Shelly sat quietly at her cubicle, chained to the phone system by an earpiece and wire that only allowed minimal movement. Her hands worked the crochet hook in her hands, the blanket well within company-mandated standards for “items phone reps are allowed to fiddle with while waiting for a call.”

The call center was a sea of cubicles, but while she was sitting down, she could pretend she was in her own little world. The desk across the narrow aisle was only in use during the morning and early afternoon, by one of the younger reps who, even when she was there, never paid any attention to Shelly. The young woman was planning her wedding, and had no interest in talking about anything that didn’t involve Vera Wang.

“Is she married? I thought she was married. She looks married…”

Shelly pretended she couldn’t hear. She learned so much more that way. The conversation buzzed briefly as two of her co-workers circled around the opposite side of her little island of cubicles.

No sooner had the voices passed then someone a few cubicles over asked “But I thought she was making that for a friend’s baby?”

Shelly couldn’t hear the rest, but she knew the rep in that particular cubicle would have said something like “Shh! She’s right there! She might hear you!” and then beckon the guest closer for a whispered session of office gossip.

A beep in her ear signaled that she had a call coming in. She finished the stitch she was on, pulled the loop out extra long so that it wouldn’t unravel, set her crochet hook down, glanced at the monitor so she knew which number the caller had dialed and, therefore, how she should answer the phone, and then politely did so in her well-rehearsed customer service voice.

Four calls later the call center entered another lull, and she picked up her crochet again. Instead of arranging it so she could continue to work, she smoothed it over her barely swelling tummy.

Tomorrow, I wear the new blouse. The one that fits snugly over not just the blossoming bosom, but the belly too!

Tomorrow, I’ll give them something more to talk about.

This little story was written for the Write On Edge Prompt:

A tiny poem by Robert Frost to inspire you this week:

The Secret Sits

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

I used to work in a call center. That’s why so many of my characters end up having similar jobs! This one is just a glimpse… totally unrelated to anything else.

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