Me: So… I sent my picture to A.
Mother: The one I saw? On the computer?
Me: Ya. I took it with the webcam.
Mother: How do you do this? You should teach me.
Me: I tried getting Fluffy in the background. I put a treat for him on the floor, right where I wanted him. But he snapped it and went out of the frame with it. And that stupid painting of him showed up on the photo. I forgot to remove it.
Mother: It’s not stupid. My Fluffy is not stupid. You’re stupid!
Me: Fluffy barks at his own reflection, he doesn’t come when you call him, and he walks on top of the sofa to get to his spot at the other end, like a cat, instead of just jumping there. And that painting is embarrassing. I’m throwing it out.
Mother: Don’t you dare! Go back to Vienna! How can anyone like you?!
Me: Everybody likes me!
Mother: Well, I don’t!
Me: Yes you do.
Mother: No I don’t!! You drive me crazy in my own home!!
Me: So do you!! In your own home!!
Mother: You mean she liked you without knowing what you looked like?
Me: No. I mean yes.
Mother: All this time. And she didn’t know?
Mother: Did she say anything?
Mother: What did she say?
Me: She said it was it was nice to see who she’d been talking to so earnestly all this time.
Mother: Is she a diplomatic sort?
Me: Always. It was short, she’s also very busy now.
Mother: Are you disappointed?
Me: Not sure. Should I be?
Mother: What kind of men does she like?
Me: Never said. But from the photos, my guess would be fair-haired and lean. Hungry looking, artsy types for all I know.
Mother: Her boyfriends?
Me: No, just folks… and her ex-husband. More women than men, though, in the pictures. Hard to say.
Mother: What did you expect her to say?
Me: I dunno. Something. Like I have a small nose. Anything. I told her she was beautiful right away.
Mother: She’s got a very okay face.
Me: Shouldn’t she have said something?
Mother: Don’t be silly. A girl doesn’t come out saying things right away. What do you expect?
Me: And these days, I’d have to grow on people. Well, it just gets tougher, doesn’t it.
Mother: What about people who know you. What’s going on with Severin?
Me: You must be kidding. I know her too well, she makes life worse.
Mother: I liked Severin. She was fun, but she was after money.
Me: If she was, she didn’t get very far. She’s stuck in Los Angeles now, in a million-dollar home they can’t sell. She wanted things right away, and when she had them, she didn’t like them anymore. Sound familiar?
Mother: Don’t you start. Don’t compare this bird brain with me!
Me: I thought you liked her!