Horrible Handwriting Encases the World
You could say Yayoi was an egoist.
Or, you could say she was the most egotistical, self-centered, narcissistic, vain and vile egoist to ever have lived. She would like that description much more. Now, if you were to find out that this egotistical, self-centered, narcissistic, vain and vile egoist lost at something she considered herself the best at (out of many other things), what exactly would you imagine? Whatever it is, you
e wrong, and that was the whole issue. Never had Yayoi collected herself so calmly after being denied a win. Never had her mouth shut so quickly after finding herself in the same spot as her competitor. But then again, she never did lose.
And she hadn on that day either. Every year, Akiharu held a citywide cooking competition. All were welcome to join, so long as you signed up for your correct division, based on age. In the 13-18 division, Yayoi had absolutely no competition. Not that she was good; there was quite literally no one for her to go against. In this day and age, parents would be lucky to have their children so much as glance at the stove without writhing in horror at the sight. This never stopped her, though. At every event, the tenacious teen would whip up dish after dish with unrelenting speed as if her favorite cooking knives were being held hostage. Seemingly, family wouldve been a better example, if it weren for the fact that Yayoi would trade them in for a nothing more than a half-burnt spatula.
But this year, things were different. As usual, things were in motion. Yayoi proceeded beyond the divided line for people between the ages of 40 and 60, which virtually wrapped around itself, and onto her desolate spot in front of the all too familiar sign-up form. To get the ink flowing, she picked up the pen and scribbled a few lines on the bottom of the paper. She reached the top of the page with the ease of muscle memory, only to see the words ”CHIIYA CHIEKO ” scrawled in pink pen with hearts dotting the is. She brushed it off. With handwriting like that, Yayoi assumed, Chiiyas knife work and coordination skills could be simmered down to nothing but a broken attempt to end her almighty reign. She may not have cared, but she certainly wouldn win without a fight. It was against her standards.
4:30 arrived, and the host called the beginning of the cook-off. Yayoi began making her signature alfredo pasta. She minced garlic and onions and tossed them into her homemade alfredo sauce that was now simmering on the stove. The judges watched intently as her hands moved swiftly back and forth between the smooth liquid bubbling in her pan and her cutting board. It was almost magic to those around her; they watched with salivating mouths and even hungrier eyes. That was, until a splendid sweet aroma filled the air. In a battle of the scents, the gentle coffee smell of Chiiyas dark chocolate tiramisu overshadowed the savory fragrance rising from Yayois kitchen.
Yayois head shot up, glaring bullets at the judges and spectators who were now crowding around Chiiyas station. The attention-filled girl let out a sickeningly sweet smile so radiant, it practically reflected off the surface of her glass bowls. Yayoi, not processing the idea that someones kitchen work could be more enticing than hers, decided to let out a competing smile of her own to bring back her viewers. It did not work. Instead, it can be certain that she mentally scarred several young children in the vicinity with her uneven, unconvincing smirk. Still, she continued on, vigorously mixing the life into and out of her sauce while sizing-up her competition. Unbothered, Chiiya continued to work wonders in her kitchen.
Time was called, and the two girls brought up their dishes simultaneously. Chiiyas light pink hair bounced as she rocked back and forth, fingers gripping at the hem of her shirt. Yayoi stood still, completely confident in her pasta. The judges inspected the dishes, old and frail hands poking around the edges of the plate. They first dug a spoon into the tiramisu. It was light, airy, and fluffy. The spoon had no trouble gliding through the dessert, scooping up soft éclairs, melted dark chocolate, and sprinkles of powdered sugar. The bite melted in the mouths of the judges, tongues now coated in the silky texture of the chocolate. The flavor of coffee lingered on their taste buds just slightly as the éclairs fell to bits under the force of their teeth. It was heaven on a spoon.
They moved on to the alfredo. Tender pieces of sliced chicken breast rested on top of the glistening noodles, covered with the creamy, aromatic sauce. Leaves of green parsley decorated the plate in perfectly calculated spots. The judges forks twirled around the pasta, lifting up a perfect portion. Sauce dripped down from the forks as steam rose up. They blew cool air for just a moment, not hesitating to enjoy the firm yet velvety noodles. Notes of black pepper and garlic arose from the dish. Even Chiiyas stomach grumbled at the sight of the delicious meal in front of her.
It would be an understatement to say that Yayoi thought shed won. She knew shed won. She was surely, certainly, undoubtedly, and explicitly the winner in her mind. A genuine smile graced her face as she held her head up high. She interrupted the judges deliberation, interjecting a statement of her own. ”Now, now, judging fellow. There is no need to spare the feelings of half-hearted wannabes. Im sure we all know the outcome of today. Ill be picking the fruits of my labor from the tree of victory now, thank you ”. She pranced over to the medal, gently taking it out of the hands of the host with a graceful head tilt. Spectators looked on in shock, the rest in confusion.
”Yes, well, Ms. Yada. On any other day that would be the case. Unfortunately, this wonderful tiramisu is too much to give up on
”. The oldest judge limped towards Yayoi, snatching the medal back.
”You girls both did great. You
e both winners! ” The spectators broke into applause. And soon enough, Yayoi had taken her silent leave. Maybe it was disbelief mixed with delusion, but the girl had gone completely quiet, inside and out. Not a singular thought came to her mind nor out of her mouth. She went home in defeat, and really, she was beating herself over the head.
All this would bring us to the current moment. Yayoi was bolting down the school hallway, her brown locks practically soaring behind her. It wasn because she was late for sewing club, (and although she was), her destination was anywhere but there. She dashed down the third floor stairs and rounded the first corner, shutting herself in an open janitorial closet. Her back hit the door as she pant
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