Mean Ham

“I make a mean ham,” Jesper said proudly, puffing her chest out. “People who don’t like ham will like my ham,” she smiled. “They always tell me how much they enjoyed it afterwards. Usually in secret, though, because they don’t want word to get out how they’ll only eat my ham and no one else’s.”

Marionnette sat across the table, her elbows propped up, her chin rested lightly in her hands. It wasn’t considered very polite form, but Marionette was not feeling polite. She was actually doing all she could not to roll her eyes as Jesper blathered on and on about her stupid ham. Marionette looked down at her watch, sighing when she looked at the numbers. She never wore a watch before, but she felt strangely comforted by it, or at least, that’s what she told herself.

“Are you alright, Marionette? You look like you’d rather be any place else, except here with me. I’m just trying to help you make plans for the big day.”

Marionette looked up at Jesper, surprised. She had not seen the woman display an ounce of empathy in past years, and she wondered why all of a sudden it came out. It reminded her of their old days. “I’m just tired,” Marionette said, hardly meeting Jesper’s eyes, “that’s all.”

She rubbed her temples and sat back in her chair, sipping slowly on her coffee. She watched the skyline for a while, her forehead crinkling with every new observation. She watched the birds circle the harbor. She watched the ships moored to the docks as they danced with the waves. She watched the people, fishing from the pier.

Jesper stood up, dropping two twenties on the table. She looked at Marionette, still lost to her daydreams. Without a word, she shook her head and walked away.

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