by Melinda Gallo

Ciao, ciao, ciao

Dave asked me the other day why I say ciao so many times when I hang up the phone after talking with my friends. It took me a few conversations to notice that I say it three times in a row almost every single time. I would generally end a typical conversation like this, "OK, a presto. Ciao ciccia. Ciao, ciao, ciao." (OK, see you soon. Bye sweetie. Bye, bye, bye) with my voice fading with each ciao.

At first, I tried to figure out why I did that and couldn't come up with a good explanation. I then started paying closer attention to my friends who, I realized, do exactly the same thing. No matter how we end the conversation, we say "ciao" at least three, and sometimes four, times in a row just before hanging up.

I also noticed that today as I was leaving the shop, I said, "Grazie, buona sera." (Thanks, good evening). The woman responded, "Prego. Buona sera. Ciao!" (You're welcome. Good evening. Bye!) And when I said, "ciao," the woman said "ciao" again as I was closing the door behind me.

It's as if we are trying to fill up the increasing space between us with more words so that there is no silence while we are parting ways. As if we keep up the conversation until the very last second and once we hang up the phone or shut the door, our connection is finally broken.

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