invisible girl

the invisible girl draws a thin coat around herself. it’s been raining, and it would be cold if it weren’t for the fact that the sun now beats down on the ground. if she looks hard enough, she’d almost swear that she can see the shimmer of water evaporating. water doesn’t shimmer when it evaporates, she chides herself, and skips over a puddle of water that threatens to reach her anklebones.

people glance towards her, but the focus bounces quickly off her. she’s just a girl in shabby clothes, after all. she doesn’t have that look about her, one of expensive care and fuss that reaches well beyond what is needed.

she weaves through pedestrians on the street, zombie-eyed individuals and business-clad pairs hurrying for their next plastic-coated meals, dodges around elbows and skirts parking meters. as she walks, her mind rattles through new ideas, flickering between a saving-people complex and a self-preservation. compassion always wins though, always she’s reminded of an old motto to be brave and kind.

(these traits don’t serve her very well, but she ignores that steadfastly in favour of others around her, because there are so many others who need help)

and at the train station there’s a girl who doesn’t have the money to buy her ticket. the invisible girl reaches a hand into a pocket, uses a tiny sleight-of-hand to make some spare change on the ground by the other girl’s feet. by the time the girl has looked up to see the source of the noise, the invisible girl is gone. she’s already been swallowed up by the maw of a crowd of travellers, slipping and sliding through the cracks to disappear herself.

(invisible girl doesn’t stick around long enough to watch the other girl draw a prepaid card from her pocket, swipe it and pay her fee. invisible girl doesn’t know that the fistful of coins go into a coin purse “for an emergency.”)

she slips out of the crowd, rejoins a group of people that she knows, and tries to forget the fact that they don’t know her. even her name isn’t the real one she was given at birth, but a psuedonym she picked for herself. they ignore how they don’t know her date of birth, or anything about her.

(sometimes, she goes travelling around her immediate vicinity, and pretends to be her own twin just to see if she can get away with it. other times, she pulls the trick on people she knows just to see how long it can last.)

on a wednesday, the invisible girl quits her job in a fit of boredom. the work has become mundane and the people don’t seem content to pull back layers to get to know her even as she tries and tries. she never fits in whatever she does, and so she stops trying. she’s got the money to survive for at least a year, and so she sells up her house, spends up on having her car fixed and gets rid of most of her possessions.

and she drives. drives until she runs out of road, or her knuckles white-grip the steering wheel. there’s always someone to help, after all.

she buys food and pays grocery store bills when someone else can’t do it, and thinks nothing of the various articles that wind up in local newspapers, briefly discussing an angel shopper even as others take advantage and treble their bill in hopes of being the next one bailed out of paying.

after twenty-nine years, she can’t sit still, can’t stop moving long enough to call a place home. every night, she reclines her car seat and naps on the side of the road; when this becomes a very not good sort of idea, she finds inexpensive accommodations all over the place, never sleeps in the same room more than three nights. every day she runs around and looks for opportunities to be an angel to someone, burns through the money she had amassed and hops around doing boring temp roles until they all burn out.

and then: the invisible girl is seen. she has a hand to hold while she runs around, and her partner-in-crime (it always amuses them to refer to each other as such) is patient with her, never does anything to try to diminish her view on the world. the invisible girl likes to think the world is a soft place, one where people are truly kind for the sake of it.

and then: her partner-in-crime leaves. the other woman is tired of being a nomad, wants to feel terra firma below her feet and have all the trappings of a proper adult life. the invisible girl weeps for days after, leaning against the hotel wall until her knees give out and stop supporting her.

and then: the invisible girl stops running. it’s so deeply ingrained by age thirty-eight, but she does it anyway. forces herself to stand still and buy property, live comfortably off the land –

and then she fades into obscurity.

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