The Day I Disappeared

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Blog | 2 comments

Photo by Flickr user lanuiop

I didn’t go invisible all at once.

It was more of a gradual process; a matter of weeks, maybe a month. It was hard to notice at first. My family spoke to me a little less. Sometimes the dog wouldn’t greet me when I walked into the room. I flickered in and out.

Work had been hard for a while. I was swamped with customer service calls because Pavel was out sick. My desk looked like someone had ransacked it and then dumped the recycling bin all over it. And Maloney had been riding me about getting the end-of-year budget reports done. I kept my head down and kept plugging away.

I started having lunch at my desk. That was when it started. As the autumn season deepened into winter, it was too cold to leave the building anyway. The first few times, someone would come by, Blaine or Sandeep, ask if I wanted to go with them to Taco Bell, or just the lunch truck across the street. But then they came by less and less. My interoffice phone didn’t ring as much. I didn’t mind at first. I got a lot done, stayed late and earned some extra overtime.

I don’t know when I started wearing basically the same clothes every day—jeans, gray suit jacket, and black galoshes over my work shoes. It was when it started raining, I guess. And it didn’t seem to matter much what I wore, anyway. By that point most people had stopped talking to me and I was having trouble with getting their attention, although the work I did was still done, I guess, so nobody was complaining. They just didn’t seem to notice whether I was there or not. Not at work, not at home.

When did I realize what happened? It was when my son Brett was outside shooting some photographs of the house and the pine trees, covered with a light crust of snow and sparkling and silent. There’s a picture, a picture I know he snapped just as I walked past the frame, out the back door. He developed them in his basement darkroom, and one day when he was out, I went in, turned on the red light, and checked the negatives.

There was a pair of white boots, mid-step, almost glowing in their negative image. There was the reflection of Brett and his tripod in the window, faded and small like in one of those fake photos of ghosts. There was snow, a faint black dusting on everything.

I had disappeared.

I didn’t go invisible all at once.

It was more of a gradual process; a matter of weeks, maybe a month. It was hard to notice at first. My family spoke to me a little less. Sometimes the dog wouldn’t greet me when I walked into the room. I flickered in and out.

Work had been hard for a while. I was swamped with customer service calls because Pavel was out sick. My desk looked like someone had ransacked it and then dumped the recycling bin all over it. And Maloney had been riding me about getting the end-of-year budget reports done. I kept my head down and kept plugging away.

I started having lunch at my desk. That was when it started. As the autumn season deepened into winter, it was too cold to leave the building anyway. The first few times, someone would come by, Blaine or Sandeep, ask if I wanted to go with them to Taco Bell, or just the lunch truck across the street. But then they came by less and less. My interoffice phone didn’t ring as much. I didn’t mind at first. I got a lot done, stayed late and earned some extra overtime.

I don’t know when I started wearing basically the same clothes every day—jeans, gray suit jacket, and black galoshes over my work shoes. It was when it started raining, I guess. And it didn’t seem to matter much what I wore, anyway. By that point most people had stopped talking to me and I was having trouble with getting their attention, although the work I did was still done, I guess, so nobody was complaining. They just didn’t seem to notice whether I was there or not. Not at work, not at home.

When did I realize what happened? It was when my son Brett was outside shooting some photographs of the house and the pine trees, covered with a light crust of snow and sparkling and silent. There’s a picture, a picture I know he snapped just as I walked past the frame, out the back door. He developed them in his basement darkroom, and one day when he was out, I went in, turned on the red light, and checked the negatives.

There was a pair of white boots, mid-step, almost glowing in their negative image. There was the reflection of Brett and his tripod in the window, faded and small like in one of those fake photos of ghosts. There was snow, a faint black dusting on everything.

I had disappeared.

2 Comments

  1. It’s amazing how simple repetition creates even greater creepiness.

  2. ooh, really like this.

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