Japan - circa pre-1930

My name is Akiyama Etsuko. I was born in Toukyou, Nihon. A lovely place to live. Popular and filled with money, my life is wonderful. I go to private school, I have many friends and I am favorite of all the teachers. I have everything I could ever want. Yet I still feel a bit empty.

I cross over the things I have, ten pages of items in small print, and yet it seems I have nothing. Love? Is that what I long for? Surely not. It's not important. That is what my mother and father always tell me. As I dress in a soft green kimono, matching the summer season, I have my maid, Kazu, tie a dark purple and silver obi around my waist. I hold my arms out as she wraps the cloth around. She smiles at me and tells me I am beautiful. I know that I am. I am told by many people that I am. I do not need her to tell me such things.

I turn to the sides as I look at myself in the full length mirror. Staring back is an image that could be engraved in stone. I am wonderful.

I turn to her, "Tell Hanako that I will be expecting her in the Tea Room."

"Yes, Akiyamasan." She bows low, as she knows I am more wealthy than she shall ever be. She hurries off, her old grey kimono dragging along the ground. As I wait, I examine myself again. More so I find little perfections that I love. Such as how long my hair has grown. Almost below my knees, it is. I have tied it up in a high pony, wrapped around in a tight braid, small gold pendants woven throughout. In fact, I have had Kazu do it. Not myself. I would never do such a thing! Work.

I trail my fingers along my collarbone, feeling it jut out underneath my pale skin. I am spotless. I have no moles, or dots. No imperfections or blemishes. I am perfect.

My red underrobe has been pulled down a bit to reveal my shoulders. I love this about me, as I am slim and slender. I can move any which way. I can dance. I can sing. I am talented and sweet. I am the object of many men's desires. I am Etsuko.

I turn my head towards the door as it slides open. I see Kazu kneeling down, her face near the ground.

"Where is Hanako?" I begin to snap as I step off of the rise in the ground to view my kimonos. I begin to walk over to her in a hurried fashion only to see her reel back and my sister appear. She is short. Tiny. Chubby. Ugly. Nothing like me. I hate her. She is my parents' favorite. How? She is not talented like me. She can not play the shamisen. She can not sing. She can not do anything right. She stumbles over her own feet. She tears her kimono. She talks like a mouse. Annoying! Yet I have called for her. Why again? Oh, yes.

I study her purple kimono and orange obi, trailing to the ground behind her. Her bare feet poke out from the hem of her gown. She looks at the ground, knowing not to look at me. Certainly she would not dare to do so. I am her older sister. I tell her what to do.

"Yes, ane"

"Change your kimono," I order, my eyes staring deeply at her. Her head snaps up, her long black hair only to her middle back, which is tied up like a sumo wrestler's. She does not look attractive.

"But, why?" She knows not to question me.

"I have said so, so it will be done!" I shout at her. She shrugs back, scared like a small animal. Her pale face swallows with fear, her cheeks now staining red. She nods.

"Yes, ane." I know she wonders why, so I answer.

"You look fat." I state as she turns and walks off, her head hanging, "You should really lose some weight."

She does not answer, but just leaves. I stand there, my eyes following her until she disappears around the corner. I do not care if she is hurt. She needs to hear the truth from me, as from others would just cause more pain. I turn and walk back to the mirrors, staring into my reflection one last time. I call Kazu over to fix the underrobe as it has started to slip away and show more skin than I had intended. As she fixes it, she murmurs something quietly.

I do not hear it, so I demand her to repeat it. She does not do as I say. I turn and slap her. She reels back, almost falling into the wall. As she sits on her knees, holding her face and sobbing, I demand her to repeat it. She does.

"I have just acknowledged that you do not treat your sister as fairly as you should," tears roll down her cheeks, she breaths heavily. Her face is red and swollen, her eyes puffed up. She looks atrocious. "But who am I to say such things, when you have treated me with such fairness?"

Yes, that is right. She has no reason to say such things. She is traitorous.

After another minute of sobbing, I tell her to leave. And she does, her tears falling to the ground. The door slides shut noisly, though she tries to be quiet. I step back up on the pedestal and stare at myself. Poor Kazu.

She will always be ugly.

A/N: I am sorry she is so rude, but you know that'll change. All with a matter of time. Please, just give it time. I hope you like it! R&R?