Invisble, Part 1

Mother

“I’m leaving,” she called to the empty house. Her words bounced off the cluttered furnishings like a high-bounce ball carelessly tossed by an invisible hand. “Invisible,” she thought. “I am invisible.”

It was a blustery morning as she started the many blocks to school. Not cold enough for snow, but cold enough to feel barbed ice crystals riding the wind to cut through her gloves and scarf as a knife cuts skin. Somewhere in the distance a wind chime played on the breeze until it came to some sort of violent end and clattered to a stop. Her pack felt heavy on her shoulders. She was alone. As she lumbered along, she told herself it was better this way. Alone is safe.

She always left home later than the others. Always arrived in the door later than the rest — Not usually late, but late enough that she didn’t have to stand around and make small talk with all those pretty faces. Late enough she didn’t have to stand around and say the wrong things, act the wrong way, be the wrong version of herself. Late enough she didn’t even have to notice how different they were from her… At least not until recess, when it always became painfully clear that she did not fit in.

The same was true for the afternoon’s walk home. She dawdled in the classroom preparing to leave. Slowed her steps to the doors to head into the sun. She would find excuses to stop in the office or return to the classroom, pretty much anything to not have to traverse the streets of older kids on her way home. Having anyone notice her was excruciating these days. She felt old and began imagining herself as an ancient woman with long hair and a hunched back, carrying all her personal belongings in her pack as the wind cruelly taunted her. She imagined her hands becoming so rigid with arthritis and scars that they resembled the tree branches over her head. Then she became the tree, creaking and groaning with every movement, nearly naked as the last of it’s leaves fell, again, at the hands of the wind.

Soon, she could sense the school approaching. As the tall brick building came into view, she hung her head lower, more determined than ever to become invisible. Her heavy, dark hair hung low over her face as she contemplated turning around and going home before anyone noticed she’d even been there. Instead, she finished her trek and went inside the doors to meet her fate.

~H

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