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Ben Brooks


Other People’s Lives

Summer 2002 | Fiction

For six years she had worked in an office where the telephones rang constantly, but in the last week, each time her phone went off, Moira jumped and blanched. She turned the ringer down, but it didn't help. This reaction to the telephone began when she moved away from Peter. From PJ. She had gone to stay with her brother and his family until she could get herself back on her feet, and she knew PJ would never call over there. If he called at all, it would be to her office. It would not be so bad to talk to him, Moira thought—to gauge how he had taken her leaving—once she got past the shock. She'd let the phone ring several times to give herself a moment to get composed, but when she answered, it was never him. It was someone from the housing department, or from welfare, or a school counselor, phoning her back about one of her clients.