Invisible Girl

     I looked at the ground steeling myself against the incessant chattering of the people who I sat with at lunch. I ignored their talk about who did what over the weekend and all of the trivial things that they found to be important. That was probably part of the reason that they had stopped acknowledging my existence. I was the withdrawn, “invisible girl” who sat in the corner of the cafeteria with the kids who dressed in dark clothing, not to say they were Goth. Heaven forbid that I categorize these unique individuals in a group. After all, people who dressed in black were more “individual” than the people who conformed to the new trends.  I kept my feelings to myself. Personally I thought that people who wore all black looked like clones. I would never tell my friends that I thought like this. I didn’t feel like getting kicked from my group and going through the awkwardness of finding new people to sit with at lunch. Sitting by myself would mean submitting myself to scrutiny that made my palms sweat and biting my lips so I wouldn’t cry from the ridicule that I usually received. That was a big fear that seemed to keep me awake in the night. Being ridiculed. The mere thought of other people criticizing the way I look and act made the taste of vomit rise in my throat. I suppose I should be used to it by now. I spent my childhood spent crying in corners because my mother didn’t think that I was talented or good enough for her. When my mother criticizes me I expect her patronizing glares followed by her upset silence.  Eventually I became indifferent to her ridicule. Everyone else’s ridicule was a completely different story.  I developed a tough exterior that no one except my peers could penetrate. When a peer criticizes you it may as well be the whole world because once one of them does it they all start picking at your flaws.

            The bell rang and I stood up sliding through the crowd. I was for the most part invisible to the teenagers who usually stood obtrusively in the middle of the hallway. I was truly an Invisible Girl. I was a little over five feet and people generally tended to look directly over me. Even the teachers didn’t spare me a glance. Not because I was short but because I was plain. O.K. so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but you have to allow me a little bit of teenage melodrama. They were too busy gloating over some no doubt brilliant student who was the next Hemingway, Puff Daddy, or Janis Joplin. I had often wondered what it would be like to be one of these celebrated students.

             The day went by like all other days. I sat in the back of my classroom and tried to pay attention to my dull teachers. There were weeks in my High School life where I didn’t talk at all, not even to my supposedly understanding mother or my teachers. I found that if I didn’t speak I could float through life worry free. I didn’t worry about saying the wrong thing because I blended into my high school’s background.  I was a blur in time that everyone chose to ignore. At least the good parts of me were ignored; my flaws however were a completely different story. My thoughts were hidden away from everyone. My silence however, did not effect how much other people talked. In fact people talked more when I was with them one on one and I nodded occasionally. They poured their hearts out to me about typical teenager worries like school and divorce, those were their innermost secrets. I constantly found myself nodding and looking at them, studying their mannerisms which usually consisted of fidgeting and biting their lips. The people who talked to me usually wanted sympathy. They wanted a simple pat on the arm and a motherly smile that I seemed to be so good at giving.  They would then moan to me about how I was the only person who would listen to them. I guess it’s because most teenagers want to give advice and talk to hear themselves talk. I on the other hand let the tales of teenage tragedy unwind on their own.

            I had come to accept the cold, harsh reality that humans liked people who were shallow and full of, “I need new clothes” and “I can’t believe he dumped me!” Another bell rang and I grabbed my things, ignoring my peers who were babbling in the middle of the hallway. I blended into the shadows, also known as the sides of the hall. I hopped on the bus and tried to get comfortable on the hot tan seats, not particularly enjoying the churning sensation in my stomach. It was still the beginning of the school year. My peers crowded past me and sat in their seats, tapping their feet impatiently and waiting for the rumble of the bus to start. Everyone chattered impatiently ready to go home, for their weekend where they would be teenagers and submit to the constant peer pressures that they submitted themselves to in order to be cool in the eyes of their friends. I know that teenagers are all as insecure as I am, but I think that through self-discovery and “alone time” they could remedy more of their insecurities. I ignored the scenery, just like the people who were in it ignored me.

             The bus shuddered, lurching me forward. I wondered to myself how long it would be until I was home. Surprisingly time flew by and I came to my bus stop. I stood up, grabbed my bag and walked down the aisle. The only reason people looked up, if they looked up, was because of the jolt of the bus stopping, to let me off. I lugged my bag down the long street grumbling at the weight on my shoulders. Walking up the stairs to my apartment, I smiled knowing that my mother wasn’t home. It was a relief that only occurred once a week, one that I wouldn’t give up for the world.

