Short Story: Sunny Side Up
With a slip of the hand, the yolk of the sunny-side up oozed onto the table.
“What a waste.” I murmured to myself whilst wiping the table with a damp kitchen cloth.
“Sorry, I spilled some.”
Feeling guilty about wasting the food that she had put effort into making, I apologized to Sayu who was eating breakfast across from me. Hearing my apology, she turned to glance at me, blinking idly for a few moments as if to process what was happened, before chuckling.
“It’s fine it’s fine, it’s not like you did it on purpose or anything. Don’t worry about it.” She murmured in response as she deftly separated the whites with her chopsticks and fed it into her mouth.
She skillfully avoided the yolk of the sunny-side up whilst gradually eating away at the whites.
Compared to me who simply broke apart the yolk and ate it together with the whites, Sayu’s method was refreshing in a way.
“About the sunny-side ups you make-”
Hearing me suddenly decide to speak out, Sayu stopped her chopsticks and tilted her head.
“I was just thinking that the yolks are tender, sort of light a soft-boiled egg in a way.”
Sayu vaguely nodded, before tilting her head once again.
“Do you not like it?”
“No it’s nothing like that. I actually prefer it that way, since it meshes better when mixed with rice and the egg-whites.
“I see, glad to hear it.”
I wasn’t concerned with the tenderness of the yolk. It had merely been an idle observation turned thought.
“The sunny-side ups my mom made were always cooked till the yolk became hard, so I always found it a little dry and tasteless. Since as far back as I can remember, I never did like sunny-side ups, really.”
“I tried making it a few times when I first started living alone, but I could never get the hang of controlling the heat and the timing to add water, so it always ended up with a hard-yolk like the ones my mom made.” I continued the conversation whilst looking at Sayu, whose seemed more dazed than ever.
“So anyway, what I wanted to say is, you’re really good at cooking.” I said to bring an end to what I thought was a pointless discussion.
It was only then did Sayu show some signs of life. Her eyebrows twitched and her face flushed as though her consciousness had only just returned to her body.
“Oh, r-… really?”
Sayu leaned her head to one side and fidgeted with the ends of her hair in a slightly embarrassed manner.
“Did your parents teach you?”
Her expressions had frozen over as soon as I asked.
I realized that I had stepped on a landmine, but I couldn’t take back what I had said.
What am I doing asking someone who ran away from home about their parents? The regret continued to run laps through my mind.
“My mom wasn’t the kind of person who cooked a lot.”
Sayu paused as she cast her gaze at the plate of sunny-side up in contemplation.
“So I mostly learned to cook on my own, looking recipes up in cookbooks and on the internet. I experimented a lot until the flavor was to my liking.”
“…I see.” Translated by yuNS
I had never asked about her household situation until now, nor was it a topic she would bring up herself. I believed that such a topic was one that the involved party should bring up of their own accord.
Yet, I had committed such a blunder in a moment of thoughtlessness. I cast my gaze downward, which Sayu had caught onto with a quick glance.
“But you know!” Sayu voiced out energetically with a loud cap.
“I really do enjoy cooking. It was something I tended to go off on my own to do. You could call it… a hobby? I guess.”
“Mhm…” @ www. crimson magic.me
A sigh naturally leaked out through my mouth.
She had been forced to act considerately again.
“Well, thanks to that, I get to look forwards to having delicacies every day, though.”
Sayu’s faced turned a little red as she failed to hold back a smile.
I ate another piece of the sunny-side up. The flavors of the yolk spread through my mouth whilst intermixing with the rice. It was a flavor I couldn’t get enough of.
We continued to eat our breakfast without exchanging words. After a while, Sayu’s sunny-side up was stripped bare of it whites till nothing but a neat yolk sat on the plate.
Curious as to how she would eat the yolk, I sipped on my miso soup whilst pinning my attention to the plate. Finally, she sandwiched the yolk between her chopsticks.
Resting the weight of the yolk on the chopsticks, so as to not break it, she picked up the yolk in one swoop.
Then, in a rare moment for Sayu who always ate in small and compacts bites, she opened her mouth wide and devoured it all at once. In the next moment, she shut her eyes as if basking in happiness and exhaled audibly from her nose with satisfaction.
I had intended to mind my manners, but the all too surprising action had left me staring in shock. Sayu, whose attention was no longer occupied by the golden yolk, raised her gaze, which naturally found itself on a collision course with my own.
Sayu’s chewing lips came to a halt. Her cheeks swelled like a hamster as she tilted her head in puzzlement.
“Uh, sorry.” I replied, hurriedly breaking eye contact.
“I was just a little surprised that you ate it all in one go.” I said whilst awkwardly moving my gaze from object to object on the table.
In the meantime, Sayu had started chewing again and swallowed the yolk.
“Erm, is it weird?”
“No, that’s not really it, but…”
I shook my head rapidly in response. Sayu’s expressions and voice had been all too uneasy.
“You know, you usually don’t open your mouth wide to eat everything right? So I was just a little taken aback.”
Sayu fell silent, her gaze turning restlessly about.
An indescribable atmosphere permeated throughout the living room.
“Y-, Yoshida-san…” Sayu finally spoke.
Glancing at her, her face was strangely red.
“You seem to be looking at me, in a lot of ways…”
“Eh, no, you don’t have to put it like that…”
“Is it normal to look at people when they open their mouths while eating…?”
“Of course not, I just happened to look.”
“WHY!!?” I raised my voice in a hurry.
It was only then did Sayu finally crack into a fit of giggling. Along with it, the mood of the room had quickly returned to normal, which was a relief.
“It’s really delicious to eat the yolk in one go.” Sayu said before taking a gulp of miso soup.
“The yolk’s flavor, like, explodes in your mouth.”
“Yup, it does.” Sayu said with a chuckle.
“Why don’t you try it next time, Yoshida-san?”
“Well… if I feel like it I guess.”
At my vague response, Sayu showed a mischievous smile.
“And next time, I’ll be watching you open your mouth wide okay?”
“Hey, you don’t have to go that far do you?”
“Not like you’re one to talk though~”
Seeing her laugh, I could feel the corners of my lips slackening.
The conversation that had unfolded from my slip of the tongue had given me a little insight on side of Sayu that I didn’t know. It gave me a strange feeling.
And for some reason, the scene of her closing her eyes in pure happiness after devouring the eye-yolk replayed through my mind time and time again.