Disappearing . . . How I Become Invisible—Literally

Yup, you read that right.

Ironic, when I think about how much I never wanted to be invisible when I was young, how I wanted to be seen, wanted to be noticed. Quite the wallflower back then, I’m okay still being one now. I enjoy watching nature, watching people, watching events unfold.

I’ve come to recognize it as one of my writer traits.

2003, a walk in the forest . . .

The first incident involved my oldest daughter, where we were walking one of the trails at the Nature Center in Kalamazoo.  It was a favorite setting as we could indulge in our mutual, earth-science interests, particularly the tall people as Native Americans call trees.

I was alone on a trail, waiting for my daughter, who had made a pit stop, to catch up to me. The forest was eerily quiet—no kids, no walkers, no other visitors where their voices would have carried on the air, making themselves known.

We were totally alone.

As I waited, I leaned up against a slim maple tree next to the trail, one that if I had stood behind I would have been seen, wondering what it would be like to disappear into the tree. 

Almost instantly, I felt as if I had slipped into the tree, it embracing my body. Immediately, it felt like sap was running through my veins, and I could feel ants climbing on me, as if my skin was bark. The sensation was both strange and peaceful.

Then, I heard my daughter calling me. “Mom? Mom? Where are you?”

I looked up and saw her walking right in front of me on the path, so close if I had reached out, I could have touched her. And then, she looked right at me but didn’t see me.

“Mom?” she called out again.

Her steps were taking her away, so I stepped out from the tree and spoke.

She twirled around and stared at me.  “Where were you?”

“Right here.”

“No, you weren’t.” 

“You walked right past me.  You looked right at me.”

“No, I didn’t. You weren’t here.”

By this time, she had experienced several paranormal events with me over the past few years.

We stared at each other, knowing exactly what had just happened. I had disappeared.

May 2008, Mackinac Island ballroom . . .  

Another disappearing event occurred when a good friend and I traveled to Mackinac Island, staying in the Grand Hotel, a bucket-list item event for each of us.

On the first night of our two-night stay, there was a ballroom dancing event and my friend wanted to go. I didn’t. She believed if we went, someone would ask us to dance.

“No, they won’t,” I said. “These are vacationing couples. Married couples. No one is going to ask us to dance.”

Not convinced, she kept insisting.  Finally, I agreed to go, but silently, I told myself that I wanted to be invisible.  I would go to observe, but I didn’t want to be bothered.

We entered the ballroom and sat at one of the few empty tables near the dance floor. My friend believed that the closer we sat to the dance floor, the better chance we’d have of getting asked to dance.

As I looked around, sure enough, there were couples at the tables, two or four people per table. There were no singles anywhere.

 I was content to sit back and just watch.

A waitress walked back and forth between the bar and other tables, including ones around us that now had customers. She never once stopped, asking what we wanted. My friend began raising her hand, even waving in an attempt to get the waitress’ attention.

My friend said, “It’s like we’re invisible.”

Uh-oh.

Because my friend was miffed, both that the waitress was ignoring us and no one was asking us to dance, I decided to remain silent, but I knew what was happening.

After another fifteen minutes passed, she said, “Let’s go. Obviously, we’re being ignored.” Going upstairs, she kept remarking how rude the staff was, how rude all those men were.

“Those men belonged to other women, as in someone’s husband or boyfriend,” I reminded her.

“Well, they still could have asked us to dance. Couldn’t they see we didn’t have partners?”

The next morning, she remarked once again, how odd it was that no one had seen us, not even to ask if we wanted any drinks.

That was when I explained that we had been invisible.

At first, she looked at me as if I had two heads.  So, I told her about my daughter not seeing me when standing against a tree, where I’d been invisible before. I wasn’t sure if she was buying my explanation or not, but I could see her thinking about it.

Finally, she said, “Well, next time, leave me out of your invisible bubble!”

*****

One time, I was at a coffee shop with my paraphernalia spread across the entire table, where I was reading and working. A family started to pull out chairs and even sit when I spoke. The surprised look on their faces was priceless.

I have learned, however, to make sure I’m not invisible while driving. That surprised look on another driver’s face when they pulled out in front of me is not one that I want to be repeated.

There have been other events, other times where I’ve not been aware that I’d become invisible. Plus, it’s been a while since I became invisible on purpose.

I’ve got an event coming up this weekend. This could be fun.

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