His translucent hands…
He held them up to his bathroom mirror.
The disease. The curse. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair he had to live that way. It was no way for any human to live, if he could call himself that.
He opened the cabinet behind the mirror to obtain his last vial of skin-colored makeup.
Most people in the world were born visible, and remain visible by default. He considered them the lucky ones. They woke up visible and remained so without effort. Not him. He was the what the media called the Unseen.
He applied makeup to his fingers.
He wanted to be visible for his job where his co-workers appreciated how eager and amicable he was in his support role. His boss needed to see him so she could pat him on the back and tell him how much of a big help he always is around the office.
He yawned and began to apply the flesh-colored makeup to his fingers.
He wanted to be visible for his family. They needed to know what he was like when he smiled, or when he cried– like when he lost his sweet grandmother.
Much of the junk in the makeup bottle was thick and sticky. It was an old bottle.
Need to hit the store…
He wanted strangers on the street to see him. To see him see them. Sometimes he longed to be ugly, because there was nothing uglier in this world than to be an unseen.
He stared at himself, at his nothingness, in the mirror where his face used to be just days earlier.
He touched his face.
He was sick, tired, and he’d been out of work and stuck inside for days, so he couldn’t do anything for anyone. He couldn’t work so he’d lost his entire form during those vacation days.
He left the bathroom for the living room.
If he wanted to remain visible to the human eye he had to continue to do things for people. Those were the rules. He had to do things for people and satisfy them in some way, and by doing that, the universe or whoever cursed him with that disease, would grant him momentary visibility. Those were the rules.
His phone chimed.
He was a slave to his disease.
He could feel his hand and his fingers but it was still difficult to guide his hand to his phone.
It was a text from his sister.
Sometimes he forgot where his hands were located.
Stress. It was probably stress. And age. Getting older wasn’t making his Unseen status any easier.
His sister needed him to pick up their mother from the store.
He lived in another state and he was tired. But, picking up his mother from store would be enough to restore visibility to his hand for at least another week.
He started to apply makeup to his hand.
He chose to apply the last of his makeup to his hand. He didn’t like how his face looked with makeup on it. He didn’t like how his face looked without…
It didn’t quite match his mocha colored flesh but it was the only thing he could find in the last minute.
There was no cure for his curse. He learned that the invisibility was permanent, even in death. There was no sense crying about it. It was who he was. One of the Unseen citizens who just had to keep doing things for people if he wanted people to continue seeing him. If he wanted to exist, he had to do things for people.
He lifted his hand to his face.
His hand looked like a mannequin’s.
The problem was, each time he lost visibility, it took more effort –doing things for other people– to restore it.
And the makeup was already starting to disappear.
He put on his cap.
The invisibility had gotten so bad by the time he was thirty years old it would even envelop his clothes. So, no amount of loud colors or glow in the dark paint helped. A slave to his curse.
“Tre!” He called.
His dog rumbled out of their bedroom and jumped on his chest.
“You walked already.” He petted Tre’s head.
Dogs and cats could see him. Only humans couldn’t.
“I’ll walk you when I’m back,” He said.
Tre rolled onto his stomach, allowing his tongue to droop down his snout.
“I see you, buddy.” He rubbed his belly. “Thank you for seeing me.”
He stared at his jacket on the hook before swiping it.
He liked how he looked in his jacket and hat. He just wished it remained long enough for him to appreciate how he looked in it.
His jacket vanished before he could exit the building.
He held on to how good he looked in his mind.
There was a lot of foot traffic outside. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people on one block with either somewhere or nowhere to go in a hurry.
In a city built for thousand but populated by millions, everyone recognized everyone else, even when they didn’t. And in an apartment of one, outside of his dog, there was nobody to see him. The unfortunate bastard bastard could rarely even see himself.
The makeup on his hand dissolved as he set off towards the metro station.
Hopefully a day in the office and of service to others would allow him to be visible again. Even for a moment…
He texted his mother.
His transparent hands danced on his invisible phone– since he’d memorized his mother’s number and the qwerty keys on his smartphone.
Using the voice option was a painful reminder that one day, no matter how hard he worked, the world would no longer see him.
He texted his mother again.
See you soon…
Though.. he knew she would not see him.