Works in Translation

Abidah El Khalieqy, translated by Joan Suyenaga
Published as a part of Myth and History: Writing from Indonesia, Aug 01, 2015

First published in Geni Jora as Gendhis.

I am Gendhis, the hooker who spat in Pak Lurah’s face last night. Who says I’m afraid of Pak Lurah? I was never afraid of him, not before he went on the haj pilgrimage and not after he came back. I’m not afraid of position or rank because I don’t see any of that. I also don’t see Pak Lurah’s face.

Two months ago, Pak Lurah, the village head, said that after he came back from the haj pilgrimage he wouldn’t touch me again. Upon returning from the Holy Land, he in fact became a wolf hiding beneath his turban. Those hungry eyes of his would leer at me when he stopped in at Bu Minah’s food stall.

By exposing the pitiful situation of my family, which includes a younger brother who is paralyzed, another who is completely off the rails, and a mother who is a penniless widow, Pak Lurah gnawed away at the remainder of my self-respect by raping and robbing me, his face in a grimace that looked exactly like the WCW wrestlers when they knock out their opponents.

Read the full story here.