Copyright 2015 Nobo13
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“I just want to be forgotten.” Have you ever caught yourself saying those words or similar? The truth is, those words weigh more than you think. It’s those kind of words you’ll come to regret.
I am the best illusionist in the world. I was the best. I did the greatest illusion of all. I made myself an illusion. My entire existence just disappeared. In one simple act, everyone forgot about me. I ceased to exist.
Even now, no one can see me. Even though I am right here, no one notices me. I am just an illusion. A dream everyone awoke from.
The first few months were bad. I wandered from family to friends. There was no sign of them remembering me. My father and mother forgot they had a son, and played out their lives wondering why they didn’t have children. My closest friends didn’t even know I was missing. Their memories of the past included every detail but me.
The first year was worst. I searched desperately for a cure. I tried so hard to get anyone to notice me. No one ever did. I was a fleeting moment to everyone.
I had spent a few years like a ghost. I was used to it now. I had finally given in to the idea that maybe I was an illusion. Maybe I was just a dream. And it was in those final moments, I met her.
I haven’t moved from this seat for months. It was in the corner of a tiny coffee place. I wasn’t sure why I came here in the first place, but I did. I sat patiently as she came in. She sat across from me and sighed heavily. I asked what was wrong before she looked up in surprise.
‘Oh, sorry,’ she laughed, ‘I didn’t know someone was sitting here, I’ll move’
‘No, please. What was the sigh about?’
‘Was it really that bad?’ she smiled
‘It sounded like you had a rough day?’
‘Well,’ she still smiled
‘I’m happy to lend you an ear’
‘Well,’ she looked me in the eyes before nodding inside her mind, ‘Actually, do you ever get the feeling like you wished you never existed?’
‘I used to’ I nodded
‘I get it a lot,’ she said, ‘I’m not sure why, but I kind of think I haven’t made a difference to anyone at all. Like, if I really didn’t exist, there wouldn’t be any difference at all in the world’
‘Hmm,’ I nodded, ‘You’re wrong about that’
‘Oh?’ she raised an eyebrow, ‘Do you always do this as part of your chat up line, old man?’
‘No,’ I laughed, ‘I’m afraid I haven’t chatted up anyone for a long time. But you are wrong about what you said’
‘So you keep saying’
‘No one exists on purpose, you know that’
‘Aren’t you supposed to say the opposite?’
‘Nope. I can’t really lie to you. So when I say no one exists on purpose, I mean it. And that includes you’
‘Is that supposed to cheer me up?’
‘Not yet. So, if you don’t exist on purpose, what does that mean? Well, it just means you just have to take charge of your life’
‘Everyone is a separate world, so you may not think it’s true, but you make a difference to someone’s world. Today you’ve made a difference to mine’
‘I see,’ she smiled, ‘Thanks, I’ll remember that’
‘I hope you will one day’
‘You’re very strange, you know. Becks’
I chatted with her like usual. And like usual she forgot about her plans. We spoke with each other until closing time. She laughed and told me it was fun. I smiled back and said the feeling was mutual. And within a few steps into the night, she forgot all about me. She forgot she was happy for a moment. Her happiness was an illusion like me.
I sat drinking my coffee as I waited. I learnt a good while ago that I didn’t need to eat or drink, but I still liked to. As usual she came in and sat across from me. She sighed and I replied, ‘that was a heavy sigh’
‘Actually, do you ever get the feeling like you wished you never existed?’ she said after a while
‘I used to,’ I nodded, ‘But I met someone who made me realise I can make a difference’
‘Oh? That must be nice?’
‘It is. You may not think it, but you make a difference. After all, if you didn’t sit across from me, I wouldn’t have had someone to talk to’
‘It’s hardly changing someone’s life’ she laughed
‘Oh,’ I grinned, ‘You’d be surprised’
‘You know,’ she nodded, ‘I sometimes get this feeling there’s someone cheering me on. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it makes life easier for me sometimes’
‘Is it so hard to believe? I think you take your life and actions for granted’
‘Maybe, what about you?’
‘I used to. I used to take even talking to a person for granted. I took even being noticed for granted’
‘What changed then?’
‘Oh,’ I smiled, ‘I disappeared’
‘Wait, are you like one of those people who say they’re going out to the shops, and then never come back?’
‘Pretty much,’ I shrugged
‘Whoa,’ she gasped, ‘What’s it like?’
‘Everyone forgot about me. I felt like I made no difference to their lives’
‘And I seriously believed that for a good while’
‘So why the change now?’
