Hi~ Miyano Ran here! This is yet another story of mine! About cousin (more like sibling) rivalry! :) It's not good, ok? Gotta love our family :) This story is dedicated to my family! Enjoy reading!

IMPERFECTIONS

Chapter I: Competition

"What is the name of the Chinese mathematician who discovered that pie is equivalent to 3.1415926?" Ms. Liu asked challengingly one day in Chinese History class.

"That's got to be the hardest question you've asked, ma'am!" My classmate, Raissa Sy, the second honor student, commented. "Even I don't know the answer!"

Yeah… and Raissa was supposed to be the second smartest in class.

"Does anyone know the answer?" Ms. Liu asked again with a grin. "Whoever gets this right will get an additional five points in their recitation.

Everyone in class, including myself, started to scan the textbooks hurriedly, flipping the pages quickly while trying to find the correct answer. Because five points was REALLY HUGE! All of us were desperate and each of us wanted to be the first one to find and scream out the answer.

As soon as we heard the door open, we turn our heads towards the sound. We sighed hopelessly… we stopped flipping the pages, and that was because, Tara entered the room.

I felt my chest tighten.

Was it jealousy?

"What's the question, Ms. Liu?" Tara asked curiously while closing the door behind her. "I heard that whoever gets this one right will get five points in recitation."

"Oh! I'm glad you're back, my favorite student!" Ms. Liu said cheerfully. "The answer isn't found on your textbooks, Tara. I think even you might not know the answer."

"Gee, that's unfair…" Tara sighed playfully. "Anyway, I got all the notes you asked me to get from the faculty room, ma'am. All the notes for Biology I, Chinese History II and Pengajian Am I are here, complete." Tara said proudly while putting the handouts on the teacher's desk.

Pengajian Am is a subject which I really didn't like… it was so hard for me to memorize all those landmarks…people and events. Let's just say, Malaysian Social Studies wasn't my thing. But, Tara always had straight one-hundreds there! Well, what's surprising? She IS Tara.

"Well done, Tara. Even though the faculty room is a mess right now, you're still able to find all those notes. Thank you!" Ms. Liu praised while fondling her long black hair.

"It was my pleasure." Tara said respectfully while grinning. "So, what's the question? I still want to give it a try, ma'am. I might know the answer."

The rest of the class, I wasn't an exception, groaned and chorused. "You don't NEED five points! You're already the smartest in class! Give US a chance!"

"Aw… don't be like that." Tara looked at me and smiled, saying. "It doesn't mean that I'm already having the highest grades in class that I won't try to further excel anymore Sara…"

I just sigh dejectedly.

"The question is…who is the famed mathematician of ancient China right before the Suei dynasty who discovered pie?" Ms. Liu said to her.

Thinking for less than five seconds after, Tara formed a triumphant smile on her face and shouted excitedly. "That's Zhu Zhong Zhi! He's from the Song dynasty!"

"Correct!" Ms. Liu proclaimed and asked. "But, how did you know that he was from the Song dynasty? We didn't have that lesson yet."

My heart plunged… it plunged so deep that I couldn't feel my pulse for like three seconds. She was correct…AGAIN. I had a feeling she'd get it right again, because, she always does. But, I was just hoping…maybe…maybe she isn't so perfect. Maybe she wouldn't know the answer like the rest of us…but, no, she was too smart for that, wasn't she? If she had mistakes and shortcomings then she wouldn't be Tara.

I listen to her explanation as to how she knew the answer. I still try to smile… I shouldn't be jealous at my cousin, I shouldn't be mad at her for being perfect… I mean, it's not like she's being perfect on purpose to make me feel insecure. It's not her fault she's smart… she doesn't TRY to be. And, she doesn't know how much it hurts my self esteem whenever she's better than me at something… which would be, all the time.

"I happen to come across that in one of the books I was reading." Tara said.

"You're already so smart and so respectful, Tara… and you're still an avid reader." Ms. Liu praised once more, which made me feel that I wish I was more like her. I really do try my best in everything. I'm kind, I help others… and I try to make friends with my smile. I study with the best of my abilities… but, I'm always second to Tara, because I'm like her shadow. No matter how hard I try, I never get to surpass her.

