The ticking of the clock gave away the seconds that passed, though it felt more like an eternity. Nervous fingers fidgeted with the sleeves they were contained in until a small Rubiks cube was slid across the table. The eyes that were previously darting all over the place suddenly stilled at the object. A shaky breath was exhaled before a hand reached towards the cube, immerging into the patterns to make it whole again.
"Take your time to think about what you wanted to say, we're not in a hurry," said a soft voice, breaking the silence.
A curt nod was given as response, with eyes glued to the object in hands containing a slight tremor. The pattern making went on for a few seconds until it was solved. Suddenly, the cube was placed back onto the spot it was taken from. With that motion, eyes also went up, finally looking at the person on the other side of the table.
"I'm," he started with a head jerk, "I'm going to do it." It sounded as if the words escaped his lips by how rushed they came out of his mouth.
A small and encouraging smile graced the features of the person in front of him. "Please, explain what you mean with going to do it."
An involuntary nose scrunch appeared at the words. "You know," he said trailing off before realizing that he had to actually convey in words what he meant and that the other didn't automatically get him. It disgruntled him a little, but he continued anyway, "What we talked about two weeks ago. I'll- I'll call them. I'll call the clinic, make an appointment with them."
"That's good, that's great. What made you change your mind since the last time we met?" The words sounded pleasant to him, like actual genuine curiosity. It made a smile appear on his face; small but real. The nerves weren't gone yet, not at all, but he felt a slight relief at the tonation.
"Well, I thought about it for a while... I'll be twenty in a few months. Let's say that the average human lifespan is eighty years; that would mean that I've almost spent a quarter of my life already. I've spent a quarter of my life, not doing what I want to do. Always just trying to appease others, always putting my own issues down for the sake of not inconveniencing my family or friends. Actually, that also goes for strangers," he trailed off at the last sentence again before another involuntary head jerk happened, snapping him out of it.
Fingers started to tap against the table in a distinctive pattern. The chair made a noise as the weight on it was shifted, now having a leg, which was pulled up, between it and the body. A hard blink was created by his eyes before he continued talking, "So, I've decided that I want to live these upcoming three quarters my own way. I want to follow my gut, get closer to the goal I've always had. This involves getting actually in contact with the clinic."
"I'm proud of you that you've decided that. It's not an easy choice to make, especially with the fears you've had, so I'm truly proud of you."
His blood rushed towards his cheeks against his will, not being used to compliments. "Thank you," he said with a small smile, ducking his head slightly.
"And I know that it'll take at least another two years before I'll actually have the appointment itself. It's a long waiting list... Hence why I'm going to call right after I go away. But it's totally worth it!" he started to talk more animatedly. "All the benefits it'll deliver! I'll finally be closer to who I see myself as, and I'll finally get to live as myself," he said as he let his hands point at himself, moving along his body.
"You've started to research more about it, haven't you?" The words came out playfully.
A few nods of excitement were given as response. "I have. You know that I tend to look up everything once I'm really interested in something. And even though this topic has been an interest of mine for a few years now, I never really had the courage to get more into it. An irrational fear, thinking that once I start to get into it, it would actually be true. But it turned out to be true anyway."
"Well, it's not something that would just change based on the words you read. It's something that's inside of you."
"That's true, I've realized that by now. It might've taken me years, but I'm getting there," an embarrassed chuckle escaped his lips, "little by little. Babysteps, right?"
A glance made its way towards the clock, which still gave away the seconds that passed. However, now it seems that time flew by. What felt like an eternity before, now felt like mere minutes.
"Ah," he let out astonished, nose scrunch accompanying the sound. "It's time. But that was most of what I wanted to say, anyway. Perfectly timed," he said with a grin.
"That's good then," the person across from him smiled. "We did already have a followup appointment planned, right?" Another nod followed the sentence. "Great. Then, in that case, will you let me know how the call went next time?"
The chair was pushed backwards once his leg escaped from under his body. Hands pushed the body up off of the table. "Of course! I ought to share it with somebody, if not, I'll explode." The leather jacket that hung over the chair's back was now lifted.
"I'll see you next time," he said while he pushed the chair against the table. He received a small wave back, and with that, he walked out of the small office. Arms wormed their way into the jacket's sleeves.
Once he stood outside of the building, his arms reached above his head. A deep breath was inhaled before he let it escape again. Hands had a tremor to them, which he tried to shake off.
A few steps were taken towards the bike he came on. He didn't get on it, however. Instead, he decided to sit next to it, taking his phone out of his pocket. Tentative fingers hovered over the buttons before he found enough courage to actually press them.
"Hello? Am I speaking with the gender clinic? I'd like to make an appointment," his voice started shaking from the anxiety that came along with it. "Ah, yes. I know that the waiting lists are long." The fingers of his free hand started to fidget with his sleeve. "I've never... felt one with my body. I'm absolutely positive that I am actually a man, and would like to make the changes to make myself feel more comfortable with my life. Thank you," he said as a smile graced his lips. With that, he gave his e-mail address and other information they required.
It was a change. One that would drastically affect his life, definitely, but he was ecstatic. Usually, he feared change, but this one he knew he wouldn't mind. It was a change that was needed, one that would get him closer to his ultimate life goal. A goal he kept secret for almost twenty years, but he was now ready to face it.