Almost-green eyes. Almost-red hair.
Almost different, almost smart, almost mysterious, almost existing in a perpetual air of strangeness and magic.

But not quite.

Never quite special, never quite different, never quite enough.

The entire year so far hasn’t quite felt…real. Still floating lazily through, a little unsure of where you’re supposed to be but hopeful that it will all work out somehow. Summer is on the brain, even though fall is in the air. Nobody looks at you twice because you’ve never done anything attention-worthy, and you like it that way. No social obligations, no text messages or flirting, no questions directed at you from the teachers.

You’re never the first in the class, even though you’re usually good enough at reading textbooks to muddle your way through the days you miss or just don’t pay attention. You’re never last, either. You can answer questions, but never as eloquently as others, and you’re no good at asking good ones. Your texts come out fine because nobody even remembers who they came from.

It always takes longer than normal for others to remember your name. It’s probably because they use it so seldom. Most of your classmates forget that you’re there. You always have to ask for notes, they’re never offered. Nobody knows your number, either, but that’s no surprise. You can’t even remember it yourself.

The power of invisibility, full of blessings and curses, and with so much potential to disappear. All you’d have to do is something attention-worthy. That’s hard, though. Change is hard. Speaking is hard. Speaking loud enough to be heard? That’s even harder.

Quiet voice, quiet footsteps, quiet heart, and the screams of a thousand dying souls. What if you’re actually the devil in disguise? Everybody pretends that you don’t exist so you don’t look them in the eyes and take them straight to hell.

More likely, you’re just not interesting. Brown hair, brown eyes, as white as everybody else and with a set of parents the same color. Nobody’s died, nobody’s got cancer, nobody’s a doctor and you’re the oldest so all the family honor rests on you. Don’t do anything to mar it before your siblings inherit it.

Step lightly–leaving footprints, killing time? That’s a mark, and you don’t make those. Unremarkable, unmarked. Even your college applications will be dusty and forgotten: accidentally admitted or denied because the admissions reader forgot that you weren’t on this list or that list, somehow or another. People call standardized testing a dehumanizing experience, made to strip you of your uniqueness and turn you into a number for others to gawk at and judge. No wonder you do so well.

Believing that others think of you is mere narcissism. Even the most popular kids aren’t widely thought of, and you’re not one of them. That would require making jokes and social media pages. That’s a lot of effort for somebody who has trouble just waking up in the morning and dragging their body out of bed.

And so it goes: the lonely, forgotten bird on the telephone wire. Not big enough, loud enough, dangerous enough to ever be paid any attention, and yet living life and taking it all in just the same. It’s never been as bad as it sounds. Sure, once in a while you get that urge in the back of your head, the pit of your stomach, the lump of your throat: go, go and speak, go and leap, go and do something, anything. But it goes away with time and soon you’re left there, contentedly numb and invisible.

That’s your superpower.


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