There aren’t too many upsides to being invisible, thought Darius Gome. All day long you’re bumping into other invisible people, hard. You hear the swearing and you feel the crunches and jars, and some of the smell of the other person rubs off on you, but you don’t see each other. And before you know it you’re smacking into another invisible person.
If you could see yourself, you’d be bloodied and bruised, but you don’t even have that.
Doors get slammed in your face. Getting your achievements noticed at work is next to impossible. No one sees when you do something good, and no one sees when you cry.
That’s what the invisible life is like.
There are only two ways to stop being invisible – attain a certain level of income (ha! as if), or commit a certain kind of crime. Petty, survival-type crimes perpetrated against other invisible people don’t count, of course; visible crimes have to be against visible people or their property. And nobody wants to be visible that way.
The instant light starts reflecting off you rather than passing straight through, everyone can see your ragged, dirty sadness, and it’s clear to all that you’re a criminal. It’s a short path to arrest and then jail, and back into invisibility – only this time in an institution.
But become visible the other way, by being rich, and it’s all different. It’s all wonderful.
Aren’t they beautiful, the permanently visible people? Notice the way the invisible crowd parts before them so they never bash into anything or anyone, and their clothes are clean and brightly coloured. Their teeth are white. You know that because they smile a lot. Everyone sees when a visible person smiles, and everyone’s heart breaks when a visible person sheds even the smallest tear. They see each other and they grin and nod, and they go home to visible families in clean houses to eat good food. They’re in a marvellous club, and they’ll never let you in.
It’s not even their fault, it’s just the way it is. No point getting bitter about it, said Darius to himself. He pointed his elbows outwards and put his head down, and headed out onto the street.