutemukan Danu di kamar hukuman. Kudapati selot pintu pengunci tak lagi terpasang. Ibu pasti melepaskannya tadi pagi. Tapi saat kutanya, ia menyanggah. ”Tadi pagi saat bangun, pintunya sudah seperti itu,” ujar Ibu sambil memarut kelapa. Sejak saat itu, tak lagi kudapati Danu pulang.

Suhu badan Nalar sering naik turun sejak kepergian Danu. Sudah beberapa kali kubawa ke puskesmas dan dokter yang harganya lebih mahal, mereka tidak menemukan penyebab pastinya. Bermacam obat, baik yang resmi maupun jejamuan, telah dicoba. Namun, hasilnya tetap sama saja. Nalar hanya terlihat anteng dan membaik keadaannya setiap kali menggenggam topeng yang dibuatkan Danu untuknya.

Sejak Nalar sakit-sakitan, keuanganku makin memprihatinkan. Apalagi pabrik tutup untuk sementara. Beberapa teman mengabarkan perusahaan rokok keluarga yang sudah berdiri sejak 50 tahun ini akan dijual. Tanggapan tayub pun mulai berkurang. Untunglah Pak Saidi, penabuh gamelan yang sering mengiringi aku nari, mengabarkan ada acara pengumpulan rakyat yang menginginkan tari topeng.

”Kok bukan tayub Pak?” tanyaku.

”Tayub memang lebih ramai. Tapi pemimpinnya ini katanya pengen pengisi acaranya sopan. Terus karena acaranya soal apa sih itu namanya, kepedulian pada seni bangsa sendiri, makanya mereka ngumpulin beberapa kelompok seni di daerah ini,” kata Pak Saidi.

”Tapi yang dipilih yang sopan. Itu namanya enggak adil,” sanggahku.

”Ndak ngerti lah aku. Manut aja. Terus mereka minta topengnya dicat ijo semua, biar katanya peduli lingkungan.”

”Piye tho, katanya tadi peduli kesenian. Terus sekarang peduli lingkungan.”

“Yah, namanya juga ngumpulin orang biar kepilih. Apa saja biar ketok apik tho,” tukas Pak Saidi.

Tak kupedulikan tangisan Nalar yang tidak mau topeng-topeng di rumah menjadi hijau. Hanya satu topeng yang tak kuganti warnanya. Topeng seukuran wajahnya yang dibuatkan Danu untuknya. Aku tak mau nantinya panasnya naik lagi di saat aku menari. Setidaknya setelah aku mendapat uang bayaran pentas, ia bisa kubawa ke dokter di kota.

Sore itu kuwanti-wanti ibu untuk menjaga Nalar di rumah. Sejak demam, aku memang tak pernah berani meninggalkannya cukup lama. Nalar masih ngambek saat aku pamitan. Ia menolak kucium pipinya. Bahkan, Nalar tak mau melihatku. Diselusupkan kepalanya di antara kaki mbahnya.

Setelah pimpinan partai yang mengadakan acara itu memberikan kata sambutan, kelompok musik angklung yang menjadi hiburan pertama. Aku mendapat giliran kedua. Meski bukan acara resmi, pesta rakyat yang diadakan sebuah partai itu dipadati warga desa yang haus akan hiburan. Apalagi sebelum acara dimulai dibagi sembako secara cuma-cuma.

Dengan takzim kupasang topeng di wajahku. Perlahan aku beranjak dari duduk bersilaku. Dari membelakangi penonton, aku memutar badanku setelah yakin topeng tak goyah. Saat itulah, ketika kuedarkan pandangan dari lubang di bagian mata topengku, aku melihat Nalar dan Danu berdiri di antara para penonton di bagian belakang. Mereka bergandengan tangan. Tarianku terhenti. Tubuhku beku. Di balik topengku, kulihat Nalar tersenyum. Sebelah tangannya menggenggam topeng kesayangannya. Perlahan ia memasang topeng itu di wajahnya. Sambil tetap bergandengan, kedua anakku berbalik. Melangkah menjauh entah ke mana. Itulah kali terakhir kulihat mereka berdua.

***

 

 

 

Nalar’s Mask

Femmy Syahrani has loved stories and language since childhood. She always took along a book wherever she went and, at an early age, took up learning the Sundanese alphabet and sign language. During college, Femmy was introduced to translation, which combined her interest in reading and learning a language. After she graduated, she worked for five years as an editor at an Islamic publishing house. She then began freelance translation. Over the past twenty years, Femmy has translated dozens of books and numerous non-literary projects, covering various topics. Femmy can be reached at femmy.syahrani@gmail.com.

 

 

Nalar’s Mask

 

Nalar has been running a fever for three days. Usually, a wet compress or some shallot slices on her forehead quickly dispels such fevers. Yesterday, her grandmother took her to see Mak Moyong, a healer of children, who said it was a bout of epilepsy. But Nalar’s fever persisted, even after her grandmother made her drink Mak Moyong’s tonic.

