The Past

The Three Lions

It is that time of the year again where football rejoice the topic of everyone's little chats and conversations. I can hardly resist to sit tight, not participating as I made my way to the pub last Friday to watch England's first match in the group qualification. As few of my friends and I searched for empty seats, I was observing the crowds. Mostly male, with a pint of beer in their hands eagerly set their eyes to the screens waiting for the kick off in an hour. We found a chairless empty table behind small pillar in the centre of the room which then we gathered few left-over chairs from few different tables and managed to set our own nest in front of the largest screen at the pub. I was not a big fan of football, but I like to be part of the euphoria. An hour gap before the match start given me the chance to observe the crowd more. Most of them came in a large group, and their faces almost flushed-red as probably they were having their third pint of beer and on their way to the drunk-land even far before they need to drink their sorrow. It set a slight treacherous atmosphere as this might go out of hand but it then soon washed away as a close-up shot of England team with their hands on their chest started to sing God Save the Queen. Immediately, the distant chatters at the pub were gone and the entire crowd sang altogether. Their sense of nationalism and pride echoed through their heavy voice yet it sounded serene in the strangest way as I had chills down my spine.

Half way through the match, the heat was getting intense. Not just literally speaking where I could feel the hot summer's night sweats crawling at the back of my neck, but the room was too. Everyone was shouting at the screen, showing their support as if it could transmitted through some sort of invisible teleport to the field in Brazil. England was getting weaker, but hope never left their eyes. The later it got, I could hear the positivity slowly turned into frustration and swears. "Get the fucking ball!" shouted the white middle aged man standing next to me when Sterling missed the ball. Our heights were in the same level as I sat on a high chair for tall tables. I looked over towards him, and our eyes met. He seemed to notice that I was sensing his temper and slowly leaned over me, "Which team are you supporting?" sounded very harmless. He probably he could not tell upon my foreign face and trying to make a small talk, dismissing the impression I had of him. "England, of course." I answered. He seemed relieved knowing we stood on the same side as if Italy and England were water and oil. He carried on commenting the team's strategy that I had no clue of but I politely listened and smiled; partially amused with his opposites behaviors when he was having a conversation with me and when he was focusing on the match. They may seem aggressive but kind at heart. "These blokes better win!"

It got even more intense when Sturridge scored his first goal, everyone was on their feet as if like a thunder of joy just strike them at the same time, all at once. I could feel their happiness which instantly made me feel happy, too. I almost fell off my chair. It was so simple yet the magnitude of cheer amplified the joy throughout the room. To be very honest, the love I had towards England team was never objective: it always been because of I love the country, I am in it and amongst their kind. Other than that, their performance was weak in many aspects. Again, this does not lessen the faith I had in them. Less than a minute after, few of guys in their early twenties with polo shirt buttoned to the top, who were sitting on the front row, starting to throw chairs and empty plastic glass at the screen. This startled me and was obviously unpleasant, but I supposed that was how they showed their enthusiasm. For a whole second, I mapped a get away plan from the back door which was nearby where I sat although the only problem was I had to get through a bunch of tall men around me to get there if things get rough. But luckily, the plan stayed hypothetical as the crowd was still under control until the end of the game  England lost 2-1 to Italy through a smooth goal by Balotelli.

Many sad faces were seen as they made their way out of the pub with their faces facing down. However, the disgusts I had upon them turned into an admiration where I could see the flaming English passion before my eyes. That night everything was almost felt like it was designed for everybody to root for one nation. The nation where I am now. For as long as I have lived in England, on the daily nine-to-five days, most of the times people came across quite bitter towards their own country, but I swore that night everyone did not give any shit on the cheeky political interest, affairs and stood as one. I often forgot that I am in England because I am standing far too close under their nose. But until that moment when everybody sang their national anthem altogether, I finally reminded that I am in England, and I was once again fell in love with it.


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A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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On How to Be a Writer

A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article on Medium about “How to Be a Writer”. This article was inspired when a mother asked Ms Becker, the writer, what she should be doing to support her daughter to be a writer.

The first thing Becker says is to read and write a lot, but she thought those two suggestions are not enough, which then lead the article to get even more interesting. This sets me into a retrospective mood looking back and match few points that are mentioned on her list. Here are a few of her suggestions:



She says, let her be bored.

I used to have a long afternoon waiting for my mum to finish work when I was in elementary school. We lived in a very nice and quiet suburban area, an hour drive through the highway from the Central. Commuting back and forth to drop me off home and back to my mother's office seemed inefficient. Thus, I would wait for her at her office, which was in the Southern part of Jakarta where big houses are used as a working space for local businesses.

