He had noticed it first yesterday afternoon, but he supposed it had been happening for a while. It was when he said hello, again, to his boss, and again, his boss had grunted something without glancing up. Adam looked at his watch to see if he was going to miss his bus home, and noticed that the bones and sinews of his hand seemed to be visible through the skin.
He didn’t think much about it at the time — but today, he was reminded. Sheryl had just passed him at the water cooler, her face lighting up when she saw Jeff standing there. Adam greeted her, watching and noticing that she never looked at him. She breezed by, her lovely smile suspended and giving way to slight annoyance synchronized with the sound of Adam’s voice. She didn’t respond, not even with a grunt, but went to her assignation with Jeff. Adam felt a slight sadness. Dropping his eyes to the floor, he realized that his shiny shoes and the cleanly-pressed cuffs of his slacks were slightly see-through. He could actually see the hall carpeting through his feet.
At lunch, no one met his gaze. He experimented. He said a few words to the guy across the table whom he did not know. “Uh-huh,” was all he got in response. Looking down at his hand holding the cafeteria fork, he saw that he could see the outlines of the fork handle through the skin of his fingers. He knew he should feel panic; but instead, he was only aware of a detached but horrible fascination.
Through the day, Adam began to play with this new toy. “Steve, could you please pass me that document, the one on the new account?” Adam watched Steve murmur something without looking up, pushing the bound sheaf of paper across his desk in Adam’s general direction. The title “Stringer Account” was clearly visible under Adam’s hand as he pulled the folder toward him.
As he left the office for the day, he yelled a farewell to everyone, at a decibel level he hadn’t used in years. Conversations paused slightly, as people looked around vaguely, and then resumed.
With a sort of contentment, Adam realized that by supper, he may have vanished completely.
There are people in your neighborhood who are feeling desperately lonely, almost invisible, as if their voices cannot be heard. No matter what’s on your mind, look at your neighbors. Share a smile. respond to a greeting. Extend an invitation for a meal. It’s not too late. They haven’t yet completely vanished.