Miss Cellophane

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I am invisible. I have always felt like I was the sort of person your eyes just roll across when you see me, like you are scanning a room and I am a table or an empty chair or a bit of shadow near the curtains. I could be the potted fern in the corner. I am nothing remarkable and maybe you are left with the sensation of having seen someone but not remembering who. It’s always been that way.

In school, I was ignored, even if my hand was up in the air. The teachers could never remember my name, and I was called my sister’s name or my cousin’s, or some variation of my given name. At conferences, the teacher often looked at my parents blankly, not able to recall who I was.

“Are you sure you have the right class?” One had asked.

“Do you mean Bethany Ryan?” Another inquired, as if my parents could get their child’s name wrong.

After school, it was pretty much the same. Work wasn’t all that different from school and someone was always taking credit for my accomplishments simply because my boss couldn’t remember me at all. I would protest and argue but it was futile. She just stared at me, slightly puzzled and a little cross. I kept my mouth shut after that. It was hard enough to land this job and I didn’t want to try looking for another. No one remembers me.

My siblings moved away and my parents died. First my mother and then two years later my father followed, and I found myself alone. I became a ghost without my family to remember me, to love me. My already tenuous existence was fading.

It started two weeks ago. The first morning, there was a slight paleness to my skin. I shrugged it off. I worked in an office, in a cubicle, nowhere near a window. The next morning, it was more than paleness. My skin seemed thinner. Like wet newspaper, the words from other pages could be seen and similarly, I could see every vein and artery, muscle and bone through my skin.

By the third morning I was gone. Empty space or at least, it appeared that way. I could touch things but it was a faint touch. Moving anything was a chore and now, after the bouts of anger and sadness, the fear and panic, I am giving up. Tomorrow, I will be gone. Just a formless drift of air. Is this what dying feels like? Will my soul move on or has that too disappeared like the rest of me. Vanishing like evening mist in dawn’s light. I need to tell this tale to someone and you sleeping here, alone and lost looking on this bench seem to be the perfect listener. All this I give you, my history, me. It’s not much, the story of my life. Don’t worry, you’ll forget it soon.

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4 responses »

  1. Very powerful story, Melissa! It’s rich in imagery that reveals the narrator’s sadness, her hopelessness. Well done!

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