I Forgot: The Invisible Girl
The little girl was playing with her brothers. She was a cute little thing, barely tall enough to be counted as a five year old. They had turned over the Radio Flyer wagon and were playing bartender. The boys would sit on the wheels like barstools and pound their fist on the "bar" saying "Give me a beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon" like they would hear on the television. There were only four channels to choose from, all local. It was the mid-1960's.
The boys both went into the house promising to return in a moment. The little girl sat in the middle of the large front yard and waited for them. After what seemed like an eternity she started shouting toward the large, red, farmhouse. She called for her brothers but she did not hear anything in return. It was getting late and she was frightened. Little girls do not have a lot of common sense. At least, this one did not. She sat by the upturned wagon screaming and crying as the sun was lowering below the horizon.
You see, their mother would feed the kids breakfast and then turn them out onto the porch, locking the door behind them until lunchtime. She would clean the house and feel assured that it would stay clean this way. She called them in for lunch, and then turned them back out again until their daddy came home for dinner.
No one called for the little girl. She was waiting for her brothers to return. She was concerned that she would get into trouble if she went into the house prematurely and feared that the boys would return while she was gone and she may miss some fun and play if she was not there. So she sat, cried, shouted, and screamed.
Before it was too dark to see she finally got up and walked to the house. I suppose she could have done that at any time but five year olds are not typically big thinkers. Her face was streaked with tears washing through the dust and dirt of playing outside all day long. As she walked through the door she could see that everyone else was sitting at the table. They were eating dinner, calmly and happily. Her daddy looked at the pathetic face on his little girl and jumped from the table to take her up in his arms. She cried pathetically into his shoulder that they just left her out there. No one had called her for dinner. Her daddy was very upset with everyone else for forgetting about his daughter, his princess, his kitten. She did not wonder why he did not ask after her, she just knew he was protecting her from the fear. That was, after all, what daddies are for.
Fourty years later and that memory of 1967 has not escaped the little girl. Through her life people would walk away when they had arranged to walk home with her. They would forget to tell her it was time to go. Kids and adults seemed to consider that this girl could handle herself, that she would not mind, or they would forget her. This came to another eclipse when she was in high school. She made arrangements to walk home from school with a girlfriend of hers. She waited outside the small town high school for 45 minutes. Her friend never did show up. As she left the school to walk the seven blocks to her home she saw the friend at a house with another girl. When she shouted to the girl about what happened, she heard "I'm sorry! I forgot!" This set off a series of emotions that welled up inside of her. The girl who was left behind shouted back "How can you forget a friend?" and she walked home, crying the entire way.
Now that little girl is a grown woman with eggshell self-esteem. She has built walls around her emotions, does not get close to many people and when she moves she does not try to maintain past friendships. She is more a loner and does not like it. She longs for friends, which she finds on social media sites on the internet. But they are only online and she is not a reliable friend to those she used to know. She knows about her past and being left behind so now it is time to heal from those wounds. Time to thicken her skin and make some real friends. Before its too late.