After I Vanished

It took me a while to realise that people weren’t able to hear me. I would be standing with a group of friends, and let’s say we would be discussing holidays. I would start, ‘I’m going to Tuscany this summer. Anyone else been there?’ but there would be no answer. It was as if I hadn’t spoken.

I started speaking louder. I started seating myself at the centre of the table. Still, that didn’t help. They talked to the ones on the right and the left and my words stood frozen in the air for a second until they were swallowed by it. Once I screamed, and even though I heard myself, they didn’t.  After a while, it suited me. I could mutter about them or swear at them, and they wouldn’t know. They continued talking about their families, their glorious children, their devoted spouses, their bucket lists, all the perfection that was their world.

After some time, I noticed that I could step on someone’s toes and they wouldn’t protest or cringe from the pain. I could reach out and pinch them, yet they would continue talking, smiling, beatifically.

I sent messages to people on Skype or lync and there was no response; Are you there? I would keep saying. Though their status said online, they remained unresponsive, almost as if my messages weren’t getting through.

Then I noticed I wasn’t showing up in pictures. A friend posted a group picture on Facebook, and when I looked at it, I saw that in the space I was standing — surely, I had been right there, between J and J — there was nothing. Nobody.  When I looked harder, I noticed something else: some scraps of brown from my skin, some pink from my necklace, slivers of black from my hair, just an impression of a person floating over the other heads.

In the mirror, I could see myself, still the same.

I stepped out of my room, where the windows opened out to a vastness of blue sea and sky, and went outside where the roads were narrow and studded with green.  The flowers were lush and rainbows dazzled my eyes. My fingers formed colours on paper, the piano sang new tunes, and my mouth spoke poetry.  I had to tell someone. I almost pushed a solitary passer-by and said, ‘Look, just look at this!’ but there was no response. They moved on.

I had vanished irrevocably.

I dug deeper into my duvet, covering my head even. As I slept, the Gods from my land rose up around me. As I slept, the green of the land I live in, grew over me.

Then I realised that without a voice, without a force, I could melt into anything and anyone.

I could become them or make them become me.

Read in Apocrypha and Abstractions.