Buru Island

‘Ssst …!’

I turned. Sitting cross-legged on a low bamboo bench in the shack in the field was a man. He was wearing a straw hat and sandals. I knew that smile and face. ‘It’s Musayid’, I said to myself. What is expected of me this time? I thought. Since my mother’s death and the recent incident when I had rejected the call of the ‘courier’ sent to make contact with me, I had built my own circle of friends. It was an entirely new circle made up of the students from 17 August University, and people in East Tebet.

Without looking left or right, I went down from the bypass, answering his wave. We embraced each other.

‘Ah, finally! I can’t tell you how many times I have hung out here…’ he said.

‘How would I know? Why did you wait until now to signal me?’

‘Now, how could I possibly just rush straight up to you? You have to size things up, have to be sure. Wouldn’t want to make a mistake…’

I heard his old familiar laugh.

‘How did you know that I come this way?’

‘Operation Keep-Your-Mouth-Shut doesn’t mean you have to remain completely deaf and dumb to everyone’, he replied. ‘Take us, for instance …’

‘But who told you? May I know?’

‘No need to know. Right?’

I shut up. I knew that in this climate of K-M-S (keep your mouth shut) and what we called ‘frog larva network’, questions like this, apart from being unnecessary, were also stupid.