The Art of Invisibility

He didn’t know what quite to do that cloudy afternoon. He had just returned from a camping trip and the weather seemed far too agreeable for him to just go home and call it a day. He went loitering around a mall, which he decided were full of things to do, started buying things he thought he might need in the future, and rested himself out on an outdoor cafe where he smoked his cigarettes and read his book silently. From time to time, he would look up from his book and examine the pedestrians passing by. He would occasionally start at the contents of his drink or check on the bag of new clothes he had only carelessly decided to buy (just in case there’d be another funeral to attend!), before returning his full attention back to the book of his choosing ordinarily.

He sat there like a statue, stationary, until he made a move to briefly look up again. It was as if he were expecting something, or perhaps someone, to just suddenly come. The sun was slowly hiding itself under gray dappled, cotton-like clouds. Rain was wintering and bouts of thunder rolled on far away across. His eyes moved from his book to briefly stare at the sky slowly changing, at his things, at the people around who, one by one, herd themselves to dry, covered areas to avoid getting wet. He was looking for something. He could not find the words to describe exactly what. Whether it was his inability to conjure up words at the moment or simply because he had no name for it, there seemed a vague feeling, a trace of a feeling, bothering and breathing down his neck. It was troubling him. An itch that would disappear later without a trace.

It wasn’t long before it started raining. Everyone was gone and he was alone, outside, under the cover of a patio umbrella, still smoking his cigarettes and still reading his book. As time went by, he continued to look up and around, only to revert back again to his book, picking up where he’d left off. He went on for an hour more. Then two. He went on until it was dark. Until he was sure that nothing, absolutely nothing, would be heading his way tonight.

He felt nothing by the time he had to leave. He was alone, he was faceless, he was a day waiting older. He went with everything without recognition. You see him, you hear his voice, but you will pass him by. He will continue waiting, smoking his cigarettes and lifting his eyes briefly from his book.

But even then, you will still pass him by.

Invisible Hand Picture

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