The butchers, smoking cigarettes, use the meat as an ashtray. The cats near the butchers sleep and stretch with no fear. They look at the meat, full of envy. The noise of the hatchets echoes in my mind when I leave home. The blood of the chickens’ corpses run to the muddy puddles in the rainy season. The old man collects the mouldy vegetables from the greengrocery at the Pasar Cisarua. His old cart has two wheels. He drags it with strong arms. People get away from his path while putting their hands on their mouth and nose. He bears the smell from the start to end, all the days. I hear the voice of his breathing in my imaginations. He is the last sign of a busy day at the bazaar.
I was walking, looking around on the way to Pasar. I had my backpack on my shoulder. I could hear the birds’ song. They were jumping and hunting the insects. The hungry frogs were hopping and singing around. Frogs are one of the obvious things on the road that you could see on the rainy days. Sometimes you could see their dead bodies which were smashed by the vehicles. Yellow leaves were shattering under my feet. The water drops on top of the trees were falling down on the pavement. An old Hazara lady was sitting and relaxing under the sunlight with a Tesbih in her hand. Her eyes were closed. The weather was cold but I liked it. I took my phone and played my favorite song.
I saw two Afghan boys running toward me. Some Indonesian boys were after them. The Afghan boys were pale and sweaty. One of them had his glasses broken. His face was punched, his lips were bleeding. He said La La Jan, they have beaten us. We escaped but they still want to catch us. He continued, if you are with us they do not come to us.
The other boy was dragging his feet on the ground, breathing fast. He was looking back to check for the Indonesian boys. He was holding his sandals in his hands. His eyes were begging for a sip of water. His nose was tripping on his lips and chin. He pointed to the boys with his right index finger, and said, we have done nothing to them.
The Indonesian boys looked angry. They ran toward us in their Sarong and Songkok. They stopped running, staring at me.
“Orang Pakistan, Orang Pakistan,’’ one of them said.
They all laughed and passed us. They sat down after a few meters on the grass. One of them took out a lighter from his pocket and ignited a cigarette which was on the back of his ear. They were puffing it, one by one. They were waiting for me to leave the boys.
The Afghan boys hid at my back and asked me to walk with them by the main road. They asked me a lot of questions on the way. The guy with the broken glasses asked, do you know me? No sorry, why?
All Hazara people know me here. I am really famous, he said. My name is Hamed. The other one was quiet and was playing with his hair. He asked Hamed, what you are gonna say to Dad, look at your glasses. Do you remember what happened at the last time when you broke it? Hamed went into a deep thought. He was about to burst into tears but controlled himself and said, that was not my fault, you were there and you were the witness. I did nothing wrong. Emid said with a worried tune, I do not know.
We reached the road and they said bye La La Jan and crossed the road. The ankot station was not too far, I stepped to it. After a few meters, La La, someone called me. I saw Hamed and Emid, running. This time, not the last boys, but some bigger and stronger Indonesian boys. My jaw was dropped. What is going on? Who are they? I asked. Hamed told me breathlessly that they had fought with them yesterday too, and ran into each other on the way. I knew and guessed that they are naughty and good fighters, but not like this!
I did not know what to do. The ankot was honking and waiting for me at the other side of the road. I just told them to run faster. I crossed the road and got into the ankot. The driver was holding a disposable cup of black coffee, he was like a high school boy and asked me, “Kamana Ban?” Pasar Cisarua, I said. He looked at my long beard and mustache then said something to his friend who was sitting near him, turned back, opened one of his eyes hardly. He told me, “Mr, Mr, lady, lady.” They both laughed. The driver was showing by his hands the sex workers who was standing near the road or on the motorbikes with men drivers. I could see the tourists near them. It seemed they were negotiating. Some of the girls looked like kids with high heel shoes, super heavy makeup and catwalk style. The driver and his friend were making fun of them. “Itu cantik, itu jelek.”
“Pasar, Pasar, Bang” the driver said. I grabbed four thousand Rupiah from my pocket. I gave it to the driver. When he saw it, he looked at me with anger. He threw it on the dashboard, whispering some Indonesian words and moved. I was not the rich guy who pays more, sorry!
A woman with her son was sitting in the internet shop, eating Nasi Padang. The boy was beating and pinching his mother, one spoon Nasi, one pinch. His mother was talking with the customers while holding her son’s hand and asking, “Mau Apa, Mau Apa?” I would feel the pain of the pinches but loving to see a mother’s patience. She came to me, “Mau Apa Mister?” She asked. 8 GB Indosat Berapa? I asked. Yag Lag, she said in Hazaragi. Oh Mahal 4 GB, I said. Char GB? Ok Boleh! Boleh! with a smile.
I was getting close to the stores, the way looked more crowded. Many motor bikes, people in the same coloured uniform with army boots. I have not seen them before. I saw some Hazara people near them with inky fingers. I asked one of them what was happening. Immigration officers, he said. One of the officers on the motorbike came to me, asked “Orang Dari Mana?” Afghanistan, I said. He asked for ID. I showed him. He took it and told me, “Ayo Di Sana,” pointed at the crowd with his hand.
A line of refugees was standing there. An officer would give everyone a registration form. After filling that a cameraman was taking photos of the refugees one by one, while posing with a wooden small board on your hands like the criminals when they go to jail.
Local people were looking at us so strangely. When it came to me holding the board, I felt everybody was laughing at me. I started to look at the ants on the ground, how they collaborated to drag the dead beautiful butterfly into their nest. The officer brought a pot of ink and told me, put one of your fingers in. I was recognizable with that sign. I showed it to the officer. He gave my ID back.
There was a water tap near the Pakistani store. An old Indonesian man was standing near it. He smiled at me and showed his compassion by shaking his head. I opened the tap and put my head under the water. I was just getting released from the stress when the old man tapped on my shoulder and pointed to the three Hazara men and two officers who were coming toward me. I thought they came to register but when I saw them, they were busted. I was shocked. I used to see one of them in the morning when he was going to school. An officer called me and asked me, “do you work here?” I said, NO why? “You cannot work in Indonesia and also you cannot drive a car or motorbike.” Ok? I said Ok!
Sade Del is a writer and educator. He volunteers as a teacher at a local refugee run school in Indonesia. His writing focuses on the effects of immigration on refugees' lives and domestic and social problems for children. He writes of his experiences and memories at his school.