Invisible [Flash Fiction]
It was raining on the day I was seen for the first time in over a year. One of those muted, heavy rains that dampens sound and mood. A rain that trickles down the back of your collar no matter how high and straight you pull it, and soaks right through your only blanket. A rain that washes away the stink of the vomit coating the sidewalk—a memento left by last night’s socialites who went home to their warm, dry beds to sleep off their weekend hangovers.
I sat against the marble façade of the bank, my head bowed against the downpour. Feet passed. Loafers and brogues, sneakers and sandals, derbies and Jimmy Choos. From time to time, I glanced up, checking in case anybody had seen me. But their gazes were fixed on some invisible point right in front of their faces, heads held high; snooty, almost. On sunny days, they hide their gazes behind expensive brands of aviators. It’s harder for them to not see me, in the rain.
It was just before lunch time when I felt eyes watching me. A thrill of excitement jolted through me, coupled with a pang of icy fear. Somebody saw my friend Casper, last week, and he’s still in the hospital. Between being noticed and being noticed is a knife-edge ridge, perilous to walk.
The eyes moved towards me, a large black nose thrusting down towards my face. I glanced up and smiled at the yellow lab giving me the once-over while its oblivious owner stood in the shelter of the bank’s awning, checking her messages on her iPhone, or something. The dog had almost reached the limit of its leash, and still it came forward, snuffling and sniffling. Its eyes didn’t slide past me. Its feet didn’t move on. When I held out my hand, it licked at my fingers.
Dogs are better than people, I’ve realised. They don’t judge you. They don’t care about the troubles spread across your past like a connect-the-dots picture. They don’t wear aviators, or step over you with their Jimmy Choos. They don’t paint the streets that are your home in whatever they ate and drank last night, then go back to their perfect houses and go on with their perfect lives.
Thirty seconds after I made a new friend, its owner moved on, calling, “Come, Holly.” Holly watched me until she turned the corner, and then I became invisible again. Maybe later, I’ll head down to the bridge where the addicts hang out, and see if there’s a litter of puppies around. I think I’d like to be seen more often.
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The featured image is courtesy of Pixabay.