Everybody ages, it’s a fact of life.  But it appears that I’ve now become invisible.   Walking around my local shops, not one person bothered to catch my eye or give me even a hint of a smile.  And the shop assistant that served me barely acknowledged my existence.

I realise the years have taken their toll.  My face is more lined, the wrinkles deeper and my auburn hair no longer so vibrant.  But inside, I’m still the girl I once was.

Several people pushed past me as I continued to window shop, almost as if I wasn’t there.  Is this what happens when you grow old?  You disappear into the background.

How different my life used to be… when I trod the boards…

***

I can still remember that first review.

‘The West End opens its arms and welcomes a gifted young actress, Miss Annabelle Evans, who last night lit up the London stage.  The depth of her performance eclipsed only by her talent for dancing.’

What wonderful years they were, those that followed.  But a dancer’s career is limited.  Muscles and ligaments become overstretched and the body tires.  As did mine.  That was when the telephone stopped ringing and the parts dried up.

***

It was at that moment I caught sight of my reflection in the shop window.  Time seemed to stand still as tears sprang to my eyes.  Was that dowdy figure in the charcoal grey coat and woolen hat really me?  Had I made myself invisible?

It was several weeks before I ventured out again, but this time with a definite spring in my step.  Heads turned in my direction and strangers smiled as I passed.  A shop assistant, while ringing up my purchases, made small talk.

Back home, I carefully removed my forest green hat and ran my finger over the bright red feather that adorned it.  A souvenir from my days on the stage.  It was just one small step but what a difference it had made.  Just wait until I really get going, I laughed to myself.  And I gave a little twirl!

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Julie Harris
Julie Harris (@julie-harris)
6 months ago

Fantastic story and fantastic picture, Linda. One of your best! I’m so glad I read this before I retired to my woman-cave (writing sanctuary) for the evening. The story I had in my head was about a woman who bought a hat that changed her life! Great minds, thinking alike. You did it better than I could have. Now I need to get a red feather for myself! By the way, do people still wear hats in day to day life in England? Thanks for a great read this November evening!!

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
6 months ago

This is a lovely story, Linda. Sometimes it takes the smallest of things to put a spring in our step once more. During the lockdowns I got pretty down on myself but one day I made the effort and put a colorful shirt on, it made the world of difference! Miss Annabelle seems like a lovely lady, and I can almost picture her hat! I love the photo!

Last edited 6 months ago by Melissa Taggart
Piyali Ganguli
Piyali Ganguli (@piyali-ganguli)
6 months ago

Life should always be vibrant and it is up to us to make it so. Really liked the concept. Nice story.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago

I smiled broadly at your story, Linda. It is so beautifully written. I was imagining Miss Annabelle and her hat with a bright red feather. It was picture-perfect.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
6 months ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

You’re most welcome, Linda.

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
5 months ago

This is a beautiful story, Linda. At first I felt sorry for Miss Annabelle, thinking how often we do that to ourselves, making ourselves invisible to the outside world and how lonely our elderly people could be sometimes. When I got to the part about the red feather in her hat though, I had a big smile on my face. I am glad she got up and decided to make a change. This is such a good message. I love it.

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