All the colors of the invisible
"Have a great first day of school, sweetheart! And remember, don’t let anyone bump you, okay?”
That was a typical phrase of my mother. She always said that to my sister, and now she’s telling me the same.
But she should realize how hard it is not to be bumped by others.
Because the others can’t see me.
Because I’m invisible.
Not the metaphorical invisible; the real invisible. Some Neopets are pink, some are orange, and I’m invisible. That’s how things are. My entire family is invisible, a big and traditional family of invisible Neopets. Our kind of Neopet usually interact with our own people because, well, it’s quite hard to interact with someone you can’t properly assume where they are.
And I had an idea that my first day at school would be anything but great.
“Whatever, mom”, I answered. I just wanted to be done with this and walk to school.
“Don’t be so hard, James. Jessa managed to have some fun, didn’t you, darling?”
My sister made some kind of noise that may have been something like an assertion. That kind of sound a teenager does when it doesn’t want to be bothered by their parents or their younger brothers. And I clearly know that my sister’s fun was scaring people all around school and becoming quite popular because she could fool the bullies. She became some kind of superhero, and the fact that no one knows how she looks like is much more exciting.
“Okay, then. Goodbye”. I grab my lunch and I head to school.
When I arrive at my classroom, trying to avoid contact as much as possible (because, even though I’m invisible, the other Neopets can still feel me), I see that there’s a table with a plaque, where “Reserved to an invisible Neopet” can be seen. I sigh, because of course there is some bully sitting at my place. This is just an indication of how long this day will be. Apparently the other students heard my sigh, because they’re looking everywhere, trying to find from where the sound came.
“Excuse me?”, I say to the bully. “This place is apparently mine”. The bully doesn’t move; he even puts his feet up on the desk.
“Take me off, then”, he answers. I don’t think he knows how an invisible Neopet works. Most of them think we are untouchable; we are just souls wandering around. But we are made of flesh as well. When I easily pull him off, it becomes clear that he knew nothing about my people. His eyes widen and he runs to sit as far as he can from where he thinks I am. The silence has spread through the class.
It’s nothing too bad until the lunch break.
There are Neopets running all around on the school patio. I managed to eat in peace by being the last one to grab some food and by sitting at a forgotten table. But now I have no idea to where I can go in order to avoid being touched. I don’t really want to scare people, so I go to a wall, where I touch my back and face the others having fun.
Then I feel a touch on my elbow.
“Hi”, the tiniest girl I’ve ever seen says. My eyes widen. She is clearly facing me. But how does she know where I am? I am so shocked I can’t answer her.
“I said hi. To you”, she repeats.
“Hi”, I answer.
“I’m Isis. What’s your name?”, she asks.
“James”, I answer. I want so much to ask how can she see me, but I’m too afraid I’ll be too insensitive our too curious. Does it matter, anyway? I finally have someone who sees me, besides of my people. I shouldn’t question, right? Or should I?
“I’ve seen you at lunch. You’re in fact the only thing I see. I wanted to sit by you, but I said I’d stay with my sister. She can see anything”.
What? I’m really in shock right now. I remain in silence for so long it starts to get awkward.
“I guess you’re wondering how it’s possible”. She takes the words from my brain. “I was born blind. I thought I’d never see anything at all, but I see you. I don’t know why and how, but I do”.
“This is like a superpower”, I say, and I immediately regret it, because I have no idea what it is, to not be able to see the colors of the sunset, of the amazing fruits that come from Mystery Island and that taste so wonderfully, of all the Neopets around us.
“I guess this makes me different, at least”, she says. “But I’m afraid no superhero would like to have my ‘superpower’”. They would have to have a great sense of location to fly around without bumping all around”, she giggles.
“How do I look like?”, I ask. I’ve always wanted to know what I’d look like if someone that’s not from my people could see me.
“I can’t see colors or anything. I can see forms, and only that. You look pretty much like a description of a Blumaroo to me. My sister told me they have a long, bouncing tale, a big nose and round ears. And you pretty much fit this description”.
She’s right. I’m a Blumaroo. So I really look pretty normal. I sigh in relief as I hear the bell ringing.
“We have to go back to class now. But I hope to see you around. Bye, James!”.
“Bye, Isis! Wanna have lunch together tomorrow?”.
“Yes”, she answers as she grins.
The entire week passes just like that. No one bothered me anymore. My place is now always empty when I arrive, and no one dares to come close. Except Isis. I’ve found out more about her during the week. She has a lot of brothers and sisters and they all take care of her. She is the only one at her family who is like she is. She had never seen any other invisible Neopet besides me, but I guess this is also because we’re a very reserved group. She loves Chia Chocolates and collects Usuki Dolls.
Then Friday comes, and I feel sad, because I know I’ll not see my friend for two days. But then she makes me an invite.
“Would you go to my house tomorrow afternoon? Me and my brothers wanted to show you something”.
“Of course. I’ll check my mom, but I think she’ll be very happy to see her son with a friend”.
“Okay. If she says yes, just come by”, she smiles.
Turns out my mom is indeed relieved to see that her son has a friend, and she makes me tons of questions of how she can see me. I answer what I know, but she is still not quite certain. She’s still intrigued.
Saturday comes and I eager to go to Isis’ house. The morning passes too slowly for my taste. Then lunch time comes and I run to Isis’ place. I arrive there and she and all her siblings are waiting for me. She really had a lot of brothers and sisters. I count at least ten tiny Neopets, looking too much like her.
“Hi, James! This is our surprise”.
Everywhere I see there are paint cans and brushes. Every sibling has its can and its brush. There are so many different colors I can’t even process it all.
“I don’t understand”, I say.
“Would you like to be seen?”, she asks.
“Yes”, my eyes shine. “That’s my dream”.
“So you’ll be able to fulfill your dream”, and she splashes me with a deep purple paint.
One by one, all her siblings come and touch me with their brushes everywhere. My face, my back, the bottom of my feet. It tickles and, at the same time, feels amazing. The children are also having a lot of fun. I’m a living canvas to them. And it feels great.
They just stop when every inch of my body is covered in paint. Then they bring a mirror and I gasp. I’m a profusion of different colors. I’m black and white, red and blue, golden and silver. I have scales, a crown, wings, and fangs. I’m a piece of art. All the children are admiring me. They are seeing me. All except one.
“You can’t see me now”, I say as I turn to Isis.
“I can’t. But it doesn’t matter. As long as you feel happy, it doesn’t matter. I’ll always have my brothers to tell me about all your colors”, and she gives me the deepest and most genuine of the smiles.
I hug her as I dirty her nose with some Darigan paint.
“Now you know all the colors of the Invisible”, she says.
Now I do.