December 24. It began today. At the grocery store, I saw a man whose hands had disappeared seem to levitate a cantaloupe into his cart. Looked through a woman’s head in the bread aisle. Haven’t run out of SeeMe myself, so no invisibility infection yet. Going to write in my journal every day. Think it’ll help get me through this.
January 8. Haven’t felt like writing. Took my last SeeMe pill four days ago. There’s a small area of invisibility in my chest. It goes through my heart, out my back. Going to do a better job of documenting all this daily.
February 28. My entire torso and stomach are invisible. I resemble a deformed spider when I look in the mirror. Going to write only when there’s something significant.
March 27. Nothing left but my head. I guess that’s significant. When I’m moving about in the bathroom, my head floats like a bobber on a fishing line. I keep waiting for something to pull me under.
April 12. Would’ve been seven.
May 10. I watch the news constantly. A red tie delivers it on one channel, a blonde wig on another. Surely they’ll announce a new batch of pills, some solution. Not a word. Cover-up?
June 9. Not easy to shave an invisible face with an invisible hand, but I managed. My little girl used to say she didn’t like it when my cheeks got scratchy. At least I couldn’t see the blood this time.
July 3. The pizza delivery guy bragged about being immune. Said he hadn’t had any SeeMe in weeks and still wasn’t “invisibling.” Said he was going to sell his blood for a fortune. He didn’t have a face. Phantom SeeMe Syndrome.
July 4. There’s no leftover pizza. There’s always leftover pizza. No pizza box either. Was the whole thing with the delivery guy a dream? It’s hard to tell lately.
August 9. A year to the day. The day I was in too big a hurry. The day my wife first told me not to blame myself even though she was already blaming us both. The day she was riding her tricycle in the driveway. The day I didn’t see her.
October 1. I’ve been with another woman. I shouldn’t feel guilty. We only talk. Besides, my wife and I split months ago. It was impossible not to.
November 6. She got me talking again about what happened. For a second, she convinced me it wasn’t my fault. At that moment, she flickered into view, and I glimpsed her face for the first time, her hands, wrists. Even noticed the blur of my cheeks and nose. I think she’s a witch. A good witch.
January 6. Been seeing my witch more and more. Seeing her. And myself. Today she helped me accept some things about the accident. As I was walking back to the bus stop, people flashed into view all around me. I watched my hands pay the fare. Her magic is strong.
February 4. Particularly good session yesterday. This morning I shaved without cutting myself.
February 28. When Dr. Lane said we no longer had to meet so often, she started to disappear. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes. When I opened them, she was back. I’ve learned to cope.
May 14. Dr. Lane chuckled when I told her I used to think she was a witch.
May 20. SeeMe crisis is over. No more invisibility. Everyone is back and whole. Me too, almost. The small area through my chest and heart is still invisible. Nothing will ever bring that back. Not even magic.
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9 thoughts on “The SeeMe Crisis by David Henson”
I think we all suffer from the SeeMe syndrome at times and it is similar to the Wasn’tMe syndrome.
A good story full of subtle humour and a delusional hypochondriac character full of guilt and feeling unloved. I think running over his wife was intentional, afterwards he did begin to feel better.
Interesting, your take on this James was very different to ours. I wonder what the author has to say.
Unique, moving, wonderful! Keep sending, David.
Excellent use of bytes to tell the story. There are only a few effective devices to get in as much as you can within the dreaded limit (the person in my mirror cannot compose a grocery list under three thousand words). And even there they have to be carefully chosen. Good work.
Thanks for the comments. In response to Diane, my intent of the story was to portray a man wracked with guilt (I like James’ phrase “delusional hypochondria”) because he had a horrible accident involving his young daughter, whom he didn’t see playing in the driveway. He becomes delusional and slowly works his way back to sanity.
Indeed that is what the editors took from the story and we found that very moving and believable in the way that you portrayed it. As strange thing the human mind especially when hugely traumatised.
My fault should have read more slowly and carefully. I didn’t fully connect:April 12, June 9 and the tricycle on August 9. In my humble opinion using the little girl’s name at each of those dates would have an added impact. It would have made the incident deeper psychologically and evoke more empathy from the reader. It is a common SeeMe error, those pronouns are in the mind of the writer.
Promise to read more carefully next time …
In all your stories you have tackled recognisable issues but with an imagination I can only dream of having!
Inventive. Poignant. Excellent!!
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Thanks, Hugh! Really appreciate your comment!