Inside the office, sometimes I would run around without my shoes on because the marble-tiled floor was very slippery and it was perfect for me to pretend I was an ice-skating goddess/princess on ice. Nobody mind, though, I was welcomed. But most of the times, I would sit quietly in front of one of the empty computers that used to seem magical and exciting even though the size of it was almost as big as boom box radio. Then, I'd write.

I wrote how the day at school went, how excited I was when there was a new girl at school named Mila whom I immediately befriended. It was probably one page long with massive font size, then I would print them off, again, still fascinated with the growing technology of warm black ink writing itself on a white blank page. On our way home, I would show it to mum with all the proudness shone through my toothpaste-commercial smile.

So, there I was indeed bored. With the empty hours I had, I started to develop the habit to write.

Secondly, she says let her make mistakes.

To begin with, mistakes are complex and so does this next part that I am about to write. It is not necessarily black, or white. But bear with me. 

I had the first unrequited love when I was fifteen. When the other girls were claiming love with boys our age, I fell in love with an older guy. He was twenty and I was just about to turn sixteen. Back then, I was trying so hard to be an adult, just to stand out in his eyes that I was mature and capable. Come to think of it, I may have missed the teenage rebellion phase because I was trying to be his age, when I was not. It was either that, or I basically have an old soul.

As much as I tried to be an adult, I was not. I let him slipped away, without saying anything and never for once stopped liking, or loving, him for a moment until I found a new love in high school. Because of this, I wrote my first English short novel based upon him  it was shit, but in there, I got to make things right. I had my happy ending.

There it is, I find salvation in writing. I did it. I made mistake by falling in love with the wrong person – if by wrong means not being loved in return. Looking back, what he did was right. If I were him, I would not approach me; I was far too young, far too naïve, to know what love is. I think, we simply just met in the wrong time.

Probably if he did love me back, or this did not happen, I would not have the force to write more. And probably, I would not love writing as much as I do now that I don’t want to give it up for the world.


So, if there is anything that you won’t trade for the world, I suggest you keep it.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Everyday by Gustav Johansson

"How would you feel about having an eight-day a week?"





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"If we could think of a name that includes day, I think that'd be appropriate."

"Maybe, everyday?"
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Stranger

The moment is simple. You looked down on your phone to check the timein the middle of your short journey on a bus  It is getting hotter as you feel the ray of sunshine on your skin, your coat rests next to you. It is ten minutes past two at noon. You have twenty minutes before your appointment, or your Philosophy class, perhaps. Then you looked up, maybe out of reflex or serendipity, outside the window as the bus is stopping at its stop, waiting for more passengers to get in, you caught in the eyes of a stranger that happen to walk by on the sidewalk. He is slightly shorter than the average, fairly pale skin and dark haired. He does not seem to care with this world as he walked by with his chin up. You never believed in love at the first sight, but for that whole second, you do.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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The Beginning and The End

I assume, you would say it was a meeting of two friends. I was not sure, I never asked. We were, or are, probably friends, to say the least. We were never settled anything, not then, now or ever. But you were not quite a friend to me, you were something more. I had not seen you for over five years and we barely exchange words for the last two years, but when I received your message on Facebook whether or not I was in town the other day, of course I agreed to meet you; as if your disappearance two years ago never happened.

To see you in flesh brought your fading existence firmly back on the ground. I thought you were gone. I am so close to convinced myself to forget we were never happened. Again, I did not know why I said yes to meet you at this freshly refurbished coffee shop in South Jakarta. This place seemed to be the best place to meet; a safe place where we are not bound to stay too long but just about to have enough hour to talk.

We started off with light conversation. A series of what you have been up to. You said you are working on a project back home. The other home which has been yours for over ten years. You inherit the same cultural background and race as I do, but the definition of home stretched far apart across the map. I can also hear through your accent, you pick up the accent that sound apparent in few words. I like accent, it tells a different story in a language.


One thing lead to one another, we ended up sitting in an American fast food restaurant, nibbling chicken chunk out of orange-pink plastic plate and a bowl soup for comfort, lasting longer than I thought. But we had gone quiet for the last three minutes. I hid behind every spoonful of carrots and corns, "I've figured it out now." Your eyes brighten up as you put down a bottle of Coca Cola on the table. My silence gave away the question and a shock, waiting for you to proceed. "I know how human mind's work. They remember best what happens in the beginning and the end."

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You continued, "You know, even though nothing really happens, they will remember the day as it is. That matters, and that too." you glanced to your left, pointing at a family of four on the table across us having their crispy chicken dinner then at the waitress with purple-orange hat that was sweeping the floor after cleaning the table next to us. Before your eyes went back to mine, and said, "As if suddenly, everything matters."

