Short Story – Virtually Invisible

I have always had a passion for writing and the ability comes pretty naturally. After losing my confidence in college, I spent several years without writing anything. Then, after I became a middle school English teacher, I started to have the urge to write again. The following story was the first thing I wrote when I began to write again.

Virtually Invisible

“Move!” is what I imagine people scream in their heads as they push their way past me in silence. I like to think that they at least acknowledge my presence. Most people treat me like I don’t exist. You would think a simple fact that I am overweight would gain me some recognition. I might as well wear clothes that match the pattern of the wallpaper. I work from home, which I guess suits me well since there is no one there to ignore me. I would like to say that I am some amazing writer, who comes up with brilliant stories but I write obituaries for the local newspaper.  I receive a photo and information on a recently deceased person. Then, I try to make their life sound like it was filled with love and adventure, which is everything mine is not. I tried to write my own obituary once. Then, I realized how little I had to write about.

“Hannah Marie Richards, born November 19, 1984, in Rochester, NY to parents James and Martha Richards. She was the middle of 5 children. She graduated from St. Mary’s College in Winona, MN with a bachelor’s degree in Creative writing. She worked for the Winona Gazette as an Obituary writer. She was found Tuesday night in her apartment, by her landlord after there were complaints of a bad smell. She was not married and had no kids.”

At least there wouldn’t be an animal to eat my body when I died. Animals seemed to ignore me as much as humans do.

Today, was like any other day. My alarm went off as usual and I rolled out of bed. When my feet hit the cold, wood floor I sighed a little. I knew today would be the same as the day before it. I walked to the adjourning bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror. My long blonde hair was stiff, like cooked spaghetti that had dried. My skin looked worn and tired. I never saw the need to improve my appearance when no one noticed me, to begin with. I brushed through my hair and pulled it back. I put it up in a basic ponytail like I always do. I splashed water on my face to wash off the night’s delusions of grandeur. I changed into one of my usual outfits, which consists of worn blue jeans and a solid color t-shirt.

I sulked to the kitchen to find some food for breakfast but when I got there I didn’t find much in the fridge. There was a stick of butter on the top shelf, a small bowl of purple grapes on the middle shelf and an old slice of pepperoni pizza on the bottom shelf. When was the last time I ordered pizza? Was it Wednesday when my mom called just to depress me with more news about my sister, Kelly’s, wedding plans. I swear she thinks if she talks to me about how all of my siblings are in successful relationships it will inspire me to run out and find a man. As if it were that easy. The last time I had a blind date that my mom set me up on, the guy either stood me up or didn’t even notice that I was there and left. Since I couldn’t remember when I last ordered pizza I knew I had to leave the safety of my cave and venture out in search of food.

I put on my faded white sneakers that looked like I had since the 80s, grabbed my purse and walked out of my apartment. I contemplated not locking my door in hopes that someone would come in and take my things. At least then a police officer would have to talk to me. I knew it wasn’t the greatest plan and locked the door. I walked to the elevator and saw a sign stating that for the 5th time this month it was out of order. I knew this meant that I would have to walk down 6 flights of stairs. My heart began to race as the thought of that much exercise. I knew I would feel muscles, that I didn’t even know existed, in the morning. I started my long trek downwards and stopped on each floor to catch my breath. Once I reached the bottom I realized that I would have to go back up when I arrived home with my groceries. It took a few minutes of panting like a dog to regain normal breathing. I slowly limped to the bus stop. I picked my apartment because it was next to the bus stop and I didn’t partially enjoy driving. It was a win-win situation in my mind. The moment I sat down on the bench the bus arrived. I got up and walked towards the bus. People pushed past me like usual. Instead of being mad, I just wondered what important thing they were late for. I wished I had somewhere to rush to but that kind of excitement doesn’t happen to me.

I was the last one to get on the bus. I found a seat in the middle that was empty. I sat down and soaked in my surroundings. There was a mother feeding her baby in the front. I wondered what it was like to take care of someone else. I didn’t even own a plant. There was a young couple who seemed madly in love. He kept caressing her cheek and whispering something in her ear. I watch them for a few minutes and try to imagine how nice it must feel to be in love. My attention breaks from the lovebirds when my ears perked up to the sound of the teenagers behind me discussing the latest technological craze.

“Do you really think it works?” the short brunette asked.

“Well, I heard that you just step through and you are in a virtual world. You can be anything you want and do anything you want.” Said the girl with the face full of acne that almost matched the color of her red hair.

“Too bad it costs so much money.” sighed the brunette.

This got my mind racing. Could there really be a technology where I could live in a world where I am actually noticed? This seemed too good to be true. I had quickly forgotten my quest for food and now wondered what store might sell this product. As if they were able to read my mind I heard them say Best Buy. I knew where my destination needed to be now. Once the bus stopped at the shopping plaza I got off. Instead of walking towards the grocery store, I walked in the opposite direction towards Best Buy.

My head was filled with all of the endless possibilities of how I could finally be noticed by someone or something. It was so filled with the future that I didn’t even notice the present. I didn’t notice the fact that the crosswalk sign was red or the SUV coming as I began to cross the road. I was definitely noticed that day, but for all the wrong reasons.

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