“Unseen” is a vignette that details the experience of a young man as he struggles to find himself in the throes of adolescence.
The bell rings, signaling the end of class. The halls suddenly fill with the rush of moving bodies and the sound of jostling students. The door to the classroom swings open, and the stream of teenagers pour in, their loud voices chasing the silence out of the air.
Meanwhile, here was this boy, sitting at the back of the class with his oversized gray hoodie and baggy sweatpants and dirty old sneakers. He slouches into the back of his chair, as if he might sink into it and disappear from the classroom forever. None of the other students pay him any attention as they circulate into their seats.
At the back of the classroom, Ms. Cabana is fiddling with a piece of equipment. The boy watches as she turns a knob – once, twice – and over the din of conversation, a pattern of green dots blink into existence on the whiteboard. No one else notices.
Back at the front of the room, she flicks the lights off, throwing the room into momentary darkness and silence. It takes a moment for the students’ eyes to find the green orbs, hiding in plain sight on the blank screen.
The lesson begins and the students resume their chatter. The teacher points at Axel, a bespectacled, wiry young man, who scampers to the ruler drawer and commences a careful examination of a blank stretch of whiteboard between two dots. Scratching pencils and ruffling papers echo through the classroom.
Then Ms. Cabana is asking them a question, surveying the sea of upturned faces. Her eyes sweep past the boy, whose half-raised hand hovers hidden behind an expansive mass of a teenager.
“Anyone?” She calls. No answer.
The boy mutters something under his breath, pushing his hand a little higher. Ms. Cabana doesn’t notice.
She repeats the question. No answer.
This time, the boy calls out the answer as loud as he dares, stretching his hand as high as it will go. But his efforts arouse only the attention of the creature before him. The teacher has already moved on to the next slide.
The creature, a trunky buffoon by the name of Jordan, turns around. “Who are you?” He spits scornfully.
The thick cotton hood slips off as the boy’s face turns a pointed shade of red. He opens his mouth, but the words refuse to come to his aid, leaving him gaping like a fish out of water. When at last he forces them out they tumble forward in a timid, jumbled heap, barely distinguishable as a murmured reply. Jordan has already lost interest and looked away.
Up front, Ms. Cabana hasn’t stopped talking about the relationship between distance and wavelength. At the board, Axel hasn’t put his ruler down. In their seats, the girls – Alina, Maya, and Stella – haven’t missed a beat in their conversation. The classroom drones on.
Sitting in the chair with his oversized gray hoodie and baggy sweatpants and dirty old sneakers, the boy closes his eyes.
Why am I here?
Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.