Champagne. The scent of Calvin Klein lingering in the air. A trill of laughter echoing through the crowded flat. It was New Years Eve and a collection of pale marbled skins rippled through the rooms, poured through the ever so slightly too small door and placed themselves like poorly crafted statues dispersed between the kitchen, balcony and living room. There was shimmer of sequins glittering off of the polished surfaces and the heavy influx of newly bought fairy lights made the flat almost unbearable to gaze at. Each clanking of 4-inch heels and the squeaking of leather size 10 ½ shoes made Adam wince. He took a swig of some unpleasantly warm Stella, which clung to his throat as if caught in a spider’s web. Instead of disregarding the now finished bottle, his hand grasped the shabby glass holding onto its comfort. Adam’s eyes roamed the insufferable party only to catch hold of a dull coal surrounded by fashionable diamonds. She was wearing a faded black dress which was clearly too big for her, her legs were of the palest white and her feet remained bare. Adam could see however, the red indent on her ankle where a strap of an exceedingly uncomfortable pair of high-heeled shoes had once sat. She was not speaking, nor did her facial expression change or were her cheeks pulled up into a crease of emotion; she was exceptionally human compared to the other mechanical men and women faking their way through this generic celebration.
Still clinging to his long finished beer, Adam moved slowly towards another human being. He pushed and elbowed his way through the crowd, no one bothering to politely step out of his way but instead pushing against Adam, almost hindering his attempt to grasp life. His shoes – thankfully- did not squeak and were of an abnormally small size 7 which he felt neither glad nor irritated by. About a foot away from the other human, Adam felt a heat rising from the sensitive flesh underhis toe nails, up past his untoned claves and it flowed right up to his ears which now resembled a fire engine red. The unnecessary warmth was decidedly uncomfortable and already he began to emit a mild nauseating stench. His nostrils twitched. He took off his clean-cut suit jacket and rested it over his arm. Adam began to cool. As fast as the smell had arisen it disappeared and with a loud inhale of smoky air he was once again calm.
Adam finally glided over to where she was standing and positioned himself very close next to her left shoulder. He began laughing at her friends’ jokes although his fellow human produced not a pulse of life. She did not even glance at him. Her eyes were fixed on her own reflection in her mechanical friend’s glasses. Adam tried leaning into her slightly, breathing more softly, smiling more gently, his eyes walking around her expressionless face. But nothing. He could feel the chill of her skin and her rigidness; not even his excruciating warmth, which had now resurfaced, could burn away her layer of thickened ice.
Without one look at Adam, she took hold of her friend’s arm and walked out of the room. He stood there in an unyielding sense of defeat. Was he really so easy to ignore? Had he made no impression at all? No. He had not. He hung his head lowly and miserably trudged to the balcony and leaned over the railing. So many lights danced and floated about the ink stained night and as he reached out to touch one it escaped; just as she, the human, had done so. Perhaps he had been wrong, he had been wrong so many times before after all. Adam had looked for almost a year, for somebody who was not blinded by his or her own sight but his search had been fruitless.
He had opened a box 363 days ago, and inside that rotting box seeped out a mask of invisibility. That was the day he disappeared and no one, not even the machines, have seen him since.
© Copyright 2016 Alex Watts. All rights reserved.
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