Marmalade

Aaron sent a group of tourists reeling as he barged them out of the way and threw himself at the door of the café. The door slammed open, and Aaron went sprawling to the floor. He picked himself up and looked around for the coat hook, he began to hang the soaking wet jacket on top of another one, before dropping it short of the hook.

As the rain water pooled around the crumpled jacket, he sat down in a booth and leaned over the table with his head in his hands. The strip lighting on the ceiling reflected off the plastic table cover and flickered in his eyes. He moved around to the other side of the table and leaned back against the vinyl covered seating and closed his eyes.

‘What do you want?’ the waiter asked, notepad and pen in hand. 

Aaron continued to sit there with his eyes closed, ‘toast and strawberry jam’. 

He heard the waiter walk away and looked around at the other customers. As he watched them drink coffee and stuff food into their mouths, he instinctively ran his fingers over the bite mark on his arm.

The waiter returned and placed a plate of toast and marmalade in front of him, then poured out a glass of water, ‘no jam, we only have marmalade’. 

The waiter took out his pad of paper and began walking over to another customer. Aaron reached for the glass and his hand began to shake. He threw the glass on the floor, then swept his arm across the table, sending the plate clattering to the ground. 

The waiter turned and looked down at the marmalade smeared on the floor. Then he saw Aaron with both hands on the table, glaring at him, his teeth bared and saliva dripping onto the table. The waiter put the notepad back into his pocket.

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