On Monday the week later, Joss got a phone call from the authorities. When he sent all those papers to be released from paying back his student loan, one form was not filled properly. According to the decree from last month, published in the official government journal, the agency for student loans only recognized when the main application document contained student’s signature in the bottom right corner on its back side. Joss remembered that he did sign the application on its back side, however, he put his signature in the bottom left corner. Cold sweat ran down his neck. The due date for sending a new, correctly signed application was Tuesday, the next day.
“But, I don’t have time to buy another application, fill it, go to the student’s service, get it approved and then send it to you,” Joss barely uttered. His entire body was shaking.
“If you do not make it until tomorrow, you can file for appeal. You can file for appeal within two weeks from receiving the official statement that you are obliged to pay back your student loan,” the voice on the phone said.
“And what documents do I need for that?” Joss asked.
“The appeal application form, your average grade during your studies, and the document which states that you have finished your studies,” the voice explained.
“Appeal application form? Where do I get that?” he replied.
“In any bookstore that also sells issues of the official government journal and documents,” the voice said. Joss took a deep breath. The voice was calm and patient, but still emotionless enough for Joss to doubt whether he was speaking with another person.
“So, now I need to wait for your statement?” Joss asked.
“Yes, the statement has already been sent. Expect it soon. All the best,” the voice replied and the call ended. Joss put down his phone and sat on the floor. The world surely did not break in half, but he was still depressed. Joss felt incompetent. All of that was happening for the most ridiculous reason. How could he make such an oversight? It seemed as if it was supposed to be made, though. He had to act fast. Maybe, if he managed to do it all in time, he would not even have to tell his parents about it. Joss was the one who made the mistake, and he was the one who had to correct it. It was nothing that could not be fixed. But, he had to be fast.
Joss went to a book store in town that sold papers and forms from the government. He got all that was necessary and then returned home to properly fill it according to the instructions he wrote down during the phone conversation. His hands were shaking as he put his name and the information about himself on the paper. Then, he carefully signed the appeal application and wrote the date of the signing after checking it four times on his calendar. One part of the process was done. He still had to wait for tomorrow to go to the university and get all the other documents required.
When he went to the university, it took him a while before he explained his problem to the student’s service clerk. The man behind the desk looked at him with a distant gaze, as if his mind was far away from where his body was. Joss was not even sure if he was listening to him at all. Occasionally, he would nod and close and open his eyes slowly, to signal that he was still alive.
“Alright, so basically you need the same papers you needed the last time you came to see me. I’ll write down your name and number, but the dean has to approve the documents before you can have them. She’s still in the building, I think…” the clerk suddenly stopped talking as if something broke his stream of thoughts and directed his attention elsewhere.
“Does that mean that I can have those documents approved today?” Joss asked excitedly.
“No, the dean is busy now. Come back tomorrow,” the man said after a pause.
“Tomorrow, at the same time?” Joss replied.
“Make sure you arrive at the end of the office hours, just to pick up the documents. You’re not the only one I have to take care of,” the clerk said with a sense of importance in his voice.
“Fine,” Joss sighed.
“Tomorrow, come back tomorrow,” the clerk waved his hand at Joss as a sign for him to leave. It was beyond Joss now, like it was so many time before. Joss was not someone who would give up easily, but he was getting fed up with all of it. Always, he followed the instructions and always did what he was supposed to do. And now, when he was so close to the end, he failed. Of course, he came back the next day to take the approved documents. It was twenty minutes before the closing time, and the line in front of him was reaching the stairs near the front door. It had to be that day when the students checked in their second semester. Joss watched them move slowly towards the clerk, and he felt a seed of hatred growing inside of him. It was an irrational hate, but he could not control it. So, he decided to step forward. After all, he had no papers to fill, no information to give, and he had already made a sort of an appointment the day before. Besides, how many times did other people skip him in the line, without any concern or restaints? It was time for Joss to forget about what was appropriate. No one around him cared about that anymore.
He squeezed his fingers into fists as he made his move. His ears were drumming with shouts of the people behind him, as he approached the clerk. He turned around, and they immediately stopped protesting. There was a glow in his eyes, full of rage, anxiety and pain that frightened them. Their complaints softened as Joss stood before a girl, much younger than him.
“I need to take something. I don’t mean to linger here,” Joss said in a deep voice.
“Sure, it’s fine by me,” the girl said, and stepped back, careful not to touch him.
“Yes?” the clerk put up his head and looked at Joss.
“Do you remember me? I was here yesterday, and you told me to come back to pick up the documents from the dean,” Joss said. The man seemed as if he did not know what Joss was talking about, but his face was finally washed with sudden realization.
“Of course, I have the papers here,” the clerk said and gave it to Joss.
“That’s it?” Joss asked.
“Yes, unless you have any other requests,” the clerk replied and smiled.
“Thank you,” Joss said and let the girl behind him see the clerk.
It was hot outside on his way back. The faster he walked, the farther his home seemed to be. Joss was sweating and his clothes felt heavy. He thought he would not see his doorstep any time sooner. He was also hungry, since he had no breakfast before he went to the university. Joss went through his pockets and found some many. It was enough for a ham sandwich that he really liked, but he remembered that he still had some meat left in the fridge. With all that was happening, Joss knew that he would have to spare as much as he could. So, he suppressed the hole in his stomach and hurried on.