“Hey, are you invisible?”
That gets my attention. Here I am, humdrum paper-cup coffee and bland NYT magazine in hand, waiting for yoga class to start at the gym. A half hour to kill amid chrome and plastic, the café.
Across from me sit two teenagers, talking over their devices.
“Yeah I’m invisible!” responds the second kid.
I think of Emily Dickinson.
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Two fifteen-year-old boys, with their thatched fifteen-year-old boy hair, regulation jeans and sweatshirts, a shot of individuality in one’s neon red shoelaces.
“Do you like my piggies? I have piggies!”
Dickinson, who knew a little about being invisible:
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise—you know!
Red Shoelaces: “I have a saw!”
Invisible Boy: “The worst is getting lightning over and over again.”
I know how that can be. Sip of boring coffee. Bite of workaday bran muffin.
The two focus intently on their phones. I can barely see them, they are so far off, paddling around in a crystalline universe populated by pigs, saws, lightning and who knows what else. “I’m just stating a fact,” says Red Shoelaces. “Just a fact, that’s all.” A fact in fantasy.
I didn’t go to yoga. I flew up into the air, away from coffee, newspaper, away from self, and disappeared.
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
One response to “The Invisible Game”
I love Dickinson’s poetry! But if I HAD to choose it would be Edna St. Vincent Millay. Still, Dickinson had such a way of making the ordinary into something quite different.
Thank you, Jean, for this most recent blog post! I had to read it to my avid-gamer son, and even he laughed!
No, he couldn’t tell me what game they were playing. Apparently there are a lot of games with piggies, saws, lightning, and invisibility.