When I receive my weekly paycheck later this afternoon, I will take Nalar straight to Doctor Kiki. The public clinic will be closed by the time I finish my shift at the factory, but I can’t bear to wait until tomorrow. Nalar’s fever is very high. As her mother, I need to take responsibility. We haven’t been getting along during this past year and I might have contributed to her condition by upsetting her.

It all started when Nalar saw me perform the mask dance with my mother in the village and demanded that I teach her. I refused. The hereditary line of mask dancers should end with me and go no further. Besides, mask-dancing gigs are not as plentiful as they used to be when I was a teenager. When the interest and requests dwindled, I took a job at a cigarette factory. My regular paycheck, little as it is, proved to be a more reliable source of income than the compensation I received for dancing. It supports the four of us: my mother, Danu, Nalar, and me.

In addition to a mask dancer’s unpredictable income, I didn’t have the heart to let Nalar endure the series of rites I had gone through. Rituals such as performing three kinds of fasts: puasa mutih, when one only eats rice; ngrowot, when one only eats tubers; and a full fast on Mondays and Thursdays. At certain times, I had to sleep on the floor without any mattress, or perform the tapa kungkum, which is meditating while submerged in water.

I had gone through these rituals because I had no other choice. It wasn’t that I didn’t like dancing, but this household had lost its men. Both my father and my husband were gone; they had been fated to die before their wives. I couldn’t possibly let my mother, this late in her life, share the burden of earning a living. That burden should be mine alone.

Given these circumstances, I definitely didn’t want Nalar to become a mask dancer. I wanted her to stay in school, like all the other children, for as long as I could afford it. After she finished school, she would be able to get a job as a factory worker, a shopkeeper, or a sales clerk.

My hope vanished three months ago, when my mother took Nalar to the grave of Nalar’s great-grandmother in Gabusan Village, a two-hour bus ride away. When they came home, Nalar went straight to the room where I stored the masks and rummaged through the tidy collection. Then, right in front of me, she wrapped a long sash around her waist and put on the mask, holding it with her teeth.

My mother denied having taught Nalar to dance. Nalar herself did not say anything. She just pranced about and only stopped when I ripped the mask off her face.

Instead of discouraging the child, my mother was all the more eager to teach Nalar. With what was left of the set of gamelan musical instruments at home, my mother played music to accompany her granddaughter’s dancing.

The girl loved doing the lerep movement, stroking the tassels on either side of the mask while stamping her feet.

I wouldn’t have been too upset if my mother had only taught Nalar to dance, but then she began teaching the rituals she had taught me when I was Nalar’s age. The girl was too thin to practice the fasting rituals. As her mother, I’d be embarrassed if people thought that Nalar was malnourished. I’d lose face if she looked as if I wasn’t giving her enough to eat.

This is why I don’t like to hope—I’ve been betrayed too many times. I hoped Nalar would be able to work as a factory worker or a shopkeeper or a sales clerk. By holding onto my job of rolling cigarettes, I would at least be able to put her through high school. It’s true, she’s only seven now. She still could change and turn out the way I hoped, but once again, I hate hoping. I really hated it when my father died of malaria and my husband failed to come home after he headed out to sea three years ago.

Now, only one male remained in our family: Danu, Nalar’s brother, now in sixth grade. Many other families in my village put their hopes in their sons. I should have been like them, but I could not put my hopes on Danu. I could never trust a child I’d given birth to without knowing who the father was.

Perhaps because I did not accept Danu’s existence, he did not care about mine either. He lived with us, but he cared mostly about Nalar. She was more to him than just a half-sister—she was the toy I never bought him. A toy that responded to his touch and attention.

After Nalar began her dance lessons, Danu spent less time with the boys who hung out at Pak Gatot’s coffee shop. I used to catch Danu coughing from smoking the cigarettes they gave him. As soon as I passed by the shop, he made a show of puffing away, with one leg pulled up onto his seat, just like the truck drivers who loitered there.

Lately, Danu preferred to hang around Nalar during her dance lessons. He would watch while carving a mask out of kapok wood. I don’t know where he learned how to do that. He must have experimented on his own. His work improved from producing the ill-fitting masks he had carved in the beginning to the masks he now carved to the size of Nalar’s face.

I was glad that Danu no longer spent a lot of time hanging out at the coffee shop, but I still found many reasons to scold him— especially when I came home from the factory, exhausted. The wood shavings that littered the porch were perfect to scoop up and throw in his face. Blinking, he would hold back his anger and get a broom. Nalar could do nothing but cry.

My anger at Danu peaked when Nalar became ill. It started four days ago, when I was offered a dance gig in a neighboring village. The rice merchant there had been elected as the village head. I was requested to perform the tayub dance with Yu Wasis.

My mother didn’t approve of me dancing the sexually-suggestive tayub. She thought it was better to stick to mask dancing. She said it was more respectable than the tayub. I couldn’t care less about that; what mattered was to have money to buy rice.

