As I fumbled to put my headset on Aurora introduced herself by passing the moist towelettes and motioning for me to wipe my keyboard. I learned her name when I overheard it included in the greeting: “Hi, this is Aurora, how can I assist you?”
We chatted until the calls from Hurricane Sandy victims interrupted our conversation. Sometimes our callers were heartbroken homeowners, taking off from work to wait in the cold besides their decimated households, only to be stood up by a city hired contractor. I slumped in my chair and passively took their vocal lashings. But Aurora was assertive, professionally apologizing for their inconvenience and offering to reschedule their appointment; not wasting a moment of her time and always able to pick conversation up right where we left off—her son was as white as me.
In between taking calls she spoke of her son’s upcoming Cars themed birthday party, lamenting (with a smile) his perpetual viewing of the film. She considered hosting it at the Chuck E. Cheese’s in Atlantic Terminal, but reconsidered because there was no ball pit. “How can you have a party with no ball pit?”
Her ironic name, two inch plugs, jolly belly and healthy glow should have been indicative to a fetishist of her new pregnancy, which she gladly disclosed.
When Aurora noticed I finished my coffee (caffeine is bad for the baby because its a diuretic and increases heart rate) she offered me a peppermint globe. As I sucked the candy she blew the whistle on the dangerous amounts of mercury in tuna. She refused to sip alcohol to taste, and volunteered answers to questions I hadn’t the chance to ask yet. Native Floridan. Dominican heritage. “I’m not yet twenty.”
She was working twelve hour days in a call center and putting the money towards her son’s second birthday party.
I was working nine hour days so I could afford weekends of LSD and vodka.