I think every kid wants a superpower of some kind. My brother and I did. He always wanted to be a flame-throwing, shape-shifting, flying robot-man.
Me? I just wanted to be invisible.
Little did I ever think it would become a reality for me.
I remember the day I discovered my superpower clearly. It was an overcast, Friday afternoon, and my friends and I huddled together in the dim light of the local coffee shop’s back corner.
“I can’t believe Mr. Matthews is making us write a 5-page paper on semicolons. Five pages! How do you even write about semicolons?” Lizzie said, staring hopelessly into her phone’s face.
“I think it was 5 paragraphs,” Bennett commented, scrolling through endless pictures of Ferraris on his phone.
“Yep, five paragraphs,” I said, referencing my syllabus.
“Well, it might as well be 5 pages,” Lizzie said. “What on earth am I supposed to say? I don’t even use semicolons.”
“And she wonders why she fails her English papers,” Joanna said, poking her finger into the small screen she held in her hands.
Lizzie glared through the steam of her caramel macchiato. “I admit it, I’m not the best writer in the world, but this is ridiculous! It’s cruel and inhumane.”
“You just got to think outside the box, man,” Bennett said. “I already wrote mine.”
“No, you didn’t,” Lizzie said, studying Bennett’s face.
“I’ve got it right here on my phone,” Bennett said, grinning.
“You can’t possibly have written a five page–”
“Five paragraph–whatever. You can’t possibly have written it already. Class just got out a half-hour ago.”
“I’ll read it to you.” He swiped his thumb across the glowing rectangle in his hand and then tapped two times, clearing his throat.
“So there was this guy and all his life he had dreamed of being a race car driver, but his eyesight wasn’t good enough to get into NASCAR College.”
“Wait, is that really a thing? NASCAR College?” Lizzie asked Joanna. Joanna shrugged.
“So he got stuck driving semis.”
“Back and forth across the country he drove, day after long, weary day, always with that burning desire in his heart.” Bennett paused for dramatic effect. “He got 347 speeding tickets and went into debt trying to pay them all. It was a very depressing life. Finally, one day he snapped. He was driving down 1st Independent Clause Street, headed for 2nd Independent Clause Street, but there was no con at the junction.”
“He went insane, believing himself to be Jeff Gordon, hurtling through the junction, crashing right in the middle, and all that survived was his semi and his colon.”
“Bennett!” Lizzie said. “That’s disgusting!”
“Looks like you’re not the only one who’s going to fail this paper,” Joanna said, glancing up at Lizzie.
“Not everyone has the writing skills like I do,” Bennett said. “So I get why you’re jealous, Joanna.”
“In your dreams,” Joanna said, rolling her eyes.
“Pretty sure it’s not even 5 paragraphs,” Lizzie said.
“You know, there’s a book about the history of punctuation at the library. I could—” I began.
“Oh my goodness! Look at this,” Lizzie held out her phone, displaying a meme entitled, “If English teachers were in the military,” featuring a drill sergeant saying, “Get down and give me twenty pages.”
“Isn’t that just like Mr. Matthews?” She asked.
Joanna peered over her phone at the meme and smiled.
Bennett laughed. “Yep.”
I didn’t bother to finish the sentence no one had heard.
It was the first indication I had that I could be invisible, confirmed by the fact that when I grabbed my coffee and walked out the front door into the cool, autumn air, nobody noticed.
Walking home, I discovered the full range of my powers.
I crossed the street and took the sidewalk by Marianne’s Antiques. A man walked out, eyes glued to the phone in his hand. He almost walked straight into me, but I dodged him, and he never saw me.
Ryan King rode past me on his bicycle, with white wires strung from his ipod to his ears. I waved and called his name, but he rode on, a blank expression in his eyes.
The girl at the grocery store where I stopped to buy a pack of gum didn’t see me. I waited while she talked to the boy stocking the shelves. I could have stolen the gum and no one would have known, but I opted for the self check-out.
At home, I opened the door. My brother sat on the living room floor, propped up by displaced couch cushions, a video game controller in hand, gripping and jerking it and blasting through an onslaught of enemy troops. If I had been the enemy I would have gotten him, though, because he never saw me walk past him to the kitchen.
In the kitchen Mom stirred the soup in the pot, laughing to herself as she read something on the smart phone lying on the counter. She didn’t see me open the door to my bedroom and then shut it behind me.
The rest is history.
I am Invisible Girl, the girl who lives alongside you unseen, waiting to save the world someday.
But you probably know me as Mollie Wiser from my selfies.