Every once in a while I have this fantasy in which I simply disappear. Not literally, but close to it. One day I’m here, the next day there’s no trace of me; I’m just gone. I don’t know just why it appeals to me, but it does. Every time, I am conscious of wanting to control the emotions of people who might be worried about me; I don’t want them to worry, I don’t want them to even notice I’m gone. But those things just happen, don’t they? You can’t control the emotions of anyone but yourself. Would that I could. But I can’t.
Anyway, something about disappearing has enormous appeal to me. And let me clarify. By disappearing, I mean “without a trace.” Like I never existed. Like there’s a vacancy that no one notices, no one but me. Or, perhaps, not even me.
I know, people have written stories about this sort of thing. There are lessons to be learned about how important one is in the real world; if you’re gone, all the good you’ve done, all the positive impacts you’ve had, disappear with you. But this is not relevant to my story; my story is about just being gone without a blip on the screen. No “what if” moments, no “the world could have been different.” Just absence without notice.
Maybe that’s the story in itself. A guy disappears and the expected ripple in the fabric of the universe doesn’t take place, calling into question the relevance of everyone. And everything.
It’s the same as waiting for a response that never comes, an unmeasured emptiness in a hole that doesn’t exist.
I suppose I already know how it would be, in a way, because I can recall being ignored, or at least not noticed. You’ve probably been there, too. Someone looks past you or through you in the grocery store or in a bus; you are not there, as far as that person is concerned. Your existence is as meaningless to someone else as a speck of dust on the bumper of a car on a remote hillside in Sri Lanka is to a guy who washes windows on Manhattan skyscrapers.
When I was asleep last night, words came to me, maybe in a dream. Or maybe I was not asleep, maybe I was awake and wishing I were asleep. I don’t know what they mean, only that they create an image in my mind too powerful to ignore.
“Weep and the world weeps with you, cry and you cry alone.”
And that’s why, sometimes, I just want to disappear.