“It’s simple. I can’t.”
A raised eyebrow, a slight twitch at the corner of the mouth. They sighed heavily, shaking their head before their hands snapped the folder shut, the sound of metal clinking against metal ringing in his ears.
“I don’t think you understand,” they said, again, in a menacingly quiet tone. “This isn’t something you can just pick and choose. Saying that you can’t… You can never go back on that, you know? It’s a one-time decision.”
He looked down at the hands folded in his lap. The person on the other side of the screen was smirking now, knowing the things that were going through his mind. Making a decision this major, this potentially devastating, so early in life, it could backfire spectacularly.
Why was he even standing here? Why was he saying these things? Why had he decided that it was him, that the words that they were about to scrawl down onto the paper would be him for the rest of his life and he would be okay with that?
Maybe it would look better when it was in black and white, when the ink was on the paper. Yeah… Yes, it would. He knew that. He’d been sure about everything else, everything else that had been written. He’d be sure about this one soon enough. Just give it time.
And that would follow him for the rest of his life, for better or for worse.
“It’s a one-time decision,” he echoed, eyes flickering to the paper, pen still poised to write on the dotted line. “And… and… I can’t. I’m happy with that.”
The person nodded, once up once down, before their ghostly pale hand began to slowly trace the words. His heart began to speed up, feeling the unfamiliar feeling of panic and sadness seep into his soul.
What if he changed his mind, one day? No, don’t think about that. Ever. He couldn’t change it now. He’d made his decision. That was him.
He couldn’t change it now.
The paper was passed back, the words neatly inked in spidery handwriting. He ran a finger over the words, coming back with perfectly legible letters and a clean hand. He looked up, swallowing his reservations and giving the person a small, awkward smile.
‘Thanks’, he wanted to say, but he didn’t.
You don’t thank someone for crushing you into a perfect little box.