Lunch with Mary

Mary sat at the table. Mom set two slices of bread on a plate. “Do you want mayonnaise?”

Mary scrunched up her nose. “Too slimy.”

“Mustard?”

“Too spicy,” Mary said.

“Ham?”

“Of course, silly,” Mary said.

“Cheese?”

“Lots.”

Mom smiled and added ham and cheese. “Lettuce?”

“Too green,” Mary said.

“Tomatoes?”

“I don’t like the seeds.” Mary kicked her heels against the chair legs. “Is it done yet?”

“I just have to cut it into squares,” Mom said.

Mary sat up straight and waved her arms. “Not squares! Triangles.”

“All right,” Mom said. “There you go.” Mom handed Mary a plate of ham sandwich triangles.

Mary took a bite of her sandwich. “Mmmm. Perfect.”

Mom made her own sandwich. It had mayonnaise and mustard and ham and cheese and lettuce and tomatoes. She cut it in half, so that there were two rectangles. She took a bite. Suddenly, Mary was standing at her elbow.

“What’s that?” Mary asked.

“Mine,” Mom said.

“But what is it?” Mary asked.

“It’s mine,” Mom said.

“Just tell me what it is,” Mary said.

“It’s a ham sandwich, just like yours,” Mom said.   “Except it has the things in it you didn’t want. See?”   Mom held the sandwich sideways to show Mary a cross section of the sandwich.

“Can I have a bite?” Mary asked.

“You haven’t eaten your sandwich yet,” Mom said.

“Just one bite,” Mary said.

“Fine, just one.” Mom held out the sandwich half. Mary took it away from her and took a monstrous bite.

“Mmmm. That’s good,” Mary said around her mouthful of sandwich.

Then, she took the sandwich half with her and sat at the table. She pushed her plate out of the way and ate Mom’s sandwich in big bites.

Mom sighed and picked up the other half of her sandwich.   She ate a bite. Suddenly, Mary was standing at her elbow.

“I’m hungry,” Mary said. “Can I have that?”

“This is mine,” Mom said. “You haven’t eaten the rest of your sandwich. Eat that.”

“But I like yours more,” Mary said. “Please?”

“Okay,” Mom said. She held out the sandwich.

Mary took it and sat down at the table. “You can have my sandwich,” she said.

Mom took the plate and opened up the sandwich and pushed the triangles together. She added mayonnaise and mustard and lettuce and tomato. She cut the sandwich again to cut through the lettuce and tomato. She ate one bite. Suddenly, Mary was standing at her elbow.

Mary held out the rest of the sandwich half. It looked like she’d eaten two bites. “I’m full,” she said. “You can have it back.” Then she skipped out of the kitchen.

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