Writing Prompt: I don’t understand.

Good morning everybody. I’ll admit, I am getting a bit of a slow start this morning. My baggy eyes either say go back to bed for a few more hours or pound a lot of coffee. I’m going with option b. So Now that I am mildly caffeinated, let’s start with the morning prompt. Ready? God. Then let’s get started.

Okay I’m a bit more awake now and I found this one oddly hard to stop. The timer went off and I really had a difficulty pulling my hands away from the keyboard. No idea where this is going, but I really wanted to keep going. Always a good sign.

Tuesday, September 14th: I don’t understand.

“I don’t understand,” he said. 

Harrison looked at him over his glasses.  For a moment he studied him, taking in the confusion, the bewilderment, the shock. Harrison fought to keep his face neutral. “What is it you don’t understand?” Harrison asked.  He kept his tone light, polite.

“Any…any of it.”

Harrison struggled to control a sigh.  He shuffled the papers in front of him to cover up the small sound he was not able to control.  “The basics are quite clear even if the language is more legal than you are used to.  There were terms set out for you.  Terms that would allow you to keep drawing an allowance. You have violated those terms.  Therefore this month’s bills will be covered and you will be given a small stipend to see you settled.”

“Settled?” he repeated.  Jerome shook his head.  “He means me to leave.”

“I believe your uncle has given you an alternative.  You can either pay rent on the property you are currently occupying or you may vacate to one more suitable to your needs. The rental rates are clearly stipulated in the paperwork before you and Mr. Thomas would like a response within two weeks so that he can arrange any necessary repairs prior to it being put on the rental market.”

Jerome flipped through his own pages.  The shuffling was loud in the small office. He found the page he wanted and his lips moved as he read over the lines.

“This rent is outrageous,” he declared.  Spots of color were rising in his cheeks. 

“It is the going rate,” Harrison said.  It was a lie of course, but Mr. Thomas asked it of him.  The rent was in fact half of what he would get on the open market. He was in his own way, being kind.  With an bit of a life style adjustment, Jerome could continue to live in the house and pay the required rent.  Mr. Thomas wanted his nephew to grow up and take responsibility for his life, he didn’t wish him destitute.

“Well, it is quite impossible,” Jerome said.  The voice was lofty, condescending. It put Harrison’s back up but he swallowed his irritation. He knew there were others in the firm who would enjoy dealing with Jerome more, but Harrison felt he owed it to Mr. Thomas to at least afford him as much dignity as the situation allowed.  He had known Mr. Thomas most of his life and felt he would want that.

“I will inform Mr. Thomas of your intent to vacate,” Harrison said politely.  He reached for his pen to make a note. Jerome licked his lips, angry color fading to pasty white. There was a slightly panicked look in his eyes now.  Fear drained away some of the haughtiness and Harrison felt the stirrings of some pity.   Mr. Thomas wasn’t a bad man, but he could be a hard one.  Harrison argued for a six month decrease in funds to help slowly edge Jerome on his way but Mr. Thomas was finally done and demanded immediate action.  It took all of Harrison’s powers of persuasion to convince him to grant the thirty days.  As Jerome returned to studying the pages, Harrison wondered why he felt compelled to speak up for the man.  He didn’t like him and Jerome thought him contemptable. 

‘Perhaps it is my own past returning to me,’ Harrison thought.

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