Marko's breakfast before work have been getting progressively more and more dejected and slow. He works for 6 hours which feels more like 12 for pay that's a joke. The only thing he has to look forward to is the distant possibility of a promotion.
Thankfully, the couple will not be dependent solely on Marko's income for much longer. The garden is very close to bearing harvestables!
To hasten her plants' growth, Persis has been using fish as fertilizer and to this end goes fishing frequently. However, as time passes by, it also becomes a relaxing hobby. It's just her, the water, and the breeze. She can, and often does, stay by the shoreline for hours with her fishing pole, just letting her thoughts wander. Which is a good thing considering just how many fish she needs to sustain her small garden.
After work, Marko meets up with Kenji Midden at the library. He does this under the guise of getting to know his neighbors, but at this point Marko is so desperate for adult interaction that he'd talk to just about anybody. Their banal small talk is relieving for Marko who only deals with erratic children all day.
The subject of the summer festival comes up. As can be expected for such a small town, this is one of the "big" events everyone looks forward to.
"Actually, I think I might have a party," Marko replies when Kenji asks if he'll be going to the festival, "Have people from the neighborhood over, like a block party, you know? I think it would be easier to get to know everyone that way," he flashes his patented charismatic smile. Kenji promises to come and ask Hailey and Benney if they'd like to attend as well.
Wheels begin to spin in Marko's head- who else should he invite?
Persis is completely unaware of her husband's plan to invite a swarm of strangers into their home. Instead, she thinks about how cute Marko looks in this picture of him that she just took. The smile in the photo isn't his "patented" smile, it's the real one, the one Persis sees when no one else is around. She grins over her shoulder at Marko, who is busy vandalizing their lawn. Marko looks up and grins back reflexively. Whatever puts Persis in a good mood puts him in a good mood.
"What is it?" he asks, still smiling. He catches her staring at him pensively quite often, but it is rare that she's like this, beaming at him.
She just shakes her head and laughs, not sure how to verbalize what she's feeling. Marko laughs along with her, and continues his ground mural while Persis browses the internet on her phone, both of them quietly existing together.
And while Marko is at work, Persis quietly does household chores. Their small budget when furnishing the house meant cheap plumbing, which means a frequently blocked up toilet. Persis is so used to this that she doesn't even bother putting on shoes before wading into the flooded bathroom and unclogging the toilet with a determined vengeance. When they have more money, she swears she will buy a new toilet. And more lights.
And that might be quite soon. Persis' garden is finally in bloom!
Now Persis is no expert, but she'd say these tomatoes are rather excellent, so she is confident that they will sell for quite a bit of money.
She wastes no time in hauling her produce to the consignment store and only barely registers the tron costume the cashier is wearing. There are more important matters at hand.
Marko does fairly well today, and his earnings are enough to buy a washing machine to accompany the hamper in the living room. Unfortunately, the Winterlys can't afford a drying machine just yet.
Mere moments after Persis and Marko wiped out their family funds to buy the washing machine, some of Persis' produce sold, immediately propelling her to level 4 of her career and giving the family enough money to procure a dryer. The real victory is in the little things.
To unwind after his long, stressful days at work, Marko turns to graffiti. He only does it on his private property, so he reasons it's more akin to artistic expression than vandalism. Like an artist signing off their paintings he likes to think.
Marko signs a lot.
And protests. The world needs to know that hatred is bad! If he doesn't spread this message, who will!?
The bucktooth whale? You can't trust a whale with teeth! You can't trust anybody.
"Do you sell earplugs?" Persis desperately seeks an escape from her husband and his megaphone.
"Ah, is your little one keeping you up? Trust me, it doesn't stop anytime soon," the cashier replies, a knowing gleam in her eye. Before Persis can tell her that she doesn't have children, the cashier goes "to the back" to see if they have any in stock.
Children? Do I even look old enough to have a baby? Persis shakes her head, dismissing her sudden vanity. There's no way me and Marko could even have kids right now. We can't even afford extra lamps for the kitchen! Her head swims as she mentally estimates how much a crib would cost, much less remodeling the spare room in the house to accommodate a baby. She shakes her head again. Why am I even thinking about this? Me and Marko haven't even talked about having kids! I'm just being silly...
Meanwhile on the other side of town, Marko makes a masochistic trip to the bookstore to stare at the books he cannot afford to buy. When he gets out, he runs into someone new! Appaloosa Plains is too small not to know everyone, so Marko immediately makes Gracie Loveland's acquaintance.
For whatever reason, Marko tells her that his favourite food is pumpkin pie. Gracie acts...politely interested. Marko has yet to develop his charisma skill very much and he has much to learn about making interesting conversation with strangers. Still, the corners of her mouth twitch as she supresses a smile. His enthusiasm for pie is quite cute, she must admit.
So cute, in fact, that Gracie decides to make a move on him right then and there.
"Let me show you a magic trick..." Marko waits expectantly, expecting a rabbit or doves to fly out of her hands.
OH no. Marko tries to think of a polite way to extricate himself from this situation.
"That's, um, pretty cool!" he says half-heartedly. Gracie is socially aware enough to see his discomfort, but is more confused than offended by it. She's not used to her advances being rejected! She must have miscalculated somewhere...
Marko manages to salvage the conversation with his best mayor impersonation. He doesn't know anything about Appaloosa Plains politics, so he has to improvise.
"...that's not a horse, that's my wife!"
Gracie bursts out in laughter, mainly because the mayor of Appaloosa Plains is actually a (heterosexual) woman. Marko is unaware of this and smiles broadly, happy to have smoothed things over.
They part with a friendly hug and an invitation to come to Marko's Leisure day party.
Persis decides to skip fishing today and go for a swim. Even though it's early evening, the temperature is still in the mid-twenties (for those who use fahrenheit, this is mid-seventies), making for some agreeable weather for a day at the beach.
Seeing as no one is around, Persis really lets loose and smiles in public.
This smile turns into a gasp and a slight jump when Persis notices a shark mere metres away.
That's enough of the beach for today!
So great is Persis' terror that she can't even wait for a regular taxi on the road and uses the boat-taxi. It takes her considerably longer to get home, and she spends even more time in the water, so one could argue that this was a completely pointless course of action.
Persis is mostly calm by the time she strides through the front doors, still in her bathing suit. She feels a bit ridiculous for her overreaction- it was a rather small shark after all- but at the same time is glad to be home. It's quite late anyways, as her growling stomach reminds her, so it's a good thing she left.
Marko comes into the kitchen to greet Persis after his shower.
"You went swimming?" he glances questioningly at her swimwear. He struggles to remember the last time she wore a bathing suit, and eventually gives up. It's been too long.
Persis nods, and then shrugs, not feeling the need to explain. At the expectant look in Marko's eyes she sighs and relents. "I went to the beach."
Marko waits for a more elaborate explanation, but it's obvious that Persis doesn't feel like talking about her day. He doesn't really understand why Persis doesn't like going over her day with him, only giving short answers like, "Fine" and "My day was good", but he knows better than to press the issue. Instead, he grins and looks her up and down. "You should definitely go swimming more. For your health, you know?"
Persis catches on and smirks. "Maybe I would if I had someone to swim with."
Marko can think of better social activities than swimming.
Persis comes around to his way of thinking.
And after a long day of work, they fall asleep nestled against each other, comfortable and warm. Neither of them can imagine a better ending to their day.