I guess you could say I’m kind of a pro at making myself invisible. I’ve been doing it for years, so I’ve had a lot of practice. I’ve been avoiding my father for a long time, with only a few screw-ups. It’s a little different at school, especially while in the same classroom. I took my desk early (luckily it is far from the door) and buried my face into a text book. Resisting all urges to look up. I made a point to keep my gaze expressionless. I was merely buying my time, waiting for the teacher to start the lecture. Instead of paying attention to the boring speech, I planned out the rest of my day. All of the evasive tactics I would need to pull off my plan seamlessly.
I had to make sure I was one of the first kids out of the room when the bell rang. And I was. I walked briskly toward the nearest staircase, and ran up them two at a time. My next class was back downstairs, but I needed to get out of sight quickly.
My next obstacle was third period. Another class with Kayla. In this class my seat was right by the door, so I stayed out of sight, and walked in right as the bell rang. Kayla was seated no where near me, so this would be easy. Getting out first was also easy.
Next came lunch. I simply ducked into the library and found a quiet table in the corner. I figured by now, Kayla would be pretty confused, but also pissed off. My next class was with her again, and we sat pretty close to each other. I assumed by now, she would be happy to play along with my ignoring her, and give me back the same treatment. I was right. She walked in and didn’t even look my direction as she passed in front of me. We had no eye contact or conversation the entire class period.
After school I left the building and walked to a convenience store. I had an hour to kill before I could catch an activity bus, to get a ride home. The activity bus is for kids who have after-school things, like sports or projects. I slipped onto the bus and made it home with no problem. Day one was complete. I figured by the end if the week, I’d be completely in the clear. I’m sure Mark heard all about how much of an asshole I was today, but I only see him at lunch, so no big deal. They can stay friends. I hope they do actually. Maybe they can be a couple or something. What do they need me for anyway?
I unlocked the door and Todd was very, very excited to see me. He jumped up and licked my face, like he hadn’t seen me in a month. I hung up my jacket and saw a brand new Easton Stealth hockey stick leaned up against the wall. It was probably the coolest stick I’ve ever seen, and the most expensive. I picked it up and looked at it a little bit. It was a JR. flex, so no doubt it was for me. It took me about 5 seconds to realize where it came from. My dad. He felt guilty about our “incident”, so he thought he could buy back my love. I set the stick back where I found it. No thanks dad. I don’t need a gift bought out of guilt.
I roamed around the yard for a while with Todd. I thought day one went pretty good. My friends were allowing me to drift away with no resistance.
After a while, I got hungry, so I went back in to eat. Then I ran upstairs, took a shower, and got into some comfy clothes. I laid on my bed and wrote my first journal entry. I had kind of a lot on my mind, so I easily filled two pages.
Then I picked up the book my uncle got for me about lucid dreaming. It didn’t take me long to realize, this was not going to be fun to read. I read a little, but couldn’t focus. Instead, I put on some music, and just laid there.
A little later I heard the garage door, so I knew my mom was home. I heard her milling around downstairs for a while, but then there was a tapping at my door.
“Hello. Daniel. Are you here?”
“Yeah mom. Come in.”
“Hi. How are you? You have fun with Aaron this weekend?”
“Yes. It was fine.”
“Yes. That was good too.”
“You are getting to be like your sister. Always gone you two.”
“Did you see your gift from your father?”
“Yeah. Hockey stick.”
“Yes. Is it a good one?”
“Yeah. Real good.”
“Good…good. He wanted to be here for your birthday this week, but you know.”
“Yeah. Sure. It’s fine.”
“What would you like to do then, on your birthday?”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.”
“Oh but it does matter. You’re not my little boy anymore. 13 Daniel. A teenager.”
“It’s ok. We…don’t have to do anything.”
“Would you like to invite some friends over? Maybe go out, or have a sleepover on the weekend?”
“Hmmm…I would have thought we can do something nice. We’ll talk later.”
