It was silent. Too silent. I was spending the break on the roof. We spent a lot of time on the roof of Yasogami High because of this silence. It was relaxing. But because of our large group, it was never really silent unlike now. No Chie who was praising meat. No Rise and Naoto who were chatting with each other. No Kanji and Teddie who fought over the last piece of candy. No Yosuke who was complaining about exams and teachers. The only noise came from the birds on the solar panels behind us.
I turned my head and looked at the person who was sitting beside me.
A girl. A cute girl. In fact, the cutest of them all. Yukiko Amagi. My girlfriend.
"Is everything alright, Yu?"
She was asking me directly. Her voice was a bit louder than necessary. She was nervous. Next to her was a small bento box.
"Yes. Everything is alright."
I smiled at her.
"It's just too hot today. I feel a bit exhausted."
I lied. Yukiko knew I lied. In reality, I wasn't exhausted. I was wide awake. Awake and afraid. Afraid of the bento.
My smile vanished. How could I smile at this moment? I was a horrible boyfriend.
"I know you had some bad experience with my food-" Her face turned red, "-but I wanted to ask you to eat what I made yesterday. The bento is so small because I made only a little bit, so you don't have to go through much!"
This time she lied. The food in the small bento box was the only food that survived her cooking. I didn't say that out loud of course. I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
"Sure. I will give it a try."
I tried to smile at her again. She smiled back. I liked her smile. It made me feel like everything was okay, no matter what was going to happen. Not even Teddie could smile that innocently! And that boy was positivity itself!
I opened the box and was greeted with... a mess. I started with what I thought was the worst. This way, it only could get better, right?
I picked up a chunk of dark brown rice. Looks like she forgot the fried rice on the stove. I tried a bit. It didn't even look that bad, but it tasted like charcoal. I cringed.
"Is it that bad?"
She gave me a worried look. I didn't want to lie to her. Lying now would just hurt her.
I nodded silently.
"I-I should have used a lower setting on the stove. I just wanted it to get that yellow colour, you know?"
Wait, what? Yellow rice? Was she talking about curry rice? Did she believe the colour came from frying it and not from the spices?
"You know that it's not how that works right?"
"Yes. I didn't want to admit that I forgot it on the stove."
Don't hide something like that with something that makes you look stupid! I scolded her.
Then I tried the rolled omelette. It was salty, but okay.
"I didn't want the omelette to be tasteless, so I added some more salt. Was that too much?"
"It wasn't that bad. A bit too salty, but it was okay."
The last thing in the box was some tofu. It had a dark colour. I assumed that Yukiko added soy-sauce or something like that. It smelled strange. I tried it. Then I died. Or at least, I thought I would die. Something burned my throat. Tears were running down my cheeks.
"Was it too much soy sauce? I thought it would help the Tofu to taste better?"
She tried a piece and went through the same pain I went through.
Let me explain what happened. Yukiko had mistaken a bottle of black vinegar for soy sauce and just used it instead. I don't know how she didn't notice that, but in the end, we both ended up eating it. Vinegar. Mild acid was still acid after all.
"So... I failed again, huh?" She tried to laugh about herself, but she couldn't hide her disappointment.
I laid an arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to me. "Don't worry. Cooking is hard. Everyone fails once in a while."
She mumbled something into my school uniform.
"Don't worry. Maybe next time, I'll bring a bento. Okay?"
Right. Suggesting that I make the bentos was the same as saying Please stop making bentos for me, right? Man, that was awful of me!
"When I don't practice I won't be able to learn how to do it right! What kind of girl would I be when I can't make my boyfriend a bento?"
What a traditional way of thinking.
"Okay. Maybe next time we could make a bento together?"
I moved my right hand away from her shoulder and reached for her right wrist. My left was holding her left wrist. I started to move her like a doll and pretended to cut vegetables.
"Hehehe, stop that," she giggled.
"Okay," I whispered in her ear and hugged her. "But cooking together would be fun too, right?" I kissed her neck.
"Hey, someone could see us!" Yukiko giggled while she pulled me with her to the ground. We just laid there, enjoying the warm light of the sun.
"Shouldn't we go back? The class is about to start again!"
"No." She frowned. "Please, let's stay here for a while! Tell me more about our cooking date!"
"Okay. What do you think about Takoyaki?"
"Oh, Takoyaki would be amazing!"
"We could also make some Ramen. Or Yakisoba!"
We stayed for a long time on the roof and left in the evening before someone closed the gates.