So I wrote this short story, denied for submission but if it touches anyone then it has suited its purpose. Tell me your thoughts.
By Lysz Flo
My radio and phone are off and my soul is tired. The blood moon in the sky reminds me I have rituals to do and manifestations to make. “Dear Universe…” I write in my journal, affirming new beginnings and releasing what no longer serves me. Letting the incense burn to ash, I meditate and plop into sleep.
The alarm wakes me in the morning, stretching my arms, I feel lighter than usual. Sighing, I think of all the mess of yesterday. My 29th year is a drop of death into mercury retrograde, when I think I have let go and grown, I am back repeating cycles. Not one good morning text from Bae after our fight or my friend’s ghost who may have remembered yesterday’s brunch that she never showed up to. After many failed relationships and the ghosted by friends, I wonder what am I doing wrong? I am overworked, underpaid, under-loved and uninspired.
Spiraling into a funk, I glance up to look at myself. “What the F-” My phone crashes to the floor and I stand in silent terror. I see the mirror but I, MYSELF, am not staring back. Looking down at my limbs I feel them move, and still, see nothing. “What-,” I am somewhere between screaming for help and how do I explain my emergency. The single independent woman life just got more complicated.
How do I tell my therapist “today, I feel a bit more invisible than yesterday when it is literal?” I text her anyway, doing my best to unload some of yesterday’s sorrow and today’s shock without raising red flags that I need a suite at a psych ward.
I pace around the house and sit in my balcony, looking at the water trying to calm myself down, release some of the knives of anxiety dancing around in my stomach. ‘How did this happen, how can I fix this, CAN I FIX THIS?’ My third alarm for work rings “YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE.”
I run into the shower close my eyes to go off of feeling, ‘I heard somewhere if you have one of your senses gone the other ones kick, so why not try it out.’ Dry this see through body, and weighed myself just to see if that would make me feel better about myself. It didn’t. What a useless problem. I dress in my baddest blazer and heels to mask that I am having an unusual life crisis, finger comb my hair hoping it looks decent and head out the door.
Sitting in back to school traffic, in my mind I travel back to yesterday’s debacle.
“Why do you always need proof that I love you?” Bae says under his teeth. We’ve been at it for an hour. “I feel like I empty myself into you and get nothing in return, I feel like I am running out of myself to give.” The silence is bitter, our eyes tired and yearning within this cloud of difficulty, and we both want to take a timeout but pride keeps us going. His body language is like a reinforced fortress, his arms crossed and expression blank. I attempt my best at vulnerability “I feel dumb when you disappear and I can’t reach you or you respond so dryly after hours. Why are we doing this at all?” He says nothing, looks like he feels nothing, and lowers his gaze.
Walking out on our conversation into the humid night the sticky air feels like it is holding all of the tears I cannot cry. I turn on the car feeling empty like my gas tank and head home.
Before the fight my so called friend, Tae, who I hadn’t seen in months called me out of the blue and said she wanted to see me. I got excited since it has been so long, and low key thought we weren’t cool anymore. I rearranged my schedule so we could see each other. Tae left me hanging, to eat brunch on my own. The waiter kept asking if anyone else was coming, adding insult to injury. I should have known better. I did the most to see her and not even a text that she isn’t coming, nada, at least the food was good. Feeling disappointed, I wanted bae’s comfort after feeling disrespected and taken advantage of, and instead I got this. I don’t even know how we started fighting.
The traffic thins out finally, and I make it right on time for work. I walk into work trying to balance my panic and purse on a shoulder I cannot see, I put my game face on. Hoping I am not am empty moving power-suit.
My coworker compliments my curls while I slowly fill into my seat. I smile even though it feels like a grimace and plan to stay in my half cubicle all day. “thanks girl, it was in the mood to be fly today. You’re always on point too.” I glance at her young millennial self, amazed at how far she has come in so little time, and question if I am moving fast enough. Caught in my thoughts of comparison, the CEO comes by as usual and says his hellos while looking at me directly. ‘I am not invisible to the world’ I repeat to my self. Everyone fills my squared space with “how was your weekend and groggy good mornings.”
