Party Lines


It was the age of rotary phones and long curly cords that tangled up fast and tight.  The young lad, with nothing better to do, softly slipped up the handset and, ever so gently, slipped it up to his ear.  Anxious, his breathing muted, he listened as the girls gossiped on the party line.  He quietly slid his back down the wall and sat on the worn wooden floor whose grooves were now like old friends.

It took a few heartbeats and keen listening to decipher what was happening between the giggles and the girls. Time stood still and his senses were on high alert, scared of being caught.  If at any second a sibling burst into the bedroom he’d find himself praying the rosary later that night.

Suddenly, a boy’s name was mentioned that he recognized.  His eyes widened and his hand caught the gasp trying to escape his mouth as the girl on the party line detailed their kiss behind her father’s Chevy.

“I think someone’s listening!”  “The line is busy.  Hang up the phone!”  Benjamin froze.  He slowly replaced the handset  and hurried out of the bedroom.  Unable to erase the image and embarrassment from his mind, he jumped on his red Schwinn and pedaled as fast as he could down the road to his favorite vantage point behind the shady sycamore tree. A stone’s throw away, in the gravel driveway, was parked the Chevy.

And there, he waited.

3 thoughts on “Party Lines

  1. I love the beautiful imagery in the first paragraph. “It was the age of rotary phones and long curly cords that tangled up fast and tight.” really caught my attention. There is something about that line that places it in the right time period. The words “it was the age of” give the piece importance and validity. In my mind, I hear a low baritone voice reading this aloud. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i really like this story. I remember those phones and party lines and picking up to eavesdrop. There’s a whole world in your story — the red Schwinn, the Chevy, the tangled cord of the phone, the boy sliding down the wall to listen. Nothing more even needs to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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