I was at a party last night. A party I gate crashed actually. I wasn’t invited even though everyone around me had received one of those glossy gold and blue invitation cards. I really wanted to be there, so I decided to cleverly make my way inside. I knew I deserved to be there and see all those people.
I fully expected to feel like a deer in headlights on my entrance; instead I was looked right through. No one noticed as I slipped between groups or deliberately bumped into them. There wasn’t even a polite smile directed my way. I had prepared some truly witty sentences that I could throw around and practiced my laugh at hundred times in front of the mirror (Remember, left profile is more flattering!). I wanted my troubles to finally pay off… and how dare not a single person acknowledge my presence. I was visible; I had double-checked my reflection.
Time to reveal a secret – I didn’t even know who was throwing the party. I barely knew the people there – two or five I guess. Don’t ask me anything beyond their names. But I had to be there! It was the crème de la crème! The numerous years I have spent in bylines have made me an expert at studying those upturned angles of the jaw. The delicate touch of fingers to mouth and elegant flick of an errant lock of hair from the eyes. The rich perfume that followed their steps – the luxuriant air of confidence and belonging. They thrive in that comfort and assurance; here they find a kinship that I have been craving and trying to cultivate.
This was my moment. It was time for me take the spotlight and make them notice me. I jumped into the very eye of the tornado and loudly announced my presence. My senses were on high alert to demonstrate my lines and gestures right on cue. Heard I was and seen I definitely was. I was also groped and tugged and pinched and pulled. Not that I felt anything. I had arrived and was basking in the moment. Did that cute guy just let out a loud guffaw over something I said? Oh my! Bring up a round of champagne please.
It was nearing dusk as I decided to make my excuses. I carefully matched my steps with other regular guests as we made our way towards the door. I happened to glance at the mirror and to my shock, I couldn’t find myself. I twisted and turned trying to find my reflection but it was not there. I asked someone if they could see me and they gave me a strange look as they replied “There is no you. There is only us now. Us!”
I didn’t understand and look! There was someone in the reflection who was wearing the same look of confusion. I realized it was my body. Just not the same one that had walked into the party. I could see a twisted arm, a forked tongue and glazed eyes. I saw faint rashes around my neck almost like a rope had been at it and a complicated knot weighing down my head. I was truly one of them – matching feature to feature. I was not me. I had left that me behind at the party probably cowering into a corner. I could see her at a distance, growing fainter in the rising sun and looking at me with grim accusation.
Until we never met again.