The day goes by quickly and somewhat normal. ”Can you see me for a moment?” My boss tells me, my stomach churns, and I say “sure,” to his rhetorical question. In his office, he states, “I wanted to let you know that although the promotion went to the intern, we are still very happy with your work and have you in mind for the next position that opens up.” I put my corporate smile on, “thank you, sir.” I leave his office and roll my eyes, he must believe that it is a consolation for the bills I have to pay. I might as well be invisible to him too. I need something better than being passed up and under paid, I think to myself. I continue typing and keep pretending all is well as if I don’t want to pull out each individual curl out of my head with these invisible fingers. ‘Maybe I need to go see my eye doctor, its been like two years and I could just need a checkup. I reassure myself. The day ends and I go to pick up my bag and my fingers are IG filter transparent. ‘Progress?’
Feeling like the universe is against me. Society isn’t built for women like me to thrive, brown like flamboyant tree trunks and majestic like the spring. I am consistently at war with my father’s reminders of worthiness versus self criticism and the external hatred for my existence. I do my best to recenter myself but fall victim to minimize myself into small comfortable doses for others to feel at ease.
The elevator stops on the 10th floor the 3rd black girl in this corporate space gets in, I have always wanted to be her friend. She seemed filled with great energy and big lush hair that gives me hair envy every time I see her and beautiful flawless skin. Instead I let social anxiety win me into silence. She smiles at me as she gets in, “Hi! I was wondering are you a lawyer? I love your style,” she asks excitedly. I doubt the courts would enjoy magenta curls in the law room, I say to myself. “I actually work in administration, but thank you.” The deflation of what I could be thickens my thoughts. My insecurity rises to the occasion, but her kindness makes me feel seen. We wave to one another and I keep praying I am not ghost riding again.
My bestie, Jay, facetimes me and I end up staring at his pocket for a while. He looks at his phone sees me he puts on the biggest grin, “Girl, the universe must have known I missed you. I was feeling it on my spirit to hear from you. How have you been,” he asks. “Well, a little unseen.” “What’s going on?” “Tae…and Bae problems.” “I already told you about that girl, and your man, well……” We laugh together, “you’re right.” We catch up and I leave my dilemma as is. Why mention that I cannot see myself if he can see me? I tell him my goals and dreams and he says, “I believe in you, I can’t wait for you to become who I already know you are.” Smiling wide I hide all of my thoughts so he won’t worry but the statement feels too big for me to fit into. It feels so abstract but I don’t know where I would have been had it not been for his support, definitely not this far. I look into the square of where I should be and still I see no one. “Girl, you keep me going and you inspire me. Keep pushing,” is his last word to me. I breathe in and nod.
Instead of heading home, its been 12 hours of this invisible madness, I head straight to the source, grandma. Her eyes open as I unlock the door, she searches for me and I wonder if she cannot see me either. “Bendición,” I say quivering. Her half-asleep eyes focus on my face, “my little one, what’s wrong?” a sly smile on her lips she says coyly “I have been waiting all day to see you.” Relieved, I say, “Abuela don’t be afraid, but I need your help.”“Hija, dime que pasa,” she says ‘my child tell me what’s wrong,’ in Spanish. “I have been invisible all day. Like no reflection, I can see everyone I love and work with but I cannot see myself.” She smiles wide with an ‘I told you so’ glintin her eye, “had you passed by here to get your blessing in the morning like you said you would, you wouldn’t have had this problem.But here you are.” I opened my mouth to protest, but there’s no beating the guilt trip boss. “I had a dream three days ago, and your mother had Alexa call you but it said something like access denied, y eso?” She raised an eyebrow side eyeing me asking ‘what’s up with that?’ “Wela, ” I blushed ‘Gram,’ three days ago Bae was over but she already knew the answer to that. She waved her hand dismissing me.
“Bueno (well), your answer is in your question. There it is, we are all your reflections dear, you love us, but do you love yourself?”
Speechless I feel my phone vibrate, Bae’s text reads, “hello beautiful, forgive me, and you are right, you deserve better. Keep checking me you’ve been putting me first for so long it’s like I forgot you should be right here with me too, I love you.”
I finally receive my therapist’s response and she says “you are the common denominator, everyone is a reflection, and your desires reflect back to you. What are some ways you feel you can cultivate a better relationship with yourself?”
I look in my moon journal and it reminds me, “I release all that is not in alignment with my highest good,” and this time, it is how I see and treat myself. The universe knew it would take something drastic for me, to see myself.