Picture Perfect: Chapter Eighteen and a Half

April 30, 2010
By hirion BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
hirion BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It was just another day of being invisible. At first, I thought it would be a challenge to adopt this lifestyle of existing, but as it turns out, this art form is one that you can easily fall into. It is not so much a choice as it is an obligation. Being invisible is not nearly as exciting as comic books make it out to be. True invisibility is a lie. It means being ever present when needed, but evaporating as soon as necessary, as soon as things get messy. No one wants the chauffer to see the imperfections of the glamorous couple, so this is when I take my cue to exit stage right, back to the Staff’s Quarters. Over the years of being employed by Mr. Rivers, I have become so invisible that secrets have started to leak through to me- a line in the play spoken too soon, before my stage direction to leave.

This day of invisibility, though, quickly became one I will replay in my head over and over, never being quite able to escape it. It started just like any other. I waited to be called upon and when Cassie requested my service, I quickly came out of hiding and complied, all the while saying no more than, “Where to, Mrs. Barrett?” and “Here we are, Rodeo Drive.” I knew from the moment I saw the strained smile on Cassie’s face as she slowly slid into the car that something was wrong. I knew that she moved slower than usual, trying not to wince as her body met the hard leather seat. I knew that she detested shopping, and her attempted joke about this only exacerbated her uneasiness. I knew that she walked with purpose towards the maternity store while I sat stuck in traffic blocks away. I saw her frail body weave in and out of a throng of busy people, as I hoped someone would not crush her by simply brushing past her shoulder too hard. Most of all, I saw the telltale bruises, masked in vain with makeup, under her right eye and left collarbone. I wondered where the rest where.

Cassie called me again, with a fake laugh as she told me that she has somehow gotten lost and could just be picked up by the little café, leaving her shopping at Chanel for another day. I easily found her, only feet away from the store where she made her one and only purchase. I said nothing about her bruises, nor her baby on the way. I did not ask her why she is still married to a man that beats her and her unborn child. I simply asked, “Back home then, Mrs. Barrett?” and drove back to the mansion, pretending not to notice the way her body deflated at the question and her inevitable response: yes.

To my employees, I am only seen inside the shiny black BMW. I do not exist in any other part of the world, and have no understanding of its events. I am merely a pawn that can be played when needed. Not that I really mind- I am well paid and able to support my family, which is all I care about. My only wish is that I was seen enough to merit an opinion. Invisibility is fine with me, until it starts to hurt someone. If I was truly seen, I could tell Cassie that she deserves the world. She is killing herself by staying married to Alex and now, her baby’s life is in danger. Women like Cassie are not put in this world to be beaten, they are put here to love and inspire. I wish I could help her see that her beautiful life does not have to be defined by these horrible acts of one man who claims to love her. True love does not make that kind of suffering acceptable. If I was not invisible, I would tell Cassie to run. I would tell her to leave and never look back because I fear that if she did, even for a moment, she just might pity Alex enough to turn back. Just because I am invisible does not mean that I am blind.

The author's comments:
This piece was inspired by the novel "Picture Perfect" by Jodi Picoult. I wrote an additional chapter of the novel from the point of view of a minor character, the couple's driver, John.

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