I am invisible.
You don’t know me, and yet you see me every day. I’m the girl sitting beside you in class. You know—you crane your neck to try and see my notes because you can’t read the board from the back of the class. I’m the girl sitting next to you in the café. I notice you, but you don’t see me. Somehow you know I’m there, just like you know atoms and particles and molecules are there. They surround you, but you can’t see or feel them. You rely on them to be there, to do their job without you asking, because that is what you know. It’s comfortable.
I’m comfortable in my invisibility. It makes it easier to float around this world. Please don’t mistake my floating for lifelessness. I am very much alive. My heart pumps blood throughout my body just as your heart pumps life through your veins. But you don’t care about my blood and veins and body because you are focused. You sit there at your table, working away on your computer, never noticing me feverishly typing away on mine. You go to wipe away the excess coffee that dripped on your table and as you look up you see the barista nervously watching you from the counter. She was invisible to you until that one instant—the one meeting of eyes is all it took for her to come into your world.
But you are busy and she is busy and I am still invisible.
We lead two entirely separate lives that intertwine every day. You don’t know my likes or dislikes, or that I want nothing more than to travel. You don’t know that I want to be roaming the hills of New Zealand with the sheep. That I want to sing along with the Manchester United fans in a pub in England. Ou que je veux marcher dans le jardin de Marie Antoinettes à Paris. I bet you didn’t even know I speak French.
I would like to tell you these things. You seem like someone who enjoys traveling. Maybe you would tell me about the time you got stranded in Italy, or the time you missed your train to Greece and had to spend the night in the train station. Maybe we would find out we have been to the same places. I like when I find out people have done the same things I have done; I feel like a little piece of our souls are connected.
But the likelihood of this conversation happening is impossible, because I am still invisible. And maybe one day you will turn to copy my notes and I will tell you to invest in a pair of glasses. And you will think to yourself, “what the hell?” Maybe you will go out and actually buy a pair of glasses. Or maybe you won’t say anything at all.
But you will see me. We will make eye contact and it will be something more than the nervous glances exchanged with that barista. You will see my tired eyes and you will notice their color. You will see my faltering smile, and you will smile the same tired, faltering smile.
And we will connect, if only for a moment, and you will know me, and I will no longer be invisible.