Thursday, April 19, 2018

On Becoming Invisible

dontravis.com blog post #281

Thanks for indulging me last week. That’s all the wallowing in self-pity until next year… I promise.

This week, let’s go back to flash fiction.
*****
Courtesy of Pixabay
ON BECOMING INVISIBLE
For eight years, it was just Mar and Bar, or Mars Bar to some. Blond-headed, green-eyed Barkley was Bar, and black-haired, brown-eyed me was Mario. Thick as thieves, we hung out, backed one another’s plays, made a great horseshoe tossing team, and occasionally got on one another’s nerves.
During one of those latter times, Bar invited Wanda in. She was an all-right girl… so far as girls went. She could bat better than I could, but I was a way better pitcher. Before long, Wanda and I began to grate. Bar was the oil that kept us from flaying one another.
By senior year, she’d managed to wedge her way so firmly between us, I wasn’t even certain if Bar knew I was around any longer. I was flipping invisible to my best friend. We’d be doing something together, and things would be almost like old times when she’d show up and claim his attention. Pow. Just like that, I was invisible, man. Invisible.
A couple of months ago, I figured it had become physical between them. Bar never said as much, but he dropped hints. And Wanda became more defensive. I felt like a fifth-wheel and tried pulling away, but Bar wouldn’t let me. I didn’t understand it any better than Wanda did, but when the best friend I’d ever had wouldn’t let go, no way could I stand on my own two legs and do it myself.
Wanda and Bar enrolled in a local college while I was going out of state, so the summer after graduation was heaven with a lot of torture thrown in. After the break was over, I’d be forcibly parted from my best-buddy-for-life. The thought hurt, but at least the invisibility factor would be ended. I’d be on my own forming new friendships. Midway through the summer break, I realized that same concept had finally struck Bar.
I have no idea if his awakening was a factor or not, but shortly after that, things changed. We went to a baseball game together—without Wanda. She was helping her mother shop. Then a friend’s birthday bash rolled around with Wanda nowhere in sight. Not feeling good, apparently. Then came the Friday night Bar stood outside my window and yelled my name until my father woke me and told me to go shut him up.
He was soused. Broken up like I’d never seen him before. I no sooner settled in the passenger’s seat in his car than he stifled a sob.
“It’s over man. She’s gone.”
“What happened?”
“Richard asked her out. When I called her on it, she said she was free to talk to anybody she wanted.”
For two years now, she hadn’t wanted to talk to anyone but Bar. Hell, she didn’t even talk to me, and I was there practically all the time. Of course, Richard was a good-looking fellow and the captain of the baseball team.
“Did she say yes?”
“She did after I let loose on her. They went on a date tonight.” Bar hickuped. “Why did she have to get in between us. We were just two happy-go-lucky guys until she showed up.”
That was something I did have an opinion on. “As I recall, you—”
I almost bit my tongue when he threw his arms around me and buried his head in my shoulder, sobbing as if he’d just received a death sentence.
My heart raced as I clapped a hand to the back of his head and made shushing noises. Secretly, I was elated. Something went wrong, and he turned to me for consolation. “Hey, man. It’ll be okay. She’ll come crying back tomorrow. You’ll see.”
He lifted his head, and his eyes stabbed me through the darkness. “Maybe… maybe I don’t want her back. Maybe I’d like things to be like they were.”
Hope danced through me, prickling my insides. Did he mean it? Maybe he needed me now more than he needed her. Maybe we’d….
Whoa there, Mario Quincy Jones! Where was this going? A couple of years back I’d have liked to… To what? Get it on with Barkley Jelson? Yeah, I would have. Back then we were a couple of curious kids. That would have been innocent experimentation. But now? Now it would carry more meaning. Maybe more than I wanted. He shifted in the seat, tightening his grip on me.
Oh, Lord! What would I do if he made a move on me? Did I want him to? Yes. No. Maybe. From the way my nerve ends tingled and my mouth went dry, I likely hoped he would. But he must have come to his senses. He released me and leaned back in his own seat.
“What am I?” he demanded. “Some blubbering kid. Take it like a man, Barkley. Won’t be the last time you’ll get dumped.”
He turned in his seat and unleashed a smile that picked up the light from the lamppost in the yard. “But I still got my best bud, don’t I? We’re still Mar and Bar, right? The Mars Bar. For the rest of the summer, it’s just you and me. Okay?”
“The way it was meant to be.”
“Amen, bro.”
After planning a trip to the local swimming pool tomorrow, I got out of the car and stood brimming with happiness at having my best friend back, at no longer being invisible. Then as I watched him pull off down the street, I frowned into the night as something else tugged at me. Could it be regret at not taking advantage of a moment that would never come again?

*****

We all have moments like this in our past, don’t we? Moments we let pass and later regret or feel relieved over. Mario told me later that he heard Bar and Wanda got back together during the next semester. That was okay with him. He was forging new friendships and standing on his own two feet.

Please: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. And keep on submitting your work to publishers and agents. You have something to say… so say it.

If you feel like dropping me a line, my personal links follow:

Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3

Here are some buy links to City of Rocks, my most recent book.


The next book in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, The Lovely Pines is scheduled for release on August 28 of this year. Abaddon’s Locusts follows sometime in the first quarter of 2019.

See you next week.

Don

New Posts are published at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.


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