“What’s going on?” his wife, Nyoman Mariani, running from the kitchen, was apprehensive.
“The motorcycle was stolen!”
“Did you lock it?”
“Do you think I’m stupid? Of course I did lock it!” Wayan was ablaze in fury. His heart was pounding uncontrollably. “Now that you asked me the question, I cannot imagine myself marrying a woman who thinks I’m stupid!”
So the loss of the motorcycle that morning had caused another argument in the house, just like the night before when Mariani wanted extra grocery money, and similar to the previous days when Wayan went home empty handed and started arguing with Mariani. Prolonged bickering and quarrels had synonymously dwelled in the house since the the beginning of their marriage.
Their two teenage children, Putu Gayatri and Kadek Moyo, had been used to growing up with Mariani’s incessant clamour and Wayan’s constant shouts.
And the cause to their quarrels? Money. The family and the other traditional blue-collar Balinese families in their neighborhood were alike: they had not found the antidote to their poverty.
For Wayan the loss of the motorcycle was a tragedy; it meant losing a fortune. Sitting in the veranda, he sobbed in grief, “Oh, now all my hardwork had gone, seven million rupiah had gone. Oh, life!” In despair he tilted his head as if waiting for some miraculous dream to come and show him where the motorcycle was.
“Pak, look what I have found!” Mariani shouted from the dining room. She briskly thrust her hand and handed over a brief letter to her husband.
“Dear Mum and Dad,
You must be upset that the motorcycle has now gone.”
Wayan and Mariani exchanged glances. In a fraction of a second they ran into Kadek Moyo’s room. But the dark-haired narrow eyes Kadek Moyo wasn’t there.
Still holding the letter with his right hand, Wayan gazed at his wife in tremulous fear. Mariani returned the look of her husband in sorrow, with glistening tear dropping from her eyes.
The letter continued,
“But judging from what you have been arguing every day, I am in absolute certainty that you are more worried about losing the motorcycle than losing me.