“What was that,” a girl says. She’s walking with her boyfriend.
He stops and looks back at her. “What? What is it?” He asks her.
“There was something… It felt like I ran into something.” She’s scanning her surroundings now, searching for what she ran into. She’s second-guessing herself now. She doesn’t see anything.
Her boyfriend is looking at her warily now. Probably thinking he’s dating a lunatic. Rest assured, sir. She’s no lunatic, at least not as far as I know. She ran into me. She didn’t say sorry, by the way, but I’ll let that slide. She couldn’t see me. Neither can he. It’s because I’m invisible. The proper term is unseen, but I won’t get into that now.
“It was nothing,” the girlfriend says writing the encounter off as her usual clumsiness. She shakes her head and grabs for his hand. They walk away continuing their lives in the land of the seen.
I’m tempted to step in their way. Make sure that they know it was something. That it was me. That she ran into me. But I resign myself and step out of their way. Ah, the life of the unseen. There’s no fighting it.
I don’t talk in public. There’s no one to talk to. I try to keep the sounds down to a minimum. People get a little hysterical when they hear sounds and they don’t know where they are coming from. The hysteria was funny the first couple of times I did it. I remember the first time. I tapped a lady on the shoulder and asked her for directions to the store. When she turned around and saw no one there, she almost lost her mind. I thought I might lose my mind laughing so hard. I’m sorry to say, but it was funny seeing her so scared. It was still funny when that one guy almost got into a fight with another guy that “accidentally” sneezed on him.
But… by the 3rd and the 5th and the 9th time, it got old. It was upsetting. No one could see me. No one would ever be able to. What a pitiful existence. You probably think I’m overreacting and think I’m being unnecessarily dramatic. Au contraire, mon frere. Not true.
You’ve only taken a glimpse into my life. Let me tell me what it’s really like.
I wake up every morning at 7 am to my downstairs neighbor’s saxophone playing. For some reason, he feels that the early mornings have better acoustics. He practices on the patio, so everyone in a three block radius can hear him. When he plays, I take a shower. Just because I’m invisible, doesn’t mean I can skimp on personal hygiene. When he leaves his apartment is the only time I can take a shower. Technically speaking, no one is supposed to be in this apartment, so its going to look suspicious if the shower starts running. Luckily, he can’t hear it over his saxophone playing. I’ve gotten showering down to a science. I know I exist. I’m conscious. I just can’t see myself which makes showering pretty interesting. Well, I know the general locations of my body parts, so it’s not as hard as it would seem. It helps that the water sort of sits on my skin for an extra second before it glides off, so I’m able to spot any spots that I missed. See, science.
I stand in the front of my mirror with my towel wrapped around me. I have to brush my teeth. Mind you, I can’t see my teeth or even my face for that matter. Again, my brain knows the general location of things and I’m able to brush, brush, brush the plaque away. Mmm, refreshing.
At this point, it’s time to get dressed. Now what does an invisible person wear. Nothing? Wrong! That’s disgusting. Get your mind out of the gutter. What I wear is hard to explain. I can wear clothes. I have a closet full of clothes if you don’t believe me. The thing is I can’t see the aquamarine-colored sundress I put on or the black wedges or the shell necklace around my neck. It’s weird. As soon as I put the clothes on they disappear and are invisible with me. I take them off, and I can see them again. Just one of the many unexplained things about my life. I make my bed, being sure to pull my sheets tight across the mattress and place my pillow on the left side of the bed.
I head to the kitchen for breakfast. I’m in the mood for french toast. I crack an egg into a bowl and add milk. I grab a piece of bread from the pantry and dip it into the batter. It sizzles and cracks as I place it on the hot skillet. None of my things are invisible, as far as I know anyway. If you walked into my apartment right now, you’d see a fully furnished, fully stocked living space, The only thing you wouldn’t see is me. Bet you’re heartbroken to hear that.
I fix one more piece of French toast and put it on my plate. I take a bite of my french toast and am welcomed by the delicious taste. As I’m eating, I’m reminded of an old cartoon where the cat was turned invisible and it took a bite of something. You could see the chewed-up chicken leg as it went down his throat and found its way in his stomach. Glad to say, the same doesn’t go for me. Don’t worry about being invited over for dinner. The only time you’ll see my food is on my plate, not on the way down. Good to hear, right. I’ve finished breakfast and I have to head out now. I wish I could stay in my apartment all the time, but I’d probably go crazy if I did which would probably be better than what I actually have to deal with. The people bumping into me all the time. The people trying to sit on me in the subway. The dogs that from some reason can see me and proceed to go into a barking fit to the bewilderment of their owners. And there’s the ignoring. The loneliness. The inability to talk to anyone. The empty feeling when someone looks right through me. The aching abyss of nothingness. The not being seen and I could go on and on. The list is too long.
But I must say, as much as I’m griping about being invisible, there is one good part. His name’s Wil. He plays the guitar and sings in the subway terminal or station or whatever the heck it’s called. I go there almost everyday to listen to him. It’s the place I’ve gone to when I leave my apartment. His playing is the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard He’s my only refuge in my world of loneliness and invisibility. I sit there for hours listening to him play. There are moments while I’m listening that I want to risk it and say something to him, but I don’t. I just sit there and let his music take me on a journey. After five hours, my butt is sore, but I don’t want to leave. Wil has stopped playing and has begun packing up his guitar. I get up from my spot and look at him. I’m so close to him that I could reach out and touch him if I wanted to, but I don’t. He turns and walks away, heading to a platform that will take him home. I stand on my platform and as my refuge leaves, I feel empty. I head for my subway’s platform and wait. As I’m waiting for my subway to arrive, I think back on Will. There was something about the way he left. For a split second though, when he was leaving, I’d thought… that he looked at me…and maybe even smiled. That couldn’t be though. People look through me, to something behind me, not at me. I’m unseen. Empty. Alone. Lonely. Invisible. Right? Or am I something else entirely? My subway arrives before I can give it another thought.