Some people seem to attract attention the moment they enter into the room. Then there are others who… don’t. In I Am The Ghost In Your House, author Mar Romasco-Moore explores what it means to be the latter, in ways that might surprise you.
Every day on the bus to school I’d eavesdrop. I carried a tiny notebook and I’d hunch over in my seat, dashing off hasty notes about what I heard and saw.
Some of these observations stick with me all these years later – the powder-pale girl in the pink velour tracksuit who insisted she had never once sneezed in her entire life, the enormous drug dealer boy who sat at the very back of the bus declaiming heavily embellished stories about his exploits.
I can still remember these people. But I feel confident none of them remember me. It’s likely they never even noticed me. There would be little reason to.
People, in my experience, are perfectly capable of maintaining directly contradictory desires. Back then, I desperately wanted someone to look at me and know everything about me, to understand and accept the darkest and most peculiar parts of my personality. I longed for someone to say “I see you,” or heck, even just for a teacher to look at me and be like “oh jeez, maybe that kid is not doing okay.”
But at the same time, that was my greatest fear.
I hid in as many ways as I could – dark eyeliner, sunglasses, silence, outright lies. There were things about me that might have drawn attention – being weird, being queer – so I kept them as shrouded as possible. I hovered around the edges of things, never quite fitting in, never fully belonging, but not outright ostracized either. Ignored.
I’m sure I’m far from the only teenager who felt invisible. When writing my novel, I Am the Ghost In Your House, I took this idea a step further. For the main character, Pieta (Pie for short), this feeling is literal.
She is invisible.
And not like a superhero who can turn it on or off as they please. She is completely invisible all the time. There are perks – all of which grew directly out of my teenage daydreams about invisibility. Pie and her mother, who is also invisible, can walk freely into places off limits for other people. They can go to a museum after hours and touch all the art. They can walk out of a fancy boutique with any expensive item they’d like. They live like ghosts in the houses of the rich, helping themselves to gourmet food and precious objects, scraps of luxury. Theirs is an existence unchained to the tradition rules of society.
But there are also downsides. Creating the character of Pie was ultimately a way for me to explore and amplify the loneliness I felt as a teenager – and to imagine what might happen if someone terrified of being seen was able to let go of that fear.
I don’t feel invisible anymore, but sometimes I still worry whether anyone truly knows me, truly sees me, and whether they would accept me if they did. There’s a good chance other people feel this way too – I hope that some of them find this book and recognize a little of themselves in the pages.