The Invisible Ones


The skyscraper’s revolving doors move again, this time letting in a young entrepreneur whose face is etched with excitement and curiosity. You look at her and wonder whether that was how you looked the first time you stepped into this office. You think that you probably had the same level of excitement, maybe even more, to work in such a prestigious company in the middle of the bustling city. 

You wonder when that excitement left you. 

You watch as the doors are disturbed from their position because of a man in a beige suit who has too little time to worry about the doors. He hurls himself at the door, unbeknownst that with each passing day they weaken a little more. To him, the doors are insignificant, inconsequential, something that was built to serve him and serve him it shall. You wonder whether you seem that way to him too. 

You wonder whether he remembers you, his former colleague and possibly even friend. The nights you had to work overtime, the monotony of the job dispelled with your jokes and his laughter. The beers and secrets you shared as the world went on around you. 

You wonder whether he even recognizes you, the shell of a woman he once used to know. You wonder whether he stood up for you, when you were evicted from the very office you stare at. 

Another businesswoman in a suit headed for the skyscraper where everybody works at pauses before you. A spark of happiness takes root in your heart; someone recognizes you, you are not completely invisible after all.

She mumbles something. You edge closer to hear what she’s saying to you. She jerks away at the sight of you, distaste written all over her face. It is then that you notice the device in her ear. 

She is not talking to you at all, she never was and she never will. 

You fade back into the shadows. 

You stare at the office-goers for a little while longer. You want to leave this street, maybe find a different one to inhabit. The whole city is yours; you can be wherever you want. How does it matter where you stay if you’re homeless? 

However, you find yourself unable to leave this street, unable to step out of sight of the skyscraper, unable to detach yourself from the memories and move on. 

You find yourself still hoping for a shot at redemption, still hoping they let you crawl back despite being the ones who broke you in the first place. 

And then he appears, shattering your thoughts and intruding into your reverie. You watch as he calmly makes his way to the revolving doors, none of the hustle and bustle of the previous people. Why would he be worried though? He has no one to answer to, no deadlines to meet. The only master he respects is himself. 

You watch as he gazes around the street, watching the busy commuters and pedestrians hurry around the city. 

His eyes alight on you. You stand up straighter and fill your glare with as much hatred as possible. You want him to know, to feel, to hurt

His eyes pass on to the next person, glazed without recognition. 

Your eyes fill up with tears. After everything he put you through, after everything he took away from you, he couldn’t even have the courtesy to remember you.

Why would he, though? You are just one in a sea of countless others. You are not worth his time; he will never remember you. 

You watch as a woman sidles up to him, a coy smile on her face. You watch his hand find her back, slowly creeping up. She laughs snarkily. 

You remember the feel of those very hands on your body. You remember how you thrashed and fought to be free of it. You remember how, for weeks later, you ran back and forth to get justice for what had been done to you. 

You remember how it all ended up with you on the streets and him feeling up another woman. 

You wonder whether, given the chance, you would do it all again. 

You decide that you wouldn’t. If it happened again, you would keep your head down. You would oblige to the whims of powerful men to keep your place in society. You would be grateful for the interest taken in you, and you would not create a mess out of it. You would put up with the rumors and whispers to hold your job. You would let people walk all over you as long as you got that paycheck. 

You would become invisible simply to remain afloat in a sea of drowning workers. You would let yourself be trampled on and watch as the higher strata of society rolled past in their magnificent boats and ships. 

That’s what the city does to you. It reduces your identity to your job, it diminishes you into another employee amongst the countless others, it does away with your own desires and longings in favor of those more influential than you. 

It pushes you aside, instead focusing on those with money and fame.

It makes you invisible to the naked eye, only to be seen by someone who is truly searching. 

It produces hundreds of others like you, ready to replace you at the slightest instant of disobedience. 

It consumes you. It drives you out. It absorbs your power, your individuality, your thoughts, your sense of belonging. It drinks it all up, using it as fuel for the powerful men’s egos. And in the end? 

The city destroys you.


Smrithi Senthilnathan [she/her] is a teen writer from India who aspires to become a young adult author or journalist (or both). She believes everything in this world has a story and she's made it her life's mission to capture the unwritten stories. Her work has been published in various magazines such as Sea Glass Literary, Small Leaf Press, Cafe Lit Magazine and more. You can learn more about her on her blog,