“Got to get a haircut,” Jim said to himself, accidently out loud. An elderly woman in front of him turned and stared. “No, not you!”
As per usual, his wandering thoughts and a tendency to speak out loud to himself was going to get him in trouble.
“I was talking to myself. I need a haircut. See?” Jim shook his head so the hair covered his eyes. “I can barely see!”
The woman murmured something Jim couldn’t hear and turned away. She was now at the front of the queue. Jim looked at cheques and deposit book in his hands. He wished his clients wouldn’t pay be cheque. Cash he could handle, but everything seemed so confusing with cheques. It wasn’t the 1950s; surely they could just go to the ATM? He’d been told off by one client for not cashing the cheque soon enough, but he’d been scared to go to the bank. He always felt so small in the bank. He wasn’t a stupid man, but he seemed to lose any intelligence he had as soon as he walked in through the door.
The woman had moved to a cashier, and now he was at the front of the line. He tried to slow his breathing. It was fine. Everything was fine.
“Next, please.” The bored voice called. Jim looked along the row of cashiers and spotted the free one, looking distracted yet impatient. He walked to the window and placed his deposit book in the little tub.
“Can I please deposit these cheques?”
The woman looked at the book and looked at the cheques. She looked at him. He tried to look innocent. He wondered why he felt that he was guilty of something when he wasn’t. She clicked on the keyboard, her acrylic nails so long that the pads of her fingers had no hope of hitting the keys.
Jim looked at the clock. Quarter past eleven. What did that mean? He looked along the row at the other customers. The woman who’d been ahead of him in the queue earlier now looked at him with disapproval.
“That’s done. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Jim shook his head, scared that he would say something stupid like “Give me all your money” then took the deposit book and walked out. It felt like the air around him was thick, like he was walking through the shallow end of the pool he’d learnt to swim in when he was a child.
When he made it through the front doors, he allowed himself a breath, but he didn’t totally relax until he was around the corner. He’d done it for another week.