As my mom was about to leave, I caught her attention. “Hey mom?”
“I was wondering if you could drop me off at school he rest of the week, I have a project I’m working on there.”
“Oh. It would be quite early. Can you even get inside that early?”
“Yeah. The building is open and I can get to the library.”
“Well I guess, but you will need to go to bed earlier.”
“That’s fine. Thanks.”
She left my room, and now I had another obstacle taken care of for the rest of the week.
The next two days went pretty much the same as Monday. I played my part of ignoring Kayla, and remaining invisible whenever possible. Kayla, continued to stay away from me, not even sending me texts or emails.
But then something changed. A new set of thoughts crept into my mind, as I laid on my bed Wednesday night. Why did my “friends” let me act this way? Why was it so easy for me to pull off? Not a single word was spoken. It was as if I never existed in the first place. How would I have reacted if it were Mark or Kayla doing what I was doing? I know I would feel hurt. Betrayed. Concerned. From them, I get nothing. Could it be that I never really meant that much to them in the first place? Could it be that I wasn’t needed anymore? Did I somehow bring them together, and was nothing more than a nuisance now?
Somehow I came away from this little mind game pissed off at my supposed friends. A real friend wouldn’t stand for my behavior. There would be some kind of fallout. Even if it was a middle finger and a “you suck!” at least it would be something. An emotion. From them I get nothing.
I went to bed that night feeling sorry for myself. Sorry that I wasn’t even worthy of rejection. What a fucked up existence.
I woke up the next morning, still carrying that head full of ugly. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. It was, after all, my thirteenth birthday. Aside from my mom, I went through the entire day without one person wishing me a happy birthday.
I got home as my sister was leaving for work.
“Happy birthday squirt. I didn’t get you anything yet, but this weekend for sure, ok?”
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t need nothing.”
“Cheer up. I’m sure mom’ll come home with a nice cake and probably take-out. I will get you something. Promise.”
I was feeling kind of hungry, but decided to wait for my mom. Maybe my sister was right, or maybe my mom would want to take me out somewhere to eat. While I was sitting around, doing nothing, my phone rang. I nervously looked at the display and saw it was my uncle Aaron.
“Hey birthday boy! How are you doing?”
“Hey. Yeah. I’m alright. Just waiting for my mom to get here. Kari had to go to work.”
“That sucks. Well next time I see you, I got your gift sitting here waiting.”
“Cool…but you didn’t have…”
“Whatever. Like I’m not going to get the coolest little dude I know a birthday present. Anyway, I don’t want to keep you. See you soon, ok?”
“Yeah. I hope so.”
“Ok. Love you Danny.”
“Love you too.”
I waited until about 8:00, until I couldn’t hold out any longer. I went into the kitchen and made myself some Mac-n-cheese. Just as I was finishing up, the home phone rang. The caller ID showed my mom’s cell phone. I answered, but had a hard time hearing what she was saying. There was a lot of noise in the background. She tried to say something about being stuck at work, and having a ton of shit to get caught up on. She apologized about ten times, and promised to make it up to me. I hung up, cleaned my dishes, and went upstairs for a shower. I couldn’t remember the office where my mom is a secretary, sounding like a loud bar before. She flat out lied to me, and maybe even thought I was stupid enough to believe her.
When I went to bed that night, I was hopeful that this would be the worst birthday I will have for the rest of my life.
The ride to school on Friday was awkward and quiet. My hungover mother seemed very agitated, but appreciated that I wasn’t going to start a fight with her about it. I was hopeful that she got a ride home, and somebody else drove her car for her. I don’t know how much she drank, or what time she got home, but a DWI or a crash would have been devastating.
The day at school went just like the last four days. It was actually starting to feel normal. It was even resembling what I thought 7th grade was going to be like, before I met Kayla.
I boarded my bus, for my ride home. As I approached my front door, there was somebody sitting on the steps. It was Kayla.