‘Well,’ I paused and thought about how much I should tell her, ‘Sometimes just being there for someone to chat to can save a life’
‘I see,’ she nodded, ‘I think I needed this chat’
‘I do too’
We chatted and went over the same things we usually do. She doesn’t often show me, but this night she showed me the scars on her wrist. She told me recently she started getting depressed again. I told her encouraging words, but also the harsh truth. I think she trusted me because of that.
And again, the waiter came to tell us they were closing. She thanked me for the conversation and then left. I watched as she paused in the middle of the street, unsure what she just did for the last few hours. Sadness covering her eyes yet again.
‘How old are you?’ she asked
‘I think I’m 50 soon’ I smiled
‘You must have seen some crazy stuff then?’
‘Like you wouldn’t believe’
I wondered on what to tell her. I have been there for her for the past two years now. I’ve watched her grow. I have helped with school work, and I have listened to her trying to get a job. I felt like a father to her, trying to convince her the best I can that she was a miracle.
‘Do you believe in fate?’ I asked
‘Not really,’ she laughed, ‘But I think I’d like to’
‘I don’t,’ I told her, ‘It makes it even more special’
‘Meeting people. Think about it, the chances of the two of us talking. All the stupid decisions you’ve made, all the bad things and good times, it’s all led to this point in time where you accidently sat across from an old wise man’
‘Wise man?’ she laughed, ‘But that does sound super cool’
‘It’s very true, you may not realise it, but you’ve made a difference today’
‘Thanks,’ she gave to the usual look she does when she starts to trust me, ‘I’ll remember that’
We chatted like usual, and she left at closing time. I watched as she forgot everything I told her. The shade of her sadness a little darker every time. My heart fell every time she left. Was it too much to ask for? Just for her to be happy?
I saw her less often when she started working. But as usual I waited for her at that seat. She sat across from me a little older, while I never aged.
‘Actually, do you ever get the feeling like you wished you never existed?’ she said after a while
‘I used to,’ I said, ‘But I changed my mind’
‘I don’t think I will,’ she said darkly, ‘Everything seems so… hard’
‘It’ll get harder,’ I told her, ‘But that doesn’t mean it won’t get better. Even if you forget you were happy, it doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. The world is a nasty place. It wants you to think you’re nothing, that you don’t make a difference. It wants you as a slave to serve it. But you have to realise, you’re not part of the world, the world is part of you. It’s up to you to make the world you want’
‘That’s so pretty good words, old man’
‘I’ve had a lot of practice’
She eyed me and gave me the usual look she does when she starts to trust me.
‘You know, I feel like there’s been this voice telling me I can do it. I can make a difference. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like forgetting a dream. But somewhere, I do remember it. Weird, no?’
‘Not at all,’ I said, ‘It makes perfect sense to me’
I smiled as we chatted like usual. At closing time, she told me she had fun, and that it meant a lot to her. I nodded and said the feeling was mutual. I watched from my seat as she stepped into the night. Forgetting once more how she needed to live her life.
I often wonder when I’m alone. Why I bother with all of this. I am an illusion. I am not real. Anything I do cannot make a difference. No one could see me but her, and even then I could not change her life. Every now and then, I notice a new scar on her wrists and I think I can do nothing. I can’t make a difference at all.
I tried not to think too much on these thoughts. They eat me up and make me sad. I waited as usual, sipping my coffee while keeping my eye out for her. She finally sat across from me a little earlier than when she normally does.
I waited for the sigh but nothing. I stared before calling her name. Nothing. I watched as she enjoyed a chocolate muffin with an espresso. It was dull and hardly noticeable but I saw it nice and clear. I sighed heavily before wiping my eyes.
‘You know,’ I told her, ‘I never told you, but you saved me. Every time you came into this shop and spoke with me, you saved me. You made a difference to my life, Becks’
I got up from the seat I had been in for the last few years, and dusted it off. I turned back one last time to see her smile.
‘See you later, Becks,’ I said, ‘Don’t ever forget what I said. Your happiness isn’t an illusion’
“I wore a suit for a while when I started teaching. It’s strange, because I wore these bright colours as well, so my students recognise me as such.
A few years have past, and I walk past my former students. I suppose in casual clothes, they don’t recognise me, or maybe they’ve forgotten about me completely.
But nonetheless, when I walk past these people, almost like an illusion, I feel happy. I can’t help but grin and laugh. Because without knowing it, they’ve made a difference to my day, and to my life.”
For those who are tragically obsessed, Nobo13 was born 1987 in Cambridgeshire. He spent four years doing a Physics degree but spend most of the time doodling and writing. Currently he is somewhat of a teacher.
Nobo13’s pen name is derived from using his surname, just look above! His more unusual hobbies are collecting headphones, yoyos, staring aimlessly out the window (which consumes much of his time) and messing about with musical instruments- at the moment these are ocarinas and ukuleles.
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