Of course, the invisible family hadn’t always been invisible. Once upon a time, not so long ago, they were reliably opaque and assuredly ordinary in every way.
It began with a sort of ‘blending-in’. Little Lucy, the middle child, was the first to undergo the change. As she had always been an inconspicuous child, nobody noticed her chameleon capabilities at first. Until one day, on their habitual Sunday picnic in the park, they thought they’d lost her. Turned out she was lying in the grass right by them all along, skin turned just the right shade of green to camouflage her out of sight.
At first, her folks were alarmed, undoubtedly - especially when Mr. Invisible one day assumed the paisley pattern of his favourite chair. But, as the family succumbed, one by one, to the strange affliction, it became normal. They got on with things; porridge for breakfast, housework, city work, schoolwork, homework, watch TV, cocoa before bed then a good night’s sleep and repeat. So immersed were they in the everyday routine of their utterly average lives, they didn’t notice that they were slowly starting to disappear. Blending had progressed to fading, and before long, the entirely family was totally transparent.
Even in this uncanny state, they carried on as normal, or attempted to. After four days, Mr. Invisible turned up at his job to find his desk occupied, as if he had never existed at all. Mrs. Invisible, a school teacher, was, at first, unperturbed by her students’ lack of attention, as it was something she had become accustomed to over the years –but, when they actually upped and left the room, she was appalled.
Unable to participate in visible society, the Invisibles were adrift. Without work, without school, without Lucy’s ballet on Tuesdays, Mother’s aerobics on Thursdays and family bowling every second Saturday – whatever would they do with themselves? Time stretched out before them endlessly, empty and open and terrifying. The lines that they had lived within were suddenly erased as they were. They were lost. And, perhaps even more troublingly, they hadn’t been missed.
For a long time, they simply shut down, lingered about the house like ghosts. Mr. Invisible went for long solitary walks and took longer lonely naps at all times of the day. Mrs. Invisible fidgeted mostly. She would pace the rooms of the house shaking her head or stand in front of the mirror and stare into it at the wall behind her. The children adapted by sitting in front of the television all day long, eating whatever junk food they could find in the cupboards.
The terrible indistinguishable days and weeks were almost intolerable. Released from the paternal grip of their respective institutions, their time was their own, and they hadn’t the slightest notion of what to do with it.
Things took a marked turn for the worst when a repossession crew turned up one day and took their belongings right out from under them. Mr. Invisible’s favourite chair, Mrs. Invisible’s cross training machine and, most catastrophically, the TV. With no contraptions to distract them and no home comforts to soothe them, things looked bleak for the translucent troop.
It was the littlest of them, Joey, the child who had always been the most rebellious (once refusing his vegetables and twice wearing socks that didn’t quite match) who broke the awful, listless monotony. Seeing a toy rocket in the neighbours’ garden that he quite fancied, he casually jumped over the wall, and took it.
Of course, his parents were aghast at his behaviour. They put him on the naughty step where he remained for approximately four seconds before wandering off, unseen. But, soon it became clear that Joey’s act of rebellion had had a profound effect on the family. They realized, with that one defection from the well-travelled-path that they had held so dear, that anything was possible.
For the first time in a long time, they had a good family chat. Excitedly they each voiced their wishes and dreams made reachable by their current condition, and they all agreed to act upon them.
The oldest of the children, Marcy, a straight B student and aspiring actuary wanted to dance on stage at a One Direction concert. So they went, and she did.
Little Lucy wanted to have a midnight feast in the fairytale castle of a well-known theme park. So they slipped past security and enjoyed a magical night, ending with a secret feast.
Joey wanted to travel in the cockpit of a plane, so they bundled onto the next flight, and he stood right by the pilot the whole way to Hawaii.
Mrs. Invisible wanted to go skinny-dipping in the pacific on a crowded beach. So, she did. (The others were less inclined and spent the day licking other people’s ice-creams instead.)
Mr. Invisible wanted to spend a day in the ladies changing rooms at Walmart, but, his idea was vetoed by Mrs. Invisible and instead he ‘borrowed’ a top of the range convertible from a swanky car dealership and sped around town for one exhilarating afternoon.
And when they’d all exhausted their eager imaginations, they climbed up onto the flat roof of their house, because they could, and lay there watching the stars, because they could and little Joey played with the neighbour’s toy rocket, pretending to be an astronaut shooting up to the moon.
“What in the name of our Lord are you all doing up there?” shouted the neighbour, who stood looking up at them with his arms crossed. His wife appeared beside him, nightdress on, curlers in her hair.
“And look,” she cried, “that kid’s got Tommy’s rocket!”
The invisible family looked to each other and found that they were quite abnormally opaque, their recent transparency reversed. And, at first, they were disappointed, did this mean the fun was over? Would they have to go back to porridge for breakfast and all that came with it?
Mrs. Invisible stood up, naked as the day she was born, and proclaimed proudly;
“Why, we’re stargazing. And it’s wonderful!”
And so, they carried on about their peculiar business, no longer happy to blend in or fade away, determined never to become invisible again.
In time, the Mr. and Mrs. did return to work, unwilling this time, though, to be ignored or unappreciated. They replaced their belongings too, but chose a trampoline and telescope in place of the TV. Joey never did return that rocket, and the neighbours were too terrified to ask. Lucy often woke them all in the middle of the night for an impromptu feast, and Marcy, well, she became an actuary. And a very happy one she was too. No more bowling every second Saturday, but instead spontaneous adventures on Tuesday nights and Sunday evenings or whenever the mood took them. They went with their whims and made time for little wishes. And they keep the curtains open always so that everyone could see just what really living looked like.
And they lived ever after.
Created: Jul 23, 2012Metaphorest Document Media