Friday, 15 November 2013

#FridayFlash - Ships in the Night

Image by the_franz
The invisible man slipped onto buses and rode around the city without ever paying a fare. He sneaked into hotels and slept in empty rooms, and dined on leftovers in expensive restaurants. He saw films for free, and used book stores as private libraries. Alarm systems ignored him as he made no movements to detect. Yet despite his life of liberty, he was lonely. No one saw him, no one talked to him, and because no one knew if he was there or not, no one missed him.

The invisible girl slept in an abandoned house near the glassworks, and ate scraps foraged from bins around the city. She walked everywhere just to be among people, always mindful that to them, she was not there. She sometimes spent time in the hospital, reading to the blind, comforted that her words helped them through the day. She never took anything without being sure that she could repay her debt to the world in some way.

They spent their lives pursuing opposing pastimes, one in luxury and the other in squalor, yet each always dreamed they would one day find another of their kind. One wintry Thursday afternoon, they passed each other in the street. The invisible man left his hotel bound for another, and the invisible girl hurried to her next reading. They passed within a gnat's whisker of each other, unable to see what was not there.

8 comments:

Helen said...

Oh that's so sad Icy. Lovely, but sad.

Tony Noland said...

It makes me wonder what would have happened if they had met. Would they have spoken, made a friendship? Is the shared experience of being invisible and lonely enough to overcome their different value structures? Could they have found a middle path wide enough for them both?

David G. Shrock said...

Lovely, and familiar. At some point perhaps we all feel like an invisible man or woman. Opposites attract, and there's a super tiny chance they may bump into each other, although the surprise may ruin the moment.

deannaschrayer said...

Beautifully poignant story Icy and I especially like the last line, sad though it is, or maybe because it is.

John Wiswell said...

Oh, I love the detail of her sleeping near the glassworks. It's a subtle call out to her condition.

As far as dreaming of finding another of their own kind, though, couldn't they put out an ad? I think you'd get a lot of coverage coming out as unseen.

Steve Green said...

Oh! How sad. I was sure this was going to have a happy ending... until I reached the end.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

I agree with Helen. Lovely, but sad.

Katherine Hajer said...

This had a real sweetness to it -- the ultimate cruelty is to the reader when they realise the story's logic is not going to bend. It put me in mind of that film "Coeurs" that Alain Resnais directed.

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