Tara simply gave a humble smile and went back to her seat. If I were in her position, I'd be jumping around like crazy if I got those five points! I'd be thanking God and I'd throw a party if I got at least an 85 in my Math test… but, no, Tara's different. She's indifferent with her grades. She doesn't feel any extraordinary outburst of happiness when she gets a perfect score…because she ALWAYS gets it. Do you know that feeling, that feeling that you try so hard to achieve something…but someone surpasses you without even trying?

She doesn't celebrate her success…because it's nothing unusual. She gets a perfect score in an incredibly hard test which she didn't even study for while I get a 75 flat in that same test that I studied SO hard until 3 am. She doesn't even TRY and she succeeds. It's like a breeze for her. I really wish I was like Tara. No matter how much I reach out to people, I still end up being as shy as I am, hiding in my shell, while she gets lots of friends without even trying.

She actually reads books… and that is why she knows so much. But, I work hard as well, but I never level up to her standards… I want to BE Tara!

Jealousy consumes me…

There's always that sense of competition.

And, it's even harder for me, since, we're cousins.

Tara's my cousin, my blood related cousin, and she's fifteen. I'm fifteen, too. But, I was born in March while she was born in May of that same year. She's two months younger than me but she's also taller than me, healthier than me, perfect, and twice as smart as I am. Her full name's Taralyn Mae Ng Yu. But, all of us call her Tara. See? She's so perfect…even her name is perfect. Tara is such a perfectly unique and awesome name, while I, Sarabeth Nikka Ng Sua, have the simplest and most common name ever. People call me Sara, and Sara is such a common name! So many people have the name Sara… but, having a name like Tara would be like one in a billion! Unlike me, she has such a beautiful name…

My cousin Tara and I are close. We've been the closest since the day I was born. We are even classmates here at Sarawak Academy. We live in one roof and we see each other everyday. My parents are the closest sisters, too! I look up to Tara and since I'm an only child, she's more than just a cousin, she's like my sister. I love Tara very much. But…I can't deny that I really envy her in almost everything.

There's only one thing that I can do that she can't, that is, drawing. No matter how hard she tries, she can't really draw as accurate as I can. But, anyway, we don't have any curriculum on drawing so I can't really show my talent to others either. Drawing is just my hobby.

When I'm at home, there's always a sense of competition with Tara. My grandparents, all my aunties and uncles, even my parents praise Tara. Everyone loves Tara. I'm not really a spoilt brat who needs attention, but, I just wish, one day, someone can recognize my good points, too. It's because Tara's so great that she's overshadowing the little good deeds I do.

They always compare me with Tara. Tara has two siblings. One is Harold, eight years old, and Amy, four years old, and both of them are too young to be compared to Tara's abilities, and my other cousins are either much younger, like three to six years of age, or much older, like in their early twenties. So, basically, I'm the only one who has the same age as Tara so I'm the only one who can be compared with her. And, Tara's the sweetest girl that everyone praises because she's so smart and lovable. So, unintentionally, my relatives, even my parents, often tend to compare both of us… and usually, she's the better one.

My mum would say…like, why can't you be more helpful like Tara…like doing household chores and cleaning the dishes… and washing clothes. Ok, that I admit. I'm one of the laziest teenagers when it comes to chores, and Tara's just so helpful at home. My parents would tell me to wash like Tara, study like Tara, excel like Tara… and drink more Chinese growth balls so that I can be as tall as Tara. Sometimes, I lose control and complain about how hard schooling is… and my grandparents would say something like… look at Tara, she's not complaining, why don't you follow Tara? Tara's like the epitome of the perfect daughter, the model student and the best friend. Tara's just the best… and I will never win in our competition.

It's stressing, it's pressuring… when you hear everyone tell you… follow Tara's good example. Can't I just be… me and not follow someone else? I'm also pretty cool in my own way. I just want to be myself. If possible, I want to back out the competition, because, I know that I won't stand a chance.

Started: February 3, 2010 Wednesday 7:50 PM

Ended: February 3, 2010 Wednesday 10:50 PM

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