            My mother was always trying to get me to try ballet or ice skating and be good at it. Be the best at it, actually. She bought me instruments and guitar lessons. She wanted me to be her trophy daughter. I was unsatisfactory at anything she tried to make me do. Most of the time my mom wanted me to do feminine things like cheerleading and the afore mentioned ice skating incident. I wasn’t really a girly- girl but I wasn’t a tomboy either. I was caught somewhere in between. I know that every teenager balks at the thought of having to define themselves in a category in High-School but I really didn’t associate myself with a certain crowd because I wasn’t close enough to anyone to be able to categorize myself. I didn’t have close friends, just people who confided in me. I walked into the living room and smiled at the keyboard my mother had bought me two Christmases ago. She had bought it in hopes that I would be good at playing it. I pretended to be no good when my mother had asked me to play, and she had shrugged off her disappointment. The last thing I wanted to do was be paraded around like my mothers little pet. I sat down and placed my fingers on a few simple chords, letting my voice flow into the air, my pain of being an invisible girl wash over me. I let my fingers skate across the keys of the piano, ignoring everything around me. I felt the music echoing through my apartment and enjoyed the solitude.

            I had homework to do, but I would do that later. This was my only time to be myself. This was my only time to work on my music, the one thing I knew I was good at. It was my only time to feel good about my life and myself. I didn’t care if everyone else thought I wasn’t inclined to do anything even semi- talented. I stopped the chords on my piano and reached down to my back pack and ruffled through the crinkled papers until I found my notebook. I flipped through the pages and found the song I had been working on all week. I jotted down a few more chords above lyrics, smiling to myself, knowing it would make the song better.  I let my fingers rest on the keyboards, forcing myself to relax as I played the new chords. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the echo of the music, bouncing off the sterile white walls. I automatically felt my body’s tension evaporate. Everything felt right when I was singing my own music. My mother would have a heart attack if she heard me.

            I imagined myself standing in front of a crowd in a theater, with my audience not expecting anything of me. Sitting there, in their stiff black suits and long gowns in silence as I let my earthy voice drift through the rafters of the theaters arched ceiling. I saw my mane of un-tamable black hair, cascading down my shoulders. Lights beamed down on me and a dark champaign colored dress made me stick out as a person. I was the center of attention for once. I had character for once and I liked it. The men and women in their expensive clothing stared at me transfixed. It was my chance to shine. It was my time to show the un-expecting world that I was a singer to the deepest roots of my soul. I wasn’t silent and a shadow in the corners, I was singing my opinions more so than any other time in my life. I was free.

            I felt a tap on my shoulder and jerked my body into reality, blinking at the sterile walls once again realizing that I was still playing and my voice was still singing. It took me a moment to realize that I wasn’t on stage. My fingers came to an abrupt stop and listened to the now eerie echo of my music hitting the walls and amplifying my voice. I spun around praying that my mother hadn’t been standing behind me. I saw no one. I leaned back against my keyboard and jumped at the stale chord that it produced. I took a deep breath, standing up and walking across the cold tile floor to the fridge. I opened up the fridge looking for water to calm my throat. I pushed aside the fruit cups in the bottom left drawer and grabbed a bottle of water.

            “Why didn’t you tell me you could sing Gertie?” My mother’s tear-filled voice shocked me, jumping from the hurt in her voice.

            “Mom I have a voice, just like everyone else,” I said coldly, still trying to gain my wits.  “I don’t want to talk about it”

            “I can’t wait to tell Becky!” she exclaimed.

             I felt my shoulders slump at the sad thought that she had reacted just like I thought she would. A small part of me had hoped that she wouldn’t start bragging right away. My mother had always been worse than a high school girl as far as bragging and gossip went. She rushed up the stairs to grab a cordless phone so she could spread her new juicy bit of information. I ignored the nagging thought that my mother only cared about her social status and that she just wanted to be in the spotlight, even if it was because she had finally discovered the secret I had worked so hard to keep a secret.

            “You are signing up for chorus Gertie!” my mother screamed down the stairs not even bothering to detach the phone from her ear, “and private voice lessons!”

             I knew everything was about to change. I let tears slide down my face. I wasn’t invisible anymore.  I would never again be invisible. I would be a trophy daughter.


Comments:
 
StarPoet   StarPoet wrote
on 11/27/2008 2:31:19 AM
Well done both in this story and in real life. (I trust this is a true story about you). And even if this is not about you, the inspiration one can take from this is great. "Use what talents you have. All the birds that sing, sing their best"

bedheadisme
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Synopsis
This is a short story that i've re-written about a dozen times. I like it.
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