“Mom, you’re on mute.” Kassandra tries hard not to roll her eyes. She can read her mother’s lips: what do I do? “There’s a little button at the bottom. Shaped like a microphone. You can click on it.” Where? “Hover your cursor over the bottom of your screen, Mom.” What’s a cursor? “Where’s Dad?” She sees him walk into the room behind her mother and wave. “Dad, can you help Mom?” He pretends not to hear, or understand, just mouths I love you and goes away again.
“He’s awfully busy, dear, even on Christmas.” Suddenly her mother’s voice fills the room.
“You got it to work, Mom!” Kassandra cheers.
“Did I? I wonder how.”
“It doesn’t matter. It’s good to hear your voice, and see you, Mom.” A swell of pressure around her heart surprises Kassandra as she realizes how good it is, indeed.
“Where are you, Kassandra? What is that place? Are you at work?”
“This is my studio, Mom. I thought you might like to see some of the pieces I’m working on.”
“Oh. It looks like an alley full of trash.”
“I use found objects. Make them into new things, beautiful things.”
“Well, I hope you wear gloves. I’m surprised your boss lets you touch garbage.”
Kassandra knows her parents will never understand her art, or her willingness to work in a coffee shop, or really much of anything about her choices.
“How are you and Dad, Mom?” As she changes the subject, Kassandra holds onto her love for her mother, holds it tenderly, like a baby mouse.