James held the pen in his hand. All he had to do was sign the piece of paper in front of him. Gerald sat opposite on him, separated by the desk. He kept a close watch on the pen in James’ hand. Gerald was consciously trying to stop himself from rubbing his hands together, but all he could do was slow the motion.
James’ mother sat behind him; she stared at the back of his head. Even though James could not see her, he could feel her eyes drilling into him, trying to hurry him along.
Gerald licked the corner of his mouth a gesture that James noticed out of the corner of his eye. James repeatedly clicked his pen with one hand and with the other moved the contract up and down on the desk. The print became a blur as James struggled to focus his eyes.
“All you have to do is sign James,” Gerald said. Gerald brought a hand up to his mouth before quickly pulling it away and putting it flat on the desk. James looked down at Geralds’ hand it was subtly, soundlessly tapping the table. James looked at Gerald’s fingers, the tears of dry skin and nails that were nubs. Gerald grimaced ever so slightly and looked away.
“All I have to do is sign along the dotted line. Then that’s me locked in. I’m taking this moment in”. said James looking at Gerald.
“Everything is in order; you were locked in a week or two ago so really this is just a formality.” Said Gerald, shifting in his seat.
“That’s true, but from a technical, legal perspective it isn’t a lock until I sign.” Said James., James heard his mother sigh behind him, and he smiled.
“Just get on with it James, this was only supposed to be a quick stop off on the way,” James’ mother said. “Everyone wants this for you, and you want it for yourself,” she said and cleared her throat.
“I’m not sure that it is what I want. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s for me and for my benefit and, to be honest, I don’t think that is the case. Everyone else is excited for me” said James.
“It’s because they care for your well being,” said his mother.
“That’s a lovely sentiment, and I’d like to believe that however there is this part of me that just can’t. Gerald here, he doesn’t care” said James to his mother but looked directly at Gerald.
“The only thing that I care about is getting a signature, so not to rush or pressure you, just sign the contract,” said Gerald.
“So I can get a house,” said James.
“So you can get a mortgage,” said Gerald smiling at James. Gerald and James held eye contact for several seconds before James broke it off. James looked down at the contract and clicked the pen some more. James brought the piece of paper closer to him and put the pen to the line.