The Past

The Pretty Ones

My best friend in Elementary School is getting married tomorrow.

The last time I met her was last year when I went home to Indonesia for the Summer. We decided to have a small dinner at a Chinese restaurant in the Central with few others mutual friends. But she had stopped being my best friends long ago. It felt quite odd talking to her again, not the uncomfortable odd, it was the kind where I knew I used to spend every weekend at her house playing Barbie dolls, eleven years ago when we were almost like a pair of shoes that never went anywhere separately. But now, we barely spoke more than two sentences in a year.

Nadia and I were the very definition of best friends back then. The ones where everybody envy, not that I would try to sound snobbish, but it was true. Sometimes other peers, or teachers would gave us a strange look. Some of them thought we were sisters. We both had long dark wavy hair, big round eyes and pointy nose. People said we were the pretty ones. But who we were to understand when we were kids the only thing we know was Westlife, and not that it ever fed our ego  too, but I always thought she was prettier than me. She had kinder smile, better teeth, the perfect toothpaste commercial-like. There was just something about her that radiates gentleness.

Everything changed just before we entered fifth grade. I remember we were on our way to the canteen on a recess and we walked by the teacher's office. Suddenly our then teacher told us off to stop being friends. I remember the way he looked at us, with the full-on eyes of anger and disgust as if having a best friend was a crime. He said our friendship prevent us from socialising with other students. On the next academic year, we were put in different class. And as what he wanted, we drifted apart sooner than I ever thought. Perhaps it gotten into us, well, at least into me, that I foolishly believed that I must have done something wrong. The promise that we both made to spend lunch break together was never happened.

From two missed lunch break, to occasionally say hi on the hallway. We eventually gotten busy with different class schedule, and found ourselves mingle with two different group. And that was the end of our barbie-doll friendship.

When she messaged me yesterday telling me that she was getting married, I was eating crisps while watching YouTube. I was confused at start, as it was kind of a surprise - both the news, and the fact she was asking for my blessing. Then, rush of nostalgia hit me, also a twinge of an odd comparison between us. I started to wonder what would happen if we were still best friends. If that teacher never told us to stop being friends and put us in different class. I never imagined, nor realised until recently, that we grew up to be the complete opposite individual. She led a life where everything goes as planned; finished studying, got a job and get married. She graduated university by the age of 20, now having a steady well-paid job at an IT company and ready to get married. While I, on the other hand was still struggling to finish up university, 22, with the longest record of relationship was four months obviously no where near ready to get married.

I did not know how we ended up being very different. By all means, there was no black and white ground here - we simply chose different path. But maybe if we were to stay being a close friend, I would be calmer than I am now, she would be louder than she is now. I asked her earlier this morning, how she would spend her last day of being single - in my head, with the closest culture relevance around me now, I obviously thought of going out with girl friends, I don't know, have fun as if it was the day you have to celebrate - I personally never thought of this, I had not had a thought of getting married, let alone hen party. But instead she said, "I'm just gonna lay on the couch the whole day because this will be the last day I'd spend being lazy alone."

I smiled at her answer. That can be the sweetest way to embrace her new life, that she will always have a company from tomorrow onwards. After all this time, she still has that kindness and gentleness even in her words. Now, I am aware that even though we were not as close as we were in the first four years of elementary school, and did not matter how brief, childish our friendship was, I still admire her for whoever she was or is, and value our friendship then more than the length of barbie house playtime.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz

For Some Strange Reasons

"I have never really given much thought about marriage," Said Becca, looking elsewhere. The conversation had gone a little too deep as the sun set behind the horizon. George was sitting in front of her, leaning back to the suede-blue arm chair at the coffee shop as he comfortably listening to her.

George and Becca had gone through long history of friendship, often disappear from each other radar when one was in a relationship with another party, then break ups and hang ups. But they always found a way of reconciling as two ends of red strings that all they need was invitation for coffee and it would tied them both back again.

They were good friends, in secrecy of each other's mind, they both thought their relationship was pretty much based on attraction and constant flirtation hidden in platonic narration. Becca continued, "But if I had to, I could only imagine being married to you." George did not seem to be surprised, more because her straight tone of voice conflicted the intended meaning of the sentence as if there her statement was natural. If it had meaning, George thought while waiting for Becca to carry on.

She took her caffe mocha that almost empty and took a little sip before putting it back gently on the round-shaped table. Becca continued as if she was leaking words, "I can imagine living with you, in an apartment in the Central with small balcony, which probably you wouldn't agree in the beginning but you'd say yes with the promise of buying a house by the beach in the future. And all the other domestic things in marriage life portrayed in a book, or films."