Nalar apparently had heard from Danu that I had a dance gig and looked for me, sulking, because she wanted to watch.

Danu managed to convince my mother that he could look after his sister, and they went after me.

I didn’t see them at first, my whole attention was focused on how many lustful men I could entice by placing my scarf around their necks. The men were certainly generous with the money they tucked into my torso wrap.

As the night progressed, I grew unsatisfied with the dozens of hands that groped at my breasts. I heard that the rice merchant, who was hosting the event, was my secret admirer. He would surely tip me a large sum of money if I could get him to bed me. Unfortunately, I was unable to act on my plan.

Just before midnight, I saw Nalar and Danu standing, stunned, in the back row of the audience. The playful, seductive smile froze on my lips the moment I saw Nalar’s ashen face. As Kang Jono, slipped his hand into my cleavage, Nalar looked like she was about to cry. I immediately ran off the stage and dragged my two children away. Let tonight’s fortune fall to Yu Wasis.

The entire way home, I herded my two children in a state of turmoil. Nalar buried her face between my breasts as I carried her in my arms. Danu didn’t make a sound. There was only the shuffle of his bare feet as he hurried to match my stride.

As soon as we got home, I went straight to the bedroom and put Nalar, who was already asleep, in bed. Then I came back out and grabbed Danu, who had been standing motionless in the living room.

My mother kept shouting, “What on earth is going on?” but I didn’t answer. I dragged Danu into the mask storage room, ignoring his crying. While I locked him in the storage room, I could hear him sobbing.

The next morning, I woke up to Nalar’s hot forehead stinging my armpit. “Mas Danu. Mas Danu,” she murmured with her eyes closed. Her soft voice calling for her brother propelled me out of bed. I changed my mind about keeping Danu locked up in the room. Nalar would be comforted when she saw him.

I couldn’t find Danu—the door to the mask room was no longer locked. My mother must have unlatched it early in the morning. But when I asked her, she denied it.

“The door was like that when I woke up,” she said, as she grated a coconut.

After that time, I never saw Danu at home anymore.

Nalar’s temperature began to fluctuate after Danu left. I took her several times to the public clinic and to the more expensive doctors, but they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We tried all kinds of medicine — modern and traditional — but the results were all the same. Nalar seemed calm and her condition improved only when she held the mask Danu had made for her.

Since Nalar became sickly, my financial condition worsened. The cigarette factory was temporarily shut down. Friends told me that the family who built and owned the fifty-year-old cigarette company was going to sell it. There were fewer requests for tayub performances.

Fortunately, Pak Saidi, a gamelan musician who often played the accompaniment for my dances, told me about a rally that wanted to have a mask dance.

“How come they’re not asking for the tayub?” I asked.

“Tayub draws a bigger crowd,” Pak Saidi said, “but the leader wants respectable performers for the event. And because the event is about—what do you call it— concern for our national arts, they’re bringing together performers from the area.”

“But they’re only choosing the ones who perform respectable dances. That’s not fair,” I protested.

“Well, what do I know—I’m only doing what I’m told. And they ask that all masks be painted green, to show concern for the environment.”

“What’s with these people? One minute it’s about the arts, the next it’s the environment.”

“That’s how you rally people to vote for you. Candidates do anything that makes them look good,” said Pak Saidi.

I ignored tearful pleas from Nalar, who didn’t want the masks in the house to turn green. I spared only one—the mask that Danu had made for her. I didn’t want her temperature to go up again while I was dancing. At least, after I received my compensation for my performance, I would be able to take her to the doctor in the city.

On the afternoon of the dance, I asked my mother to watch over Nalar at home. Since she began having fevers, I didn’t dare be away from the girl for too long. Nalar sulked when I said good-bye and wouldn’t let me kiss her cheeks. Refusing to look at me, Nalar hid her face in her grandmother’s lap.

After the political party leader who was hosting the event delivered his opening speech, an angklung group was the first to perform. I was scheduled to come after the musicians playing the bamboo instruments finished their piece. Although it wasn’t an official government event, it was crowded with villagers who hungered for entertainment. The distribution of free packages of the nine basic  staples: rice, sugar, cooking oil, milk, egg, salt, fruits and vegetables, meat, and cooking fuel before the party started was surely an added motivation to attend.

I mindfully donned the mask and slowly rose from my cross-legged sitting position. Starting with my back to the audience, I turned around after I made sure that my mask was securely fastened. It was then, when I looked around through the eye slits of my mask, that I saw Nalar and Danu standing among the audience in the back. They were holding hands.

I stopped dancing. My body froze. From behind my mask, I saw Nalar smile. She held her favorite mask in her hand. Slowly, she put it on her face. Then, still holding hands, my two children turned around and walked away to God only knows where.

That was the last time I saw them.

***

 

 

Choose Site Version
English   Indonesian