There is a folded quilt in the middle of the floor in my guest room. It’s been there for over a week. Before I tossed it on the floor, it had been sitting in the middle of one of the twin guest beds. From what I understand, it had been there, folded neatly on the bed, since our house guests left, June 7th. Rusnati told Curtis there was some problem with the quilt. It was while I was away. During our daily phone chat (evening on one side, early morning on the other) Curtis mentioned it. He asked how the quilt should be cleaned. “Have Rusnati wash it,” I told him. Had she? There is a cracked lamp in our other guest room. On a carved jackfruit tree table, beside the window. The crack swirls completely around the globe from the base up to the middle of the lamp. I have no idea how long it’s been that way. Guests slept in that room for two weeks and no one said a word. Was it broken then? Before then? Rusnati cleans the room, goes in it every day, and doesn't notice? Or hasn't said?
Just to the left of the back door, there is a large bamboo plant. It is covered in white fuzz—bugs. No telling how long that plant has been resting there, silently screaming while tiny bugs gnawed on it, nested in it, smothered it.
This is how it is in Jakarta. It is how Javanese people get along: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Is it why, once out of the traffic, everything seems so peaceful-why everyone seems so smiley and friendly? So relaxed?
I can’t say whether or not it is different in other regions. I have heard, for example, that Javanese people aren’t particularly fond of people from Madura. They call them “loud, aggressive, rude.” I wonder if this translates to, “They speak up—say what they think, or see, or feel?
Here in Jakarta, in my house. No one looks—or sees. Or if they do, no one says anything. It’s like a game of Stare Down, the first one who blinks loses. In this case, the first one who says something loses. But loses what?