Welcome back to Flash Fiction Friday, Arrowheads! Today, I’m posting a story I wrote quite a few years back, when I was a die-hard Taylor Swift fan. This story is based off her song, “Invisible“, which was a bonus track on her self-titled album. I was obsessed with this song in high school, which is what inspired me to originally pen this story on Quizilla. I’ve just recently edited it. I hope you like it!
*Beep* *Beep* *BEEP*
My pillow soars over my alarm clock, failing to shut it up. If there’s anything worse than getting up at five-thirty in general, it’s getting up at five-thirty during summer vacation. Thanks to a nice little hit-and-run someone gave my car in the school parking lot last year, I now have to work at this burger joint tailored to little kids—Mr. French’s Fry Factory—to pay for the repairs.
Tumbling out of bed, I grab my uniform from its hanger and drag myself into the bathroom to get ready. As I run the comb through my dirty-blonde hair, it keeps getting stuck in knots. “Oh, great. Now I look horrible, and have to face another day where Tristan won’t acknowledge my existence,” I sigh, turning away from the mirror.
I finish my morning routine by applying a little foundation and mascara, rushing out the door to my beat-up Ford Escape. After three cautious attempts, the engine comes to a start. You’d think that my parents—one being a CPA, and the other a vet—would help me finance a different car now that I’m eighteen, but no. All the extra money and attention are allocated to my older sister, Cali, who’s at college out-of-state. And just like with Tristan, I’m never noticed.
Driving down Main Street, someone in a red Mustang pulls out in front of me, forcing me to slam on breaks. I snarl as the driver beeps their horn at me. Of course, it’s Madigan—the head cheerleader at my high school—and, to my pain, Tristan’s girlfriend. How, I don’t know. Despite every revolting thing about her, he’s actually a stand-up guy. Why he’s with her, the worst driver at Linwood Whaley High, I’ll never know.
As I pull into a parking spot at work, six customers are already lined up ready to order breakfast. Great, another sunrise rush, I think, slapping the Mr. French’s visor on my head. I force a smile as I walk in, taking my position at one of the registers. I have to deal with most of the customers, as Audrey’s working the other register, and she’s the laziest employee here. Wiping off the counters, I can’t help but wonder why Tristan’s not here yet; he’s never late for work. Figuring it’s nothing, I continue preparing everyone’s breakfast to-gos and try not to worry about it.
Half an hour later, Tristan bolts through the door, throwing his jacket over one of the booth seats near the back. Exhaustion is present on his face, his eyes red and puffy as if he’s been crying. As he brushes past me, I open my mouth to ask him what’s wrong, until our manager orders him to get to work if he wants to keep his job. Jerk. Finally, as our break approaches around ten, I decide to take that leap of faith and talk to him. Oh, this is going to be difficult.
Tristan’s head lies down on the booth, looking like an elementary school student playing “Heads Down, Thumbs Up”. How should I approach this? Should I poke his arm? Should I go over to wipe off the booth and use that as a segway? My steps are tentative as I make my way to the table.
“I know I look like I’ve been sniffing onions for hours, but you don’t have to stare, you know,” he says, glancing up at me. A tear rolls down his cheek, highlighting his ice blue eyes.
“Sorry,” I answer, staring down at the obnoxiously bright yellow tiled floors, “just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”
“Oh, well thanks, Brooke,” he replies grimly, taking a moment to clear his throat. “It’s nothing major; Madigan and I just had an argument is all.”
He and Madigan had a fight? She’s had him under her spell for over two years; this is the first time I’ve heard of them arguing.
“Gosh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I say, attempting to comfort him the best I can, knowing how vile Madigan can get when she doesn’t get her way. Which explains the damage on my Escape, by the way. “I’m here if you need to talk about it.”
For the first time today, he smiles, pointing to the seat opposite him. He unfolds to me a story of love, lust, and betrayal. Apparently, he caught Madigan kissing his best friend last night while they were all at the beach. Some best friend.
“And to think I was convinced that I loved her. You know, I’ve held off from telling her that until I was sure of it. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just saying it because I felt I had to, you know? And I was going to tell her tonight. We were supposed to go to the movies together,” he confesses, his head in his hands.
I pat his hand, hating the circumstances for him. If it would’ve been me, I wouldn’t have even come to work today. I decide to make it up to him. “Let’s do something tonight, you and me. We could go to the movies, just as friends. How about it?”
“Sure, Brooke, that sounds cool,” he replies, his smile weak. “Thanks, by the way.”
‘No problem.” My heart beats a million miles per hour, feeling as if I’m about to explode with giddiness.
So much for being “invisible”. Today I learned that if you put yourself out there, you won’t be invisible. Even though Tristan and I are just hanging out as friends tonight, it could lead to more eventually. So, take my advice: when opportunity strikes, jump at it. Either that, or you’ll always be another faceless shadow in the crowd.
© Allyson Kennedy, 2017. All rights reserved.
Thanks for reading, and please check back next week for more flash fiction!