The bell tolls every fifteen minutes instead of on the hour. It quarters her time, her life, her mind, until it takes fifteen minutes to eat lunch, read a memo, stretch her legs. The human mind is habitual and Sarah’s mind was no different. She allowed the nearby church bells to move her around her day like the hands circling a clock.
Then one day it stops. Nails are boarded over stained glass, the shingled roof caves in and the bell never chimes again. Except, of course, in Sarah’s mind. The paint starts to chip, the building is resold and refashioned, but for Sarah the song remains.
When new employees expand the company, they notice Sarah’s strict routine. One obnoxious intern sets his watch by it. Few are left to tell the story of the bells and to explain Sarah’s quartered life.
Some ask Sarah herself, why she puts her fork down with finality at the quarter mark, why she packs her bags to leave only as the hour turns.
As a reply, Sarah looks merely bewildered.