An empty room.

Bare walls, the decorations stripped away, the pink pigment faded to white.

The outlines where the paint isn’t peeling exist as hints, as shapes representing a life long gone. Empty images. Lost dreams amidst the pain that refused to leave.

Indentations in the worn carpet mark the bed. Over there…a dresser. Over there…a chair. Over there a desk? A vanity? A stand for simple treasures?

In the corner a crumpled sheet of paper, the crinkles when smoothed showing only crooked lines. No words. But if there were words, what might they say about the heart that once beat within the tiny room? What might they say about the young person who once sat upon the window seat?

If that empty sheet held invisible ink returned, what might it reveal? A list of things to do? A dream lost to a sleepless night? A fanciful letter to no one…


Few girls are as lucky as I am. Though I’ve a disease that’s often thought of as rare, but really isn’t, I also recognize how fortunate I am. I’ve Chronic Invisibility, a condition I’ve had since I was very young. They insist I wasn’t born with it, that I was obvious to everyone at birth, but I can’t remember back that far.

I get to do so many things I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. It’s very exciting!

So many times with my mother in stores I dance and twirl and don’t get into trouble. No one notices! In school? Oh my gosh, I could do cartwheels in class and the teacher wouldn’t say a word. Of course, I wouldn’t do anything like that. I always try to be quiet because that’s what I was told I’m supposed to do.

It’s easy to avoid cameras, too. At family reunions they call the kids away from playing and so they have to sit, stand, and fidget in family photos, but I can keep playing. My dolls and I take our own pictures…well, I take the pictures and they pose.

And all those sports I don’t like? I’m able to miss those, too. No one picks me even if I jump up and down and wave my arms. Of course, I wouldn’t do that…

Really, I can’t begin to tell you all the advantages.

The doctor always says my transparency isn’t real, that I could appear if I wanted to. Oh, what does he know? He looks past me as well as everyone else, including me.

All I’ve ever known is not seeing anyone in the mirror.

There are other benefits to my condition. Like the times the other girls planned sleepovers and I could stand there and listen when they were inviting each other. I suppose I shouldn’t have listened, but sometimes I was already there and it was awkward to move away.

I was taught that making noise is wrong and I don’t like to make trouble.

Like when my parents yell and my father starts to hit. Those are good times to be invisible, especially if I cry. He doesn’t like crying, but it’s okay if he can’t see it.40b1b4424260

Besides, my eyes are much better for gazing from windows. There’s so much to see. The world is a beautiful place. I’ve been told that’s because I’m not in it, but I like to think everything has value even if it isn’t seen. At least, it seems like that should be right.

I suppose people wonder if I smile and the answer would be, of course I do. Though, while I’m not sure, I think I used to smile more often. It’s difficult to remember. Sometimes it seems as though those smiles were once bigger…

Or maybe they’ve faded over time.

Sometimes I wish someone would pass me on the street and say, “Hello.” So often I hold my breath and wait, but they stare ahead at whatever it is they see in their future and walk on by. I understand. People’s lives are so busy and there’s so much needing done.

It’s just that sometimes I wish I was one of those things…

3 Replies to “Value”

  1. Hello beautiful lady if you lived near me we would say hello often and also go for coffees.
    My what a strong piece, you had me on being invisible, because I tell my children I avoided being picked on at high school because I was very good at being invisible. It has its drawbacks like you say when you are not invited to parties and stuff like that and even now I tend to do it in amongst the pick up lines for school and I hear other mums arranging a night out. I even had one lovely mum brave enough to tell me some of them went out and then realised no one remembered to invite me…yep invisible…it hurt but it made me see who my true friends are and I choose wisely these days. We can be invisible together.

    • Thank you. Having coffee sounds wonderful! It’s strange to note that when I started writing it was supposed to be straight-up funny (close to what became the middle of the piece), but the more I wrote the more I thought how it wasn’t funny at all, that it was sad. So, as I wrote, it changed. Of course, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the sadness because, yes, I’ve experienced it. A lot. Especially when I was young. Just because someone isn’t loud and boisterous doesn’t mean they don’t have value, don’t have meaningful thoughts to share. It became important for me to post this because I wanted people to look at those around them, especially their own children. Yes, we can be invisible together, which means we’re so much more.

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