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The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:17 pm
by FaultyCloaking
I'm convinced that on reaching my fifty-fifth birthday I was given a cloak of invisibility, though I probably got it long before that. In my fifty seventh year I discovered that it is faulty (my light hearted look at loneliness) .

I'm a bachelor and not been in a relationship for a long, long time. I was caring for my mum for years, she had Alzheimer's Disease and when she died I went travelling, as a way of self-healing. Towards the end of the travelling I got ill but managed to get back to England. I eventually had some heart surgery to stop arrhythmia, but they discovered that I had a genetic heart condition. It meant that I had been unwell for about four years after the death of my mother.

Over the last two years I have managed to get my health back, through good diet, Tai-Chi and lots of table tennis and I got the confidence to travel again.

I was at this music festival at Bruges,Belgium being invisible, and I was sat around this small, terraced plaza crammed with Flemish people when I saw this small boy climbing towards me. Lifting his leg up, he would just about get it on the edge of the terrace, pull himself up,then roll over on his front, get half way to standing, totter a bit, get his balance after staggering a little to far to the edge of the terrace and then start on the next terrace. All this I watched in trepidation, closer and closer to the edge of my seat, ready to jump and grab him in the sure knowledge I would be too late as he toppled down and down. But I couldn’t help him because his mother was watching him nonchalantly from where he was likely to end up in a heap and it wouldn’t do for me to intervene and cast doubts over her mothering skills.

Now he was, of course, not climbing to say a cheery hello in Flemish (Dutch) to me, because I’m invisible. No, he was heading for the rubbish bin at the side of me, the clue being he had a crumpled ball of tissue in his hand. I suppose the concern I had for the small boy must have been etched onto my face, the tautness of my body betraying the tension, a coiled spring ready to catch him, my humanity for all to see, except I was invisible. I watched him stretch to his full height on tip toes and try and push this crumpled ball of tissue under the rubbish bin lid, I wasn't happening, so I lifted the lid up and I think in that moment I had, unknowingly, become visible.

I’m glad to say that the small boy made it safely to the bottom of the plaza and he rather charmingly ran to his mother and gave her a high five, I smiled broadly and ruefully watched the family disappear into the crowds.

Then I saw her looking at me, straight at me, at nobody but me. She held me in her gaze, for that moment my eyes could go no further, the intensity of the moment left me dumbfounded, I was visible and vulnerable . I was so unnerved, so confused, my cloak of invisibility had failed me and she could see me, not only see me but look into me, see the very essence of me and I loved her for that, for that insight, that intuition, for being beautiful. I looked again and she looked and held me in that gaze and I was incapable of rational thought.

It came to me how to get to her, how I would pick my way through the crowds, how I would not embarrass her in front of her teenage daughter, her friends. I would casually glance over and make as if to drink cappuccino my little finger raised high from the handle of the imaginary cup, I would smile of course, and after my mime of drinking coffee I would gesture to the Air-steam coffee caravan and maybe hold up five fingers for time and she would smile and nod.

These precious thoughts were given to me on the train back to Brussels and from there on to England, forty eight hours later, when I again became capable of rational thought. I had left that so precious seat confident that I would see her amongst the crowds and in a better place to meet, see her as I had seen so many other very visible festival people time and time again, who could never see me like she had seen me. But I would never see her again and my faulty cloak of invisibility flickered back into life.

Now it feels as if I had a life before “the look” and now a life after “the look.” I keep thinking of what might have been, the possibilities, the pain of not knowing goes way beyond any awkwardness I may have felt crossing that plaza, but I could have sat there till doomsday I wouldn't have known what to do, I was incapable of rational thought, years of invisibility hadn't prepared me. And how must she he felt? to look again and see I had disappeared.

How do I bear this pain?

Re: The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:37 pm
by rufio89
Can you tell us more about this invisibility cloak?

Re: The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:24 pm
by FaultyCloaking
You may already be guessing as to the nature of the invisibility cloak and a few examples will help. You are the person who sits right at the end of the row of cinema seats so you can be the first to leave and it seems like you have never been there at all. Or you are the filling of a chair at a table, in a remote corner of the train station coffee bar that the waitress forgets has ordered a Pasta Carbonara that’s on special, you are not a traveller.

There isn’t really a clear cut, complete explanation, there is no set criteria for the gift of a cloak of invisibility, it doesn’t mean you have to be just old or alone, these are only two of the prerequisites. A group of homeless people or an entire family sleeping rough, under flimsy blankets, in the middle of winter, are equally likely to have been given the gift (the cloak is no use in this kind of situation as it has no insulation properties what-so-ever) and they are much less likely to find a fault with their cloak of invisibility

Re: The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:09 pm
by Bel Bel
It sounds to me like you need to engage yourself in a hobby that requires you to interact with others. This way you can slowly build up your confidence in speaking to new people.
You say you please table tennis do you not engage with the other members?
You don't have to be invisible, you choose to be
By siting at the end of the row and by shrinking into yourself for fear of peoples responses
I am not so sure anything would have come of the lady with the boy but you liked the feeling of the interaction so you need to give yourself more opportunities to interact

Re: The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:58 pm
by FaultyCloaking
Think this particular incident had put me in a "tailspin," leading me to over dramatise, I do like to tell a story. You're right about choosing to be invisible, in actual fact I am pretty confident and engage with new people all the time. A dispassionate response was what was needed to give me a reality check. Would have been nice to know what she was thinking though. By the way it wasn't the mother of the boy, they had disappeared into the crowds. this was somone entirely different who had witnessed the whole interaction between me and the boy. Better brush up on my story telling.


Re: The(Faulty)Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 1:04 pm
by Bel Bel
Glad you are feeling a bit better now.
The fact you know your were over dramatising is good too. Being aware of our emotions and reactions allows us to change them or at least deal with them in a better way
Your story telling is actually pretty good (even if the facts weren't quite right). You have a great way with words. :D