Sometimes I wonder if I’m invisible. Or maybe I’m starting to disappear, slowly, like an old photo of some distant relative that fades over time, into a blurry apparition.
The thought occurred to me the other day, as I was lying on the floor, behind the loveseat, taking deep slow breaths and pounding my chest in an attempt to regulate my rapid heartbeat. There were two other people in the room: my husband and my son, and neither of them noticed me on the floor.
At one point, my son walked by, almost stepping on me. “Oh, hey, are you alright?” he asked.
My husband answered, “Yeah; I’m just waiting for your mother.”
My son stood there a few moments until I finally said, “I’m OK.” Then I opened my eyes to prove to him that I wasn’t dead, and that’s when I saw my husband lift his head off the back of the loveseat and turn around. Didn’t he see me lying there on the floor? Was I invisible?
Now, in case you think I’m exaggerating, hear me out.
Several months ago, we were at Westbury Gardens for an outdoor summer concert. It’s quite a hike through the grounds to get to the bathrooms, so my husband and I usually make the trip together. That particular night, as we headed to the restrooms, he pointed to a spot in front of a tree and said, “I’ll meet you right here when you’re done.”
A few minutes later we both emerged from the bathrooms and almost bumped into each other. He looked right at me, but then he walked right past me. I looked down at my body, wondering… Am I invisible? I patted my arms and legs to be sure. No; I most certainly wasn’t invisible. Meanwhile, I watched as he continued down the path back to the concert.
“Hey!” I shouted, stumbling after him. “Did you forget about me?”
He turned around and looked at me with a puzzled expression, as if I was out of focus, and he was trying to remember who I was.
“It’s me, your wife. Didn’t you see me when you came out of the Men’s Room?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t.”
“What about our meeting spot by the tree? You were supposed to wait for me there.”
“Oh! I forgot! Sorry.”
That’s great. So I’m invisible and forgettable.
This past summer it happened again at the beach. We headed to the bathrooms and agreed to wait for each other at a designated spot on the boardwalk. Again, we walked out of the bathrooms at the same time. I saw my husband, but he didn’t see me. I followed a few feet behind him to see if he would stop and wait for me at our designated spot.
Instead, he breezed right by and continued walking down the boardwalk. But that wasn’t the worst of it.
He walked on, and I followed about five feet behind, as a beautiful young woman in a very skimpy bikini was walking in the opposite direction toward us. As she got closer to my husband I saw his droopy head pop up. I guess she’s not invisible, I thought. As she passed by him, my husband crooked his head around as far as it could go – without breaking his neck. Then, rather than lose sight of this half-naked beauty, he spun around so that now he was walking backwards. That’s when he saw me.
I don’t know if he actually saw me or if he just felt the heat from the flames coming out of my eyes.
I once had an ophthalmologist explain to me how the brain sees things. I was complaining about those distracting little black specks in front of my eyes, commonly known as “floaters.” He assured me that, after a while, I wouldn’t notice them. They will never disappear, he said, but my brain would get so used to seeing them that they would become virtually “invisible” to me.
Maybe that explains the phenomenon I’m experiencing. I may not be disappearing, but maybe I’m becoming invisible.
Can you see me now?