As a graduate of the Guardian Angel College for Invisible Girls, I was eager to get to work when I was placed with Brad Belchingham, third unluckiest guy in Halo country. I was fucking ecstatic to get my ass to making a difference. My invisible girlfriend Celeste, who I met in Unusual Techniques/ The It’s a Wonderful Life Method class, lucked out with an assignment in the library, but she said she’d wait for me, after all how long could it take to make sure one silly little person was going to be ok. After that I could put a transfer in.
I followed Brad everywhere. When he went to the gas station. When he went to GameStop. When he stopped at the bar. When he got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom for a piss and then crept back into bed and cupped his balls and cried.
Brad Belchingham’s life was a country song. Shit was always leaving him, wrecking in front of him, too expensive, covered in mud, and smelling like leather made from his dead childhood bronco that he never actually had, but pined for. Shit was always a sad-eyed dog driving off in his truck. I lived with him in his mom’s basement. I watched him play hours upon hours of World of Warcraft, I cannot even tell you.
I gave Brad Belchingham everything. Made sure his 7-11 was stocked with his favorite flavors. Made sure his emails were 44% good ones. Made sure the hiring manager saw his resume first. Had that girl he met at Starbucks give him her real number and answer his texts and marry him and have two kids with him and love him for seventeen years. I even banished all traces of fruit flies from his life. I slowed down the growth of his weird eyebrow hair.
Brad Belchingham had a much better life with me around. He hated me for it. Giving him stuff a piece of shit like him didn’t deserve, stuff a piece of shit like him would never know how to hang on to. He didn’t deserve his retirement fund. He didn’t deserve his grandkid on the way. He didn’t deserve the comfortable, supportive underpants. He didn’t deserve nice things. He wasn’t a nice thing. All he wanted, all he ever wanted he shouted at me, even though he couldn’t see me, midnight on his 53rd birthday was to be left alone, to be invisible. “If anyone is watching over me,” he screamed at the goddamn ceiling fan, “If anyone is there, fuck off, leave me alone!”
I don’t show in mirrors. Once upon a time I used to. I see straight through my hands. It wasn’t always that way. My feet don’t press into the ground. It’s ok. I’ve always visited Celeste whenever I can. Sometimes we make out in the archives. We talk about our favorite donut shapes and flavors and how we don’t remember the time before the Guardian Angel College for Invisible Girls. I think I used to be my own guardian angel, I tell her, but I shrug. I don’t remember what happened. Somehow, I was drained. Celeste says she feels the same way, but she thinks she was always a librarian. She thinks she was always just sitting behind a desk, asking people what they needed and finding it for them even when they didn’t know what it was. She says she thinks she was just always sitting around waiting for someone to ask her what she needed, what she wanted, what information would open her life. I tell her, when I first met her, I was afraid all I really found was someone else’s future girlfriend. Then I ask her what she needs, and she cries and the only thing I can do about it is run off and get her an old-fashioned maple glazed and a handful of napkins.
Caroljean Gavin's work is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2021 and has appeared in places such as Milk Candy Review, New World Writing, and Lost Balloon. Her flash chapbook "Shards of a Stained-Glass Moving Picture Fairy Tale" is forthcoming from Selcouth Station Press.. She's on Twitter @caroljeangavin