The mortgage adviser said, ‘Just look at the three of us sitting here. Statistically one of us is going to develop some form of cancer by the time we are thirty five.’ and continued to play with his pen while nodding his head a few times with widened eyes for extra confirmation in case we had any doubts. I just did a silly smile and raised my eyebrows. I instantly regretted that as I did not want him to think that I was making fun of him.
‘Do you know anyone who has had cancer?’ he asked.
‘Yes I know a couple of people.’ I said.
‘What about you sir, do you know anyone who has developed cancer?’
‘Yes’ Said Kamyar, ‘a close friend of mine.’
‘Me too’ he said jubilantly (as if he had just worked out that we all went to the same kindergarten), ‘my aunt’ he added tapping himself on the chest excitedly I’m guessing to let us know that by ‘my aunt’ he meant his aunt and not some person called ‘Myaunt’. I did the smile and the eyebrow raise again.
He put both elbows on the desk and leaning forward rested his chin on his hands, smiling. He was clearly very pleased about this cancer bond between the three of us. ‘You see what I mean?’ he said, ‘Cancer is all around us, isn’t it?’ We nodded. He continued, ‘And it’s a horrible thing isn’t it?’ with a sort of everyone-else-lies-to-you-but-I’m-gonna-be-honest-and-just-come-out-and-say-that-cancer-is-no-walk-in-the-park attitude.
‘Now say one of you develops cancer. I’m sure you would both be devastated but with our bank’s ‘Critical illness Cover’ you can at least feel safe in the knowledge that your mortgage will be paid for.’
‘All of it?’ I asked.
‘Yes your entire mortgage will be paid off.’
I threw a sideways, not-a-bad-deal glance at Kamyar to see what his reaction was. He too seemed interested. ‘How much would that be monthly then?’ he asked. ‘Let me just calculate that for you.’ He said tapping numbers into his calculator. ‘Yes the critical illness cover for both of you will be a mere 64 pounds a month.’
‘64 pounds a month?!!’ Even ten pounds a month would have been too much for us. ‘That’s a bit steep isn’t it?’
‘Yes’ he said ‘but it’s a small price to pay.’ He drew a little imaginary triangle with his finger with each of us being at each corner of it, ‘One in three.’ He said leaning back in his chair with both hands raised up in front of his chest in an I-rest-my-case manner. ‘That’s all I’m saying.’