I can’t say when, exactly, I became invisible.
There were intimations of it – in the eyes of shop assistants
focussed elsewhere, or not at all, when I spoke to them, and
younger, busier people that bumped and jostled me, saying nothing,
I am not a small man. I am robust and upright. I occupy space.
But my presence had receded, withered. I had become less.
Less here. Unseen.
Look at me. No, don’t look.
My eyes have sunk into my skull. Framed by ursine droops and
dark shadows, the irises are paler, a little watery and unclear.
My hair, what little of it I have left, is grey, and while my face is
unwrinkled, my jowls, chin and neck are fleshier.
Every trace of the middle-aged man I was not long ago is gone,
the essence of him – the thoughts, imaginings and memories he had,
the itchy energy and will – gone, too. Did it all abandon me as I slept –
like rats from a reef-wrecked ship, scampering over rusted gunwales,
repelled by some grim inventory of decay?
I am, somehow, other.
C.C O’Hanlon, 2016
***C.C. O’Hanlon is what the Germans call a lebenskünstler (‘life artist’). He has also been called ‘an indisciplined polymath’ and ‘a rogue’. He refuses to be called a writer, although he has published numerous essays, short stories, and diaristic photographs. He currently lives in Berlin. Find him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ccohanlon ***
*Featured photo courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*