Kassandra the barista’s strategy for ending phone calls with her mother: talk non-stop without breathing to prevent interruptions.
Kassandra had wanted to clear her attention for the wedding celebration, so she made her weekly call to her mother before she left her apartment. She waited until she could legitimately tell her mother she only had a few minutes to talk.
“Hi, Mom, it’s me,” she said when her mother picked up.
“Kassandra, darling. How are your finals coming along?”
“Finals were last week, mom, we talked about them then, remember?” Kassandra twirled a strand of hair around her left index finger, a nervous tic she’d had since girlhood.
“Oh. Yes, now you mention it. Then you must be looking for a summer internship. Do you want your father to find something for you?”
“No. I’m working at the coffee shop this summer like always, and taking a couple of classes too.”
“I applaud your dedication, darling, taking summer school. But how does the coffee shop get you ahead?”
Kassandra swallowed a sigh. “I like the work. And it helps pay for school. Mom, I have to go in a minute, but I wanted – ”
“Where are you going?” her mother interrupted with a tone of skepticism.
“To a wedding, Mom. But – ”
“One of your friends is getting married already? Kassandra, college is for building a career, not gaining an M.R.S. degree.”
“I know, Mom. This friend is an older woman. One of my professors, in fact. But – ”
“Not that art professor we met, the one who bids too much on eBay?” Kassandra resisted an urge to hang up.
“No. I mean, yes, that professor, but she doesn’t bid on eBay. I have to go, but I just wanted to call and check in. I know you worry if you don’t hear from me. So I will call you next weekend, okay? Thanks, Mom, I love you.” Kassandra’s strategy to end conversations with her mother was to talk continuously without breathing, so her mother couldn’t interrupt.
“I love you too. Don’t you want to talk to your father?”
“Tell Dad I love him too. Goodbye, Mom.” Kassandra clicked off. One more week of time bought before having to have The Conversation with her parents, the one in which she would tell them the truth about her future plans.
I suppose, she mused, that it will be exactly as dreadful as I imagine.