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Slow and Steady

by Ajay Tulsiani

Seated on his bed, Jacob counted the money for the fifth time. Five thousand dollars. He put them in his wallet then got up, went out, and closed the door. At the living room, he opened his wallet and counted the money again. Midway he lost count and began again from start. After confirming the amount, he opened his bedroom door, headed to the window, and pressed the closed panes to be sure they were shut.

He opened his wallet again and counted the money again. Then he stepped out of his house, only to enter again, and check whether the window in the living room was closed.

“I can’t do this today.” He sat on the couch and called his therapist.

After three rings, Gino answered. “Hello, Jacob, how are you doing?”

“Miserably,” replied Jacob. “I can’t do this today.” He raised the wallet to his face. “What if someone mugs me on the way? I can’t defend myself. You know I get intimidated very easily.”

“Nothing of this sort will happen, Jacob,” said Gino. “The bank is just across the street. It’ll hardly take two minutes to reach it.”

“What if the bank gets robbed while I’m depositing the money?”

“One second.”

Jacob shrugged.

“I just checked on the Internet, Jacob, and the last bank robbery in this city occurred fifteen years ago.”

“I bet sixteen years ago the customers never thought that a year later their bank would be robbed,” said Jacob. “I’m sorry, I’m really...” He took some quick breaths.

“Relax, Jacob. We’ve discussed this before. If there’s any place the money isn’t safe, it’s inside your house. The exercise was to deposit all your life savings inside the bank. We had decided to start with five thousand. Now how about we start with one thousand dollars?”

Jacob shook his head. “Five hundred. Or, better still, one hundred. I’ll deposit one hundred dollars in the bank today but, if I feel the bank is unsafe, I’ll withdraw the money right away.”

“Okay, Jacob, you deposit one hundred dollars in the bank today. We’ll discuss this at your next session.”

Jacob nodded. “Thank you. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

“Goodbye, Jacob, and take care.”

Jacob hung up, removed a hundred-dollar bill from his wallet and placed the remaining money inside the closet in the bedroom. After checking that the window was closed, he left the bedroom and closed the door. He then checked that the window of the living room was closed and then stepped out of his house.

A car was coming from the left. It was about thirty feet away when Jacob raised his foot to cross the road. In the next moment, he shook his head and stood still, waiting for the car to pass. A truck came next. After that, two more cars passed by. A few people crossed the street, but Jacob remained firm. When a cyclist came from the left, Jacob crossed the street knowing that the cycle couldn’t do him much harm.

Standing before the cashier, Jacob said, “I need to deposit money into my account.”

“Sure,” replied the cashier. “Just fill up this slip.” She handed him a leaflet.

“Okay.” Jacob wrote his name and then removed his wallet. He had written his account details in a card inside the wallet. He copied the account number onto the leaflet. He then checked whether he had written the right amount and account number, and handed the leaflet to the cashier.

“You haven’t filled in the date, sir, and you also have to sign.”

“I’m so sorry.” Jacob wrote the date and signed at the bottom right corner. He then checked whether he had written the correct account number and took a picture of the leaflet with his mobile phone before returning the leaflet to her. “Thank you,” he said then left the bank.

The air felt cooler, his shoulders felt light. He removed his mobile and the card from the wallet. He matched the account number in the photo with that in the card then headed home.

Throwing himself onto the couch, he called Gino.

“How did it go, Jacob?”

“Awesome! And I didn’t take much time to cross the road while returning. And the door is still open, but I don’t care. I think I’m cured.” He looked at the open door of the living room and shrugged. “I’m cured.”

“Jacob, therapy takes a lot of time to work.”

“I’m fine.”

“We’ll talk about that later. Now I want you to write down your thoughts in your journal.”

“Sure. I’m so happy. I think I’m cured. Five months of therapy has paid off.”

“I’m proud of you.”

“Even I’m proud of myself.”

“We’ll discuss today’s incident in the next session. Goodbye, Jacob.”

“Goodbye.” Jacob hung up and deleted Gino’s number from his mobile. There wouldn’t be any next session. He was cured. No point in wasting more money on therapy.

He closed the door of the living room, then headed to the bedroom, and stopped a few steps before the window. He shook his head dismissing the urge to check whether the window was closed. He turned off the lights and went to sleep.

A few moments later, a thought crawled into his mind. “You’ve put money in the right account. The window is closed. But are you sure it was a hundred-dollar bill and not a ten-dollar bill?”

Jacob’s eyes popped open. He opened his mobile and looked at the photo. He smacked his forehead for not taking a photo of the bill.

If it were a ten-dollar bill, the cashier would’ve pointed out the error in the leaflet, Jacob told himself. She can also put you in jail for fraud, said the thought.

Jacob shook his head and turned on the lights. He opened his mobile and scrolled down the log file. The last dialled number belonged to Gino. Jacob called him up and stomped to the window to check whether it was closed.

Copyright © 2020 by Ajay Tulsiani

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