The warm soup traveled funny down my throat causing me a mild cough. Tonight is your last night before a morning flight calls you to work. This is the end of your short trip back to the South East, this is the end that you were talking about. I have been trying to keep my thoughts not to misbehave the whole night, but bits and pieces of memories I have got of you, flashing in ruptured montage. I was nine and you were fourteen when the first time I saw you. Your hair was sleek with the colour of dark raven's wings. It built up to the point that struck me silent. I remember why I wanted you.

If they matter, would that leave me under the same umbrella, too? Am I part of  everything? Are you saying that you will remember me as I am, as we are tonight sitting across each other on your last night before home calls you to work? Feeling slightly off my feet, I give myself away in a nod. Showing no intention to argue, I would settle to be remembered as your last night in Jakarta because I have missed you too much. And knowing, for once, I matter.
A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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Three Hours Later

Tom was a journalist. I met him at a friend's party, where strangers from a friend of a friend all gathered in one room and crazy conversations. It was one of those nights where I thought it would be a short and quiet, but it turned out the opposite. I sat next to him by chance, the rest of the room was full and the only convenient place to sit was next to him on that blanket-covered sofa. He had this scruffy look, not quite a rebel but just about enough to get my attention.

Maybe, I deliberately chose to sit next to him, after all.

In the beginning, I thought the reason why he started talking to me because he had to. I was the closest person around him while others were engaged with their own crazy conversations. I was his only option, and he was my only option. As if our seating arrangement was just convenient for us to talk. He asked where did I come from, and I asked his. It turned out to be a geography games we played, until he figured out I was not from the northern part of the world, and he was born at the hospital just around the corner.

A moment later, there was a thin paper with five lines of white powder passed around the room. I politely declined, while he snorted half of the line, then looking back at me. He carried on. As the conversation prolonged, I had not seen such a sparks in someone eyes in a long time as if they were talking about the constellations. I did not get to say much but admiring him in nods and yeses. His passion in his writings and alcohol were the shooting stars I admired to see.

He told me history about rum, and there was a vodka made out of milk. He then asked me what's my three favourite drinks. I feel he was about to test me, he could tell someone's personality through their favourite drinks. I answered carefully: Chardonnay and Desperados. "Oh, so you like something that slightly sweet," he said, squinting his eyes, probably trying to remember how the white wine or tequila-mixed beer tasted like. He did mention his. It was Whisky.

"I have to write a lot about this, so I know a lot of stuff about the history and everything about it, really."

We then somehow started to talk about the hills by the sea side an hour drive from this town. He said he took his friends from South America once and they loved it. The later the night got, he told me he would like to take me there, too. He said I would love it, with the a resounding tone of certainty as if he had known me for years. I nodded, excited with his hypothetical thoughts as much as I knew it would not happen, I could feel my cheek redden.

I liked the way he told his stories. There was genuine passion present upon his eyes, burning bright like what Jack Kerouac said in his book, like a yellow Roman candles.

We finally caught an intermission pause where none of us were not talking just staring at the space. He seemed rather tired, and because we sat quite close, he then leaned forward as I responded accordingly, and rested his head on my neck. I could feel his thin beard stroke against my skin and that was when I wished nobody else was in the room because I'd bury myself in his kisses. Almost like a receptor sensors, I adjusted myself back to straight position. He woke up and for a second our face were less than three inches apart.

I immediately looked away at the rest of the people in the room chatting their stories away over a lighted spliff. Tom and I were somehow distant from them, as if we were a small island next to the mainland. I could still feel his eyes were on me like silent plea to come closer. I wanted to, but I held myself back. I could not look at his eyes either, because I know I'd be smiling and could not keep my eyes still, that soon would shift to his lips.

I chuckled in between the comfortable silence. As if it was contagious, he could not help to grin and touched my arms, "What's so funny?"
I shook my head lightly, "It's just," hesitated to be frank, "I barely met you less than three hours, but I've wanted to kiss you badly."
I could see his eyes gleaming with mutual feelings, and said, "Well, imagine what could happen three hours later," He leaned forward, almost like waiting for me at the other end to join his invitation.
But I just smiled.

There was something funny about instant attraction. I never believed in it, in myself, nor in anyone else. That this, should have not happened. That there was something wrong about it. The only attraction to trust was the one that happened through process. That happen gradually. Although at the same time, I underestimated the way this universe works. That I limited the possibility that honestly exceed this vast blue sky. I did not give the universe a break and see what could happen, see that maybe, instant attraction could have been the best thing that could ever happened.

But still. The sun was creeping in through the curtain, bringing the night to an end. And that was my cue to leave, letting the attraction dissolve into thin air.

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A piece by : Fiya Muiz
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