It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. So during my mid forties, having already concluded myself all but invisible, I embarked upon the arduous journey to the fabled city by the bay, in hopes of being seen there myself.
At first, simply being counted among the number of the invisible, was in itself, quite overwhelming. The streets and alleyways, sidewalks and bus stops coursed with hordes of the forgotten. Many of them, at least to my novice eye, in much greater need of being noticed than I considered myself.
Yet, I soldiered on, leaving the better part of the day behind me, before I found what seemed to be a single unclaimed space. Large enough to sit comfortably, though far too small to fully recline. Close enough to the foot traffic, but far enough away to avoid being trampled.
I brushed away the accumulated detritus, folded my legs up ‘Indian style’ beneath me and withdrew my notebook. Searching the street for inspiration, I spied a barefoot young man wearing a mustard colored tunic. He had an enormous white rat reclining about his neck and shoulders like a fur collar.
I put my pen to paper, and began to tell what I believed to be his story. So caught up was I in what I perceived to be the ravages responsible for having deposited him here at this precise moment in time, that when I looked up, he had disappeared.
It was then I realized, I had become invisible for a reason. For only the invisible can creep unnoticed into the heart of another man- and only from that point of vantage will one ever be given the words necessary to tell the stories of the forgotten as they emerge.
This piece is written in 50 word increments. It was inspired by the literary quote “It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco.” – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde