Invisible - Part 7

Continued from Part 6

Source: Sascha Grosser & Library of Congress
via WikiMedia Commons

Part 7: Memories

Mac takes a final look at his undignified teenage self, laughs again, and hands the old photo back to Milo.

“I’m going to wander around the shop a bit if you don’t mind. Maybe I can find that carefree and foolish kid in the picture. I didn’t know it then, but that was the greatest time of my life. I was at the top of the heap," he chuckles, “and in more ways than one.”

“Sure. Take your time,” Milo replies. “Moochie will show you around.”

Mac headed into the stacks, Mooch trailing along.


Margaret taps lightly on the display window of the bookshop. When the woman sitting inside turns at the sound, Margaret holds up one finger and pushes open the door. As she enters, the tinkling bell catches Milo’s attention, but Margaret gives him a smile and a quick wave, then heads over to the reading nook.

“Miriam! I’m so glad I ran into you. I was going to give you a call later.”

The seated woman turns to look at Margaret, her eyes widening. “Oh, hi, Margaret. Um, wow, you look… different, … I mean, great, you look great.” Miriam stumbles over her surprise. She wishes she had the courage to dress like that. But that might draw attention to her, make people look. She pretends she’s invisible, and for the most part, she is.

Miriam doesn’t know the other woman well; she only knows her from the bank. But every time Miriam has seen her, Margaret has been the very image of the conservative banker, dressed in a dark suit, her hair pulled back into a knot at the back of her head. But today, she’s dressed in jeans  tucked into knee-high black leather boots and a wildly colorful flowered shirt. Draped over her shoulders, she wears a deep purple cape. A cape, of all things! Her hair is loose, floating in a curly grey cloud around her head. And rather than the serious faced woman Miriam usually sees at the bank, this one is smiling broadly.

Margaret laughs, and says, “My friend, you are looking at the face of a happy woman. She’s been invisible in a corporate cage for 35 years, but voila, she’s been set free! I retired.”

“Oh, congratulations! I guess I don’t need to ask how you feel about that.


Miriam doesn’t dare consider her own retirement. She fears that if she didn’t have her job at Serenity Acres, the elder care home, she’d probably never leave her house.

Miriam is a nurse. For fifteen years, she worked as the nurse manager at a large medical center in the city. Until she didn’t. After the accident, instead of being the nurse manager, she became a patient at her own hospital. The admiration of her coworkers was replaced by pity.

She doesn’t talk about the accident that completely changed her life, but she’ll never forget it.

She’d like to think that Brad had changed after they got married, but she knows she’d be deluding herself. She was young, and dazzled by the idea of marriage and family. They’d been unable to have children, but that wasn’t the problem. Or maybe it was. After testing, they discovered that the inability to have children had been Brad’s. Miriam was eager to have a family, and wanted to adopt, but Brad wouldn’t hear of it. Maybe that was why he became such a jealous man.

As the years passed, his possessiveness grew, and he began accusing her of flirting with the doctors at the hospital. She’d given him no reason, but he became obsessed with it. It was a catch-22 for her. Because Miriam began to dread going home, she accepted additional shifts. This, of course, meant she was at the hospital longer, which fed into Brad’s suspicions. It was unbearable, and she considered divorce. But Brad had other ideas.

One overcast Sunday afternoon, he said, “Come on, Miriam, let’s go for a drive. There’s something I want to show you.”

“Now? But it’s going to rain, Brad.”

“Nah, we’ll get back before it does. It isn’t far.”

Miriam didn’t want to start another argument, so she grabbed her bag and followed him out to the car. Sure enough, the rain started to come down, but it didn’t deter him. He headed out toward the country, talking as he drove. He barely let her get a word in edgewise and she soon realized that Brad was losing it. He was rambling, apologizing for his temper, claiming it was only because he loved her so much and didn’t want to lose her to another man. After a few miles of his rant, he stopped the car and turned to face her.

“I hope you understand, Miriam. It’s because I love you so much.”

Before she had a chance to respond, he floored the gas pedal, and the car took off with a screech of rubber on the wet pavement. The road was long and straight, and there were no other cars around them.

Brad! Brad," she screamed, "slow down!”

He never lifted his foot from the gas pedal. He intended to crash the car! He wanted to kill her. There was a bridge abutment up ahead that had been the scene of several accidents. It was known as the site of “suicide by bridge,” though she was sure that none of the kids who were killed there while drag racing had wanted to die.

The last thing she saw before everything went black was a bit of graffiti on the abutment.

Much to her surprise, when she came to, she was in the hospital, swaddled in bandages, her leg in a sling suspended from the ceiling. A nurse was leaning over her. Though speech was difficult, she mumbled, “Brad.”

“Sorry, hon, Brad’s gone. Your car smashed into a bridge abutment out on County Road. You know the one. The car skidded in the rain, spun around, and hit on the driver’s side. Brad was killed instantly, and you… well, you’re in bad shape, but you’ll live.”

Weeks later, many weeks later, she left the hospital with a small limp and a large ugly scar on the right side of her face. Oh, and the memory of a big heart graffiti painted on the abutment.

Though plastic surgery was possible, the doctors she spoke to---and there were many---told her repair was difficult and would involve many operations. They all said they couldn’t return her face to its original condition, but it would be "better."

Instead of investing more of her life in endless operations, she quit her job, sold her house, and moved to Middleburg, where no one would remember that she'd been attractive. With her credentials and experience, she quickly found a job at the elder care facility on the outskirts of town.


She pushed the memories from her mind. She smiled her lopsided smile at Margaret, and asked, “Why were you going to call me?”

“Now that I’m retired, I can finally do something I’ve been thinking about for a long time," Margaret responded with enthusiasm. "And I think you can help me.”

Continued in Part 8: Mustering the Troops

Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge 11, Muse 7: "Because I Love You, I'm Going to Kill You"

1 comment:

  1. Hmm... this one jarred me. Circular story, perhaps?

    Second paragraph: ... heap," he chuckles, (quote mark is in the wrong spot)

    Third section, fifth paragraph: "But Brad had other ideas."


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