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|More from Momoam15||Adeventure||PG-13||Positive|
August 16, 2012
Chapter 2: Just Desserts
"Ughh." My back aches up against this wall. I shift from the stone, and crawl out from under the table. The air is cleaner and cooler in the open room. But I can still smell the smoke. I never thought this place could be scented with anything other than jasmine or vanilla. I would walk in here as a kid, just to get a whiff. The vanilla was to calm the body, and the jasmine to calm the mind. Aamina and I were always dropped off here in order to meditate, and to detach. Aamina was always good with that. She could sit in silence, but would never hear a word you said. I on the other hand, would get distracted by the tiniest spiderfly.
"Breathe in....breathe out."
"Breathe in....breathe out."
"Get it out of my hair!! Get it out!!" I frantically started to scratch my head.
"Aalyia!! Why have you interrupted our meditation?!" Sister Yin popped an eye at me.
"Sorry sister, Aalyia had a bug in her hair." Aamina brushed my hair back down, and released the fly out the window.
"Is there a reason as to why a simple "bug," is more important than your training? Please, next time control your actions." She closed her eye and regained her stance.
"Yes sister." I stuck my tongue out only to be met by Aamina's gaze. She shot me one of those you're going to get in trouble looks, and went back to meditating.
I continued to sit there with my legs crossed and stared at the ceiling. Silent monks sat peacefully. Women weaved annd carried their baskets. Cracked strokes of blue wisped across the arches. Whoever made it sure was talented. Every face was dignified and beautiful, every line precise and clean. It was amazingly serene. I started to sway back and forth and hum. The pictures began dancing and twirling. The wind from the window swirled around the room. Then music started to play, and leaves began to surround me.
"Aalyia, perhaps you should take a break. Maybe go help the others with lunch." The stern voice echoed, and brought me out of my dream. Sister Yin, without so much as a peek, shot a blast of wind and opened the door.
"Yes Sister." The pictures stopped dancing, and the wind stopped blowing. I crawled off my legs and walked out into the hall. The door slammed hard, and shut me out.
The hallway seemed so barren and empty. I was the only one standing on the cold bricks. "Aalyia, neh neh neh. Take a break, neh he he. Oh Aalyia, why must you be such a failure, neeeh." I stopped walking and looked into a nearby mirror. Brown hair strung over my shoulders. Wide grey eyes, and three missing teeth. I was a slip up. A mistake. Tears started to form, but I quickly blinked them away.
I dragged my body behind my mind, and made my way into the kitchen. The smell of fresh fruit pies wafted my way. They always smelled delicious, especially when Sister Iio made them. She had this secret ingredient no one else used in their desserts. Her pies were always the sweetest.
"Aalyia child, come in!" Iio smiled warmly at me, and pointed to the aprons. "Grab one and help finish up the last of the desserts."
I grabbed the smallest one off the rack and tied it around my waist. I pulled one of the chairs up to the counter and climbed into the seat so I could see.
She was kneading away at some dough, and scooted three pies my way. "Here, take these and pull the filling up." I stared down at the spongy bowls, and let my face turn hot. I caught a glimpse of Iio and saw her quickly look away. It hurt me that she didn't say anything. So I just grabbed the cake and finished it.
A few minutes passed, and still not a word was said. I wanted her to at least pat me on the shoulder, but she did nothing. I sat down in the chair, and leaned my head off the back.
When she stopped her kneading, she came and stood over my chair. "Those look absolutely perfect child! The others will be drooling at the mouth when they see them!" I lifted my head and just nodded. She then patted my cheek and got flour all over my face.
"Iio! You smeared stuff on me!" I pulled up my apron and began to wipe it off.
"Oh dear. It seems you missed a spot right there." Her wrinkled finger pointed to my nose.
"Where?" I wiped my entire face.
"Right....there!" She flicked her hands and puffed flour all over me.
"Ahhh!" I jumped off the chair and ran around the room. Iio chased me with flour in hand flicking it all over the place. When she ran out, the entire kitchen looked like it had snowed. Flour on the walls, the chairs, the counter. Even in my ears. I sat on the floor and laughed, and Iio leaned against the wall. She then came and sat down next to me.
"So, tell me. Why were your tears about to soggy up my precious desserts?" She smiled and looked at the ceiling.
My face became hot again and I buried my head in knees. "I'm not good."
"What do you mean by not good?"
"Sister Yin yelled at me because I was distracting her. All I did was hum. I guess I can't meditate. I can't do anything." I just let the tears fall; my arms and legs became wet.
"Can't do anything huh? Well then, I suppose I'll just have to throw out those amazing pies, and starve for the day." She got up and walked to the counter.
"What?" I sniffled and looked up as she grabbed the peach one. "But we just made those! Don't throw them out, they're perfect!" I chased after her and tugged on her robes.
"Yes, they are perfect. And you know something else?" She put the cake up, and got down on her knees. Her cold hands cradled my face.
"You are perfect. There isn't a thing about you that is in any way a failure. You just need to unlock your potential. Now, you lack understanding and patience, but you are only a child. When you're older, I believe you will accomplish much." She rubbed a tear off my cheek. I looked up, and hugged her around the neck.
"There, there. It's alright." She rubbed my back, and then let me go. Her old eyes were warm and smiled through the grey.
She walked me back behind the counter. I crawled onto my chair and slid the pies to the side. Sister Iio then handed me some dough to knead.
"What's the secret ingredient you put in your pies?" I stopped and looked at her.
"Well, that's an easy one........nothing."
"Nothing? But how come your pies always taste the best?"
"Some things are only as good as you believe them to be." She continued her kneading and began to sing.
That same thought ran through my mind for the rest of the day. I guess what she was trying to say then was that I could do anything, as long as I had faith in myself. I still miss those days. The calm quiet ones when all I had to do was meditate, and eat. Come to think of it, I'm kind of hungry. But I guess that doesn't really matter when you're trying to cheat death.
A strong wind blows in. I sit down in front of the Yangchen statue and fold my hands. My eyes wander up to the cracked ceiling. I still remember every brush stroke, every painted face. I could paint it in my sleep. Music starts to play; the familiar figures begin to dance. As my mind clears, my eyes softly fall down and close. The smell of smoke suddenly becomes sweet, and the fly in the window disappears.
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