This is a YA novel, it is reality based although there is some fantasy later in the story.
Sara was 12 years old when she realized that she was invisible. She had suspected as much, but now she knew for sure.
'Some way to celebrate your 12th birthday'. Funny, she'd had something completely different in mind. Alas, when you're invisible, you don't have a whole lot of say about what happens in your life.
"Sara. I need to work late tonight. You can stop at McDonald's and get something for dinner. Then I want you back home."
"But Mom, you said we'd plan my birthday party tonight."
"Priorities, Sara, you'll understand when you're older."
"I also promised to put food on the table and a roof over our head. Which promises do you think are more important?"
Sara stayed silent. This was getting her nowhere.
Her mother breezed out of the room, stuffing papers into her briefcase as she walked.
Sara followed her and gave it one last shot. "If Dad's not busy, maybe he can help."
"Sure. He can't be bothered to write a child support check, but you think he's gonna swoop in and plan a kid's birthday party. Good luck with that."
"I just thought..."
"I wish you'd quit making such a federal case out of this. It's just a birthday. You had one last year; you'll have one next year. So did I and your father and the bum in front of McGinty's. It's no big deal."
Case closed. End of discussion. Zip it, seal it, and tie it with a bow. So much for Sara's 'Big Birthday Bash'. "I'll come right home after school, Mom. Have a good day at work."
"Sarcasm won't get you anywhere."
"I didn't... oh never mind," Sara said with a sigh.
"Right, I have to run. Don't forget to lock the door when you leave and don't wait up for me. I want you in bed by nine o'clock."
"Okay," Sara said quietly. Maybe she should just go to bed now and skip the in-between stuff. She waited to hear the car pull out of the garage before she brought her breakfast dishes to the sink.
'Invisible'. Sara was sure that if she walked out of the house this morning and never came back, her mother would barely notice. There would just be one less petty annoyance for Kaitlin Miller to deal with.
Sara had no illusions about her importance in her mother's life. In fact, she was pretty sure that the only time she crossed Kaitlin Miller's mind was when she demanded attention, which she didn't often do. Sara was sure that the minute her mother stepped into her brand new Saab convertible, all thoughts of her 12-year old daughter evaporated more quickly than the car's exhaust fumes.
Sara silently cleaned her dishes, arranging them carefully in the dishwasher. She grabbed a brown bag and threw in a package of Ring Dings, some nacho chips and a half a package of cookies. She briefly considered an aging banana that was sitting on the counter, but vetoed it in favor of a bottle of lemon-lime soda. That would be as close as she would come to her fruit for the day.
Sara guessed she was lucky in that respect. She knew that some of the girls at school had mothers that were constantly nagging them about what they ate and how much they weighed. Sara's mother took no notice of her daughter's sugar laden diet or her less than svelte physique. Sara was pretty sure that her mother had no idea that she had gained almost 40 pounds in the last year alone.
What did it matter anyways - size, shape, weight - none of those things mattered when you were invisible.
Sara threw her lunch into her knapsack and slung the pack over her shoulder. She stepped out of the house, pulling the door closed behind her. She was halfway down the walk, when she stopped and returned to check the door. She might be invisible, but she was not irresponsible.
The young girl set out again. Sara hated walking to school, but it beat taking the bus. Before they had changed the routes, she would stand with the rest of the local kids, waiting for their bumblebee colored conveyance.
Their bus driver, Mr. Magoo, yup, Mr. Magoo, was a really nice man. He wasn't like the cartoon character at all. He was a big man, with a kind face, who looked like he had been born in the driver's seat of that big, yellow bus. Sara knew Mr. Magoo had feet and legs, but she had never seen him using them. He issued orders from his seat, like some great potentate. For all Sara knew, Mr. Magoo lived in that seat.
The kids at the bus stop were not as nice. Most of them just ignored her, looking right through her, except for Tommy and his gang. Apparently Tommy Langley could see her a little bit; just enough to know that he didn't like her.
It was the same every morning. "Sara Miller Diller, she's such a Pillar." What Tommy lacked in imagination, he made up for in meanness.
Sara would try to ignore the taunting, but it would just escalate. Tommy had no reservations about physical abuse either. Soon he was chasing her, knocking her books to the ground and pulling her hair. When Mr. Magoo arrived, he would always make Tommy stop. By then, it was usually too late. She was already upset and disheveled.
She tried to talk to her mother about it once, but as usual, Kaitlin Miller was much too self involved to be of any help to her daughter.
When they moved the bus stop three blocks further away, Sara made the unilateral decision to start walking to school.
She walked, self consciously, with her head down, feeling every one of those 40 extra pounds. Sara might be invisible, but she was not incorporeal. She felt every limitation of her 12-year-old, less than perfect, body. At least it wasn't raining or snowing.
She was halfway to school when Billy Dunn breezed by on his bike. This was when she most wished she wasn't invisible. Billy was so cute and he seemed so nice. At least he didn't tease her like Tommy did. Maybe that was because he didn't see her. Every day Billy rode his bike past her as if she didn't exist.
Sara guessed there were worse things in life than being ignored. She just couldn't seem to think of any right now. What she wouldn't give to be seen by Billy Dunn.
If she had been able to have her birthday party, she would have invited Billy. If, if, if... Oh well, like her mother said, there was always next year.
Sara walked into the cold glass and concrete structure. There wasn't anything homey or welcoming about Stuben Intermediate School. It always gave her a chill, walking into the building's gaping maw. She felt like she was sacrificing herself to some huge, insatiable monster that would roll her around in its gullet until three o'clock, when it would spit her out like a peach pit.
She timidly approached the wall of lockers. Number 252; 12 right, 18 left, 34 right - or was it 32 right - two spins or one? She could never remember. Sara would have loved to forgo the locker experience completely, but that would mean carting 50 pounds of books on her walk home. Anything she could do to reduce that load was worth the effort.
Check out the next chapter
"The Invisibles - Chapter 2 - Tommy"
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