It almost looked like she was high, he thought. But he enjoyed this. No, he loved it. He loved watching her drifting off to her bizarre world of hers, saying everything she wanted, taking him into her thoughts behind her eyes. He observed that she liked to play with her hair once she was in too deep, curled it around her finger like a spiral and once she let it off, it would form small curls at the end of her hair. He thought she looked pretty, without realising so.

"I imagine we would lead a very passionate life, we would create art every day, we would make love in every room in the apartment and all the kind of passion," But then suddenly her sentence stopped in a cliff hanger.
"But?" George was caught way too deep into her thoughts now he curiously wanting, waiting for her to continue.
"But, I'm not sure whether it would last." She said with inaudible sigh, as if it brought her back to the reality. There was some part of him that withered, realising that was not something that he wanted to hear, but nevertheless, at the back of his head, he knew that it was probably true.
"Fuck it." He said hastily, not with anger but almost with heavy ounce of determination to proof it wrong.
It shook her off from her narrated daydream, "I can propose to you now and we'll get married." There was a sudden hit that at first he thought was joking, but the more words flowed through his mouth and sunk in, the more he felt like he was not - he meant it.

"Are you going to propose me now?"
"Do you want to get married with me?"
"Is that your proposal?"
Everything seemed to fall on to each other so fast. A mixture of dare, and a little bit of truths. The next thing she knew, he was on his knees. "Will you marry me?" He asked, sounded surprisingly sincere.

Becca stopped playing with her hair, now frozen, fixated into his hazel eyes. This guy is crazy, she thought. But for some strange reasons, whatever it was, the affirmative word fluttered through her mouth, and as if for reassurance she repeated it once more with soft exclamation point, "Yes!"

He smiled and immediately took out a pen out of his pocket. "Give me your hand," He said almost impatience. She reached out her left hand to his safety, and with his pen he drew a diamond ring with both of their initial in the middle of her ring finger.

"I'm going to marry you, Rebecca Isabelle Rowe." He said it with absolute certainty, and oddly, she did not even have the need to object, or question the authencity in any kind of form. This idea might seem crazy, they both probably would run to the arcade in a minute and win a plastic ring and tell both of their parents right away. They might change their minds in the next two hours, or believed the whole proposal was a joke, but whatever it would be, that moment, for some strange reasons, they both felt as if they have found whatever they had been looking for.

They exchanged glances as smile rose on both of their faces like flower that blossom in the Spring.

It is at that moment when the screen fades to black and the credit rolls.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz

Tell Them to Shut Up

I miss you. Not in the way that I would like to change my mind -

Maybe it's because I just stumbled upon the funny picture of unicorn-head dog that you sent me once many, many, many Sundays ago and it made my day.

I miss you in the way how nice you made me feel that night -

I still did not understand why we, or I, gave up so quickly on us in the summer of 2013. On one hand, I felt like I have made the right, logical decision. But on the other, it was still sad thinking that we missed something that could have been so good.

I am so sorry that I could not live up to whatever we could have been. I hope you are well and she makes you feel much better, nicer than I could have done.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz

The Only Thing You Need (or Not) to Know Before Dating British Guy

That they are human, too.

I just read an article of "18 Things You Need to Know Before Dating a British Guy" and I feel an urgent need that almost like a sugar rush, to address that it somehow unfair, maybe even wrong, in so many levels. I find it strange and bizarre in the least kindest way. The way the writer explained them as if they are a grandeur entity that just so alien to the rest of other nationalities – they are not, they are as human as anybody can be. Only they arguably sound better and happen to be brought up with a habit to end most of the sentences with affective nicknames such as love, dear that adds sweetness to every syllable of the word, or basically everything. At the same time, I feel many articles exploit them like trading goods. For instance, there are many points that are relevant to situations in different-cultural-background relationship in general, long distance for instance, that would apply to American, French, Canadian or any other nationalities, not just British.

Yes, they do sound fascinating just as your favourite song and you want to put it on repeat. But the rest of the traits are abundantly normal. They can be a dick, too. They break hearts. They make mistakes. They without a doubt, can sweep you off your feet. Just like any other people that you meet in your life, regardless their country of origin. All I'm trying to say is, despite the accents and geographical location where they grew up, that they are human – why should one confined them into a box, a category or a genre that perhaps makes them perceived so different almost to the extent they are on the pedestal that they may behave differently in relationship. Stop romanticising them as if they were all Shakespeare's descendants, free of guilt and full of gifts. Don't like them, or be proud of them to be your significant other because they are English. Like them for whoever they are. Like anybody for whoever they are! Falling in love, or dating, British guy can feel like the best thing in the world, not because they are British, but just because they are genuinely amazing persons.

We are all human, my dear.

A piece by : Fiya Muiz