Being Invisible

I didn’t notice her earlier but I see her now standing outside Boots the Chemist dressed in a cherry red collector’s vest – the only thing that looks cared for on this object of neglect and poverty. People pass; some give a dispassionate glance, some studiously look in the other direction. Sometimes she will hold out a magazine and say a few words… this solitary island in a sea of shoppers.
All give her a wide berth.
From this upstairs waiting room I see that few deign to answer her, one man shakes his head and walks on. She looks resigned as though she has done this many times before, is used to the cloak of invisibility granted by her fellow humans. It starts to rain and she doesn’t react. Passers by run for cover to get to the nearest doorway, nearest warm dry place.
When I come out of my optician appointment she is gone, I crane my neck up and down the road to see if I can spot the torn gold velour skirt, the patterned socks and blue moccasins. I presume that she has gone to seek some shelter of her own.
Then as I look back across the road I see a grubby cream elbow poking out from behind the street bin. Sitting on the pavement, still on her pitch, now some people look down at her as they walk past or as they drop the waste of their lives into the receptacle on the street.
I point her out to my daughter, wanting her to appreciate how fortunate she is; I guess her sister, my eldest, is of a similar age.
Later, on my way back to the car, the rain still teams but I must run over to the chemist to buy few essentials and to get some change. My ticket on the car has run out – as I rush out of the shop and hand over the few coins needed – equal to parking my car conveniently for two hours, she takes a copy from the blue plastic protector they are wrapped in and passes me one.
I feel sorry that I didn’t find any more out about this young woman on the street but she has moved me to write…so I do.

http://www.bigissue.org.uk/about-us

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Libby
    Nov 02, 2013 @ 16:13:08

    Big Issue sellers always seem such a nuisence but they are only trying to earn a living and I do sometimes feel sorry for them although I admit to avoiding them too!

    Reply

  2. Helen Jane Merritt...Musings from a Random Mind
    Nov 28, 2013 @ 23:54:18

    I saw a seller yesterday and felt a bit guilty because I was scraping to buy a few provisions before pay day and couldn’t afford to buy a copy so I didn’t make eye contact – awful I know!

    Reply

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