The couch spring pressed uncomfortably against my spine. The ancient couch may have once been a shade of blue but now it was a dingy gray. There were obvious sags where the cushions had been compressed over and over by the countless women sitting in this same office. The wall across from me had peeling paint that might have been yellow and a magazine rack barely clinging to the wall. The magazines were all at least four years old.
The telephone rang, and rang again before the receptionist finally picked it up. She, too, looked like she had been here too long and seen too much. Her drab green sweater was worn in places and ill-fitting on her plump frame. Her voice was harsh as she spoke into the receiver, a result of too many cigarettes. Though working here for as long as she had would drive anyone into vice.
The little bell above the door tinkled merrily, a stark contrast to the gloom of the rest of the office. The door swung open to admit a young woman. She was bundled against the cold, dry winter air that followed her in. She looked scared, under all of her heavy clothing, as all did when they entered for the first time.
Her eyes locked on to mine and she looked startled to see someone here that shared her fate. She smiled timidly at me. I scowled back, angry that she could still smile, even in a place like this. She dropped her eyes and her shoulders hunched under her coat. I felt a flash of vindictive glee that I had made someone else’s day just as shitty as mine. That’s right, sweetheart, life’s a bitch and so am I.
Writing prompts: winter, spring, telephone