She thought about writing all the time, as she had since she was 7 years old, but in this last year she hadn’t written very much. The last time they talked he told her that she should find time to write the thing she’d been mulling over for a long decade. Notes had trickled out and been stuffed in to books but things got in the way so there was never any time to knit the threads together. Just a little a day, he said, and that would add up to enough. That was all she ever wanted: enough. Yet somehow that is the hardest thing to ever find.
If only it’s enough for one person, she used to say. One person reached and then that would be okay. She didn’t need to win a prize. Instead she could write whatever she wanted, knowing the page was her only friend. Up to a couple of years ago she also had that transformative audience of one.
When they met it had nothing to do with writing. Long ago in the past those days belonged to someone else who was quite different on the outside. Sixty Silk Cut 100s a day and a polite manner that was often mistaken for shyness, a lack of agency or even kindness. Even then she was barely visible but twenty years later and the one thing she never managed to do was become more solid.
She knew she could fall to liquid in just a moment being forced to pull herself together again as something quite different later. Form never held for long before it needed to change again. None of the changes ever made people able to see her though, and the invisible part was the only part that was old and constant, staring from this strange impermanent shell.
By the time she wrote anything for him, it was the first time anyone had seen her writing for decades and maybe since she had been that strange child with her head buried in a notebook. Something really bad had happened during that in between time, though she never remembered what it was beyond the sense of wandering lost in the blackness.
As long as she could remember she had been told her thoughts were wild and slightly disturbing. Yet it seemed to be considered harmless enough not to lead to a diagnosis, and this was a long time before she really ever started to write anything much. Pictures came first. The language came later when solace, a friend and comfort were needed more than wonder.
There was a wicked witch, as many stories contain a wicked witch. She was blonde, and beautiful, even if that hair was actually a wig covering a suppurating and flaking scalp, and even if her flowing sleeves disguised ruddy scaled arms. She was poised, her smile lit up the whole hall and when she played the piano she swayed back and forth, a rhythm so soothing that you could fall asleep. There a pattern was born that invisibility could disguise but not erase. At least nobody else ever knew. Drawn to the beauty of something so untouchable, from that first time a lifetime of longing.
It didn't become apparent to her until several lives had already been lived and by then it was too late to do anything about it. In the first instance all that happened was heartbreak, and then her ink pen was taken away from her.
In the end other people provided pencils, and an occasional typewriter and that pen came to mean not much. The wig revealed itself to be a straw bouffant, and the smile faded behind the horror of scaling skin and contempt. It was sad to see a shining dream of beauty dissolve in to the truth. Years later she still hadn’t learned to only want the things she could have and that would want her. Aloof and impossible prizes always beckoned and like everyone else they never saw her.
The page dissolved in time. It was heard in snatches of music and sung in moments of peace but it wasn’t until The Quiet Man whispered that she felt the call again. It was a miracle really because in flashes of thunder and starlight and horror he saw her, just in snatches but she was there, visible in moments, and he never turned away.
Now he’s gone the words still hover around as if they want to find form but they lost the only person who would read or understand them. He said there was never a word wrong, which made her smile because she had given up knitting as a child and now just spat everything out on to the page in the first instance. She loved him but she never gave him her spit and vomit. It looked better by the time he got it.
She didn’t know he was gone for a long time and nobody told her because she was invisible and they didn't see her there with her nose pressed up against the glass, looking in as always, but unable to hear what was really going on. There was evidence around, a book or two, a scribbled note that could have flown away in the wind maybe, but they never followed the trail. For decades she had come and gone and all the time without a trace.
The last time she saw him, he knew he was leaving and he said goodbye although she didn't understand that was what he was saying. Now she’s left forever with the memory of that day. The soft wool of his sweater. They stand still in that moment in time and nobody will ever know that they were there. She has no one to write for any more, although she knows he was always going to leave her anyway. She waits for the day she might gain form but she’s still invisible, hovering around the outside of everyone else’s world. The Quiet Man has gone and she is still an invisible girl.