I remember at the very beginning of this term when Angie was about to resume her English course (in my workplace so that she could be free of charge ), we were discussing what days and time she would study. The only class she could join was only on Tuesday-Thursday from 19.00-21.00. I could not take her to the English course since I had a class finishing at 19.00 at another branch, located 11 kilometers away from the first branch. I asked her to go by public transportation but Angie didn’t feel secure. She told me one case of her schoolmate who got abused by a driver of public transportation. She refused to go by ‘becak’ (pedicab) too because she was worried about the same thing—to be abused by the ‘becak driver’.
Eventually the problem was solved because my youngest sister was available to take Angie to the English course. I could pick her up when going home.
FYI, I always feel uncomfortable to make other people—although they are my very own sisters—busy, dealing with taking care of Angie. I always want to do anything by myself; such as to take her to the English course and to pick her up, including to/from school. However, since I am a single parent so that I have to work to make our (Angie and me) ends meet, I am not always available to do that. And I always feel guilty for that.
Going back to the previous case. Thursday June 12, it rained heavily from 17.00 in Semarang. Angie sent me a message, “Mama, when will I have the written test?”
To reply her message, I called her, “You will have the test today, honey. You will go for that, won’t you?”
“But it is raining cats and dogs here.” She said.
“Yes, it is raining heavily too here. So, will you take the test today or will you take the makeup test next June 20?”
“Perhaps I will take the test today Ma.” She decided.
However, seeing that the rain didn’t slow down a bit, I started to think if it would be better for Angie to take the makeup test. I started to feel uncomfortable and guilty toward my youngest sister to bother her to take Angie to the course in such a bad weather. But I didn’t do anything, such as calling Angie again to suggest her to take the makeup test, or calling my youngest sister, asking her whether she really wouldn’t mind taking Angie to the English course. FYI, my youngest sister has poor eyesight, much poorer than mine because she has to wear glasses minus 10. It would be very risky for her to ride a motorcycle in the night under the heavy rain, plus the electricity is off.
That’s it. The uncomfortable and guilty feeling toward my youngest sister, my hurried trip from one branch to the main branch, feeling anxious whether Angie would attend the written test on the schedule, were mixed together. And what did I find after arriving? After feeling excited that I would find Angie soon (after a workmate told me that she saw Angie several minutes before), in fact Angie was away. And she herself didn’t know where she would be taken by her classmates.
I have been indoctrinating myself to be a feminist since 2003. I have been convincing myself that it is okay for me not always having full time to take care of my only daughter (read => not to be a “full-time mother” for her). But still, I have oftentimes been haunted by guilty feeling.
The result of the patriarchal indoctrination is in fact still strong in me.
LL 17.20 130608