“Hi Mum.”
“Hi B.”
“Did we plan to have lunch tomorrow?”
“Well. It’ll have to be after yoga.”
“What? Lunch?”
“Well is it lunch? I thought we were going shopping so I could get you something for Christmas?”
[I grit my teeth. Doesn’t this woman know that the only thing I need right now is cash?] “OK, that would be good. Where did you want to go?”
[This was my fatal error. She pauses for a nanosecond, and I know what she’s decided.] “Let’s just go down Hampton Street.”
[Count to ten. Count to ten again. It doesn’t help. I start to whine.] “But muuuuum.”
“But what?” she cuts in, and sniffs – “I’ve got a cold.”
“Um, I’m staying in Collingwood and getting around on public transport, and you, on the other hand, have just suggested that we hook up two minutes from your own house. Last time I checked, you had a car?”
[She does The Sigh. The one I will devote my life endeavouring never to replicate.] “What do you have to get? A couple of trains?”
[I can practically hear her foot tapping. I am in Hell. I buckle.] “OK, I’ll meet you in Hampton Street. What time and where?”
[We decide on a time.] “What about your sister, have you seen her lately?”
I groan. Loudly.
Mother. She is sitting a metre to my right. She works here now, just like you always said she should. Hello?”
“Put her on please.”
[I give the phone to my sister with such force that I almost insert it into the side of her head by mistake. She wiggles out of my mothers lunch invitation like an eel – something that’s easier to do when you live in the same city. She hands the phone back to me as I mouth evil curses.] “OK then B,” says my mother, the noise of Southland Shopping Centre seeping down the phoneline but unfortunately not rendering her inaudible, “I’ll see you at 1pm in Hampton Street. Bye!”
I do growling noises down the phone
Later, on our way out to drinks, my boss says I look stressed, and that I needn’t be, because everything this week went off without a hitch. I tell him I just spoke to my mother, and paraphrase the conversation. To my surprise he recounts a very similar encounter that he had with his dad a few months back, and I feel a bit better. Then I have Christmas drinks and they improve me too.