George approached the bus stop with its lone occupant cautiously.  If there was anything George worried about it was offending someone without meaning to.

She sat close to the glass, leaning her head against the cold rail as if she had been there for a while.  She didn’t move as his footsteps grew louder, only rolled her eyes as if to say ‘ugh, another one.’

Nonetheless, George needed to get home.  So he sat down next to the glass closest to him and hauled his briefcase up beside him.

“Pleasant weather we’ve been having,” he said to the girl.  Although George worried about other people’s perception of him, he was quite a master at small talk.  When you worked for a bank, you kind of had to be good at talking circles around people.

The girl looked up at him, her eyes growing wide, but only slightly.

George continued the conversation.  “Soon the trees will be blossoming, and spring will be in the air.”

The girl’s eyes grew wider.  She was staring at George as if there was a monster behind him.

“Are you okay, miss?”

He expected her to shake her head and just say “yeah… sorry,” and continue the conversation.  But she didn’t.

“You can see me?!” she exclaimed.

“Well, yeah.”  George began to wonder if she were just toying with him.  She looked young; dressed like a teenager, but something about her face and build suggested she was a bit older, in her early to mid-twenties.  “You can see me, right?”

“I can see everyone, but they can’t seem to see me.  That is, until you showed up.  I’ve been trying to catch a bus for hours now.  No one seems to notice that I’m trying to get on.”

It was very faint, but George thought he saw a glimmer as she gestured towards the busy road to indicate where the buses had been stopping.  It was gone so fast that it barely registered in his mind.

All the small talk tips he had read at night on the internet never went like this.  All the questions and phrases he had memorized to shock him out of his shyness were useless here.  He looked at the girl again, this time focusing on her eyes: green, with flecks of gold that shimmered in the afternoon sun.

How could no one see her?  She’s got to be playing with my head, George thought.  He cleared his throat.

“What’s your name?”  The critic inside of him that had coached him through conversation after conversation with strangers began screaming.  He could feel his pulse quicken as he ventured into this uncharted, and bizarre, territory.

“Lucy.  And who are you?  If you can see me, I’d better get to know you.”  Her voice carried a note of sarcasm.  The critic in George began to shout ‘see, you’ve pissed her off in some way.  Nice job, asshat.’

“I’m George,” he said, ignoring the critic.  He extended his hand towards her, to shake, as he had always done.

Gingerly, she extended her hand and clasped it with his, shook once, and they let go.  For a warm day in March, her hand was ice cold.

“Well, you can touch me,” she sighed.  “A lady bumped into me last night and didn’t even feel a thing.  It’s like I wasn’t even there.”

George felt the critic finally give up.  This was the unlikely situation that he had always feared he would find himself in.  “How long has this been going on?”

“I don’t know.  A couple of days, maybe.  I can’t seem to find my way back to my apartment, or really anything.  I tried to go to the ER to see if maybe I had some kind of brain issue, but they couldn’t even see me or hear me there.  All I really know is my name, at this point.”

He could see a bus approaching, and he began to shift his body to get up.

“I seem to remember this bus stop though,” Lucy continued.  “I used to take it every day to get to work and back home.  I just can’t remember where those places are now.”

By now she saw the bus coming.  She looked around, as if trying to remember where she was.  Then, as the bus neared, she seemed to panic.

“Can I go with you?  I mean, if you’re the only one who can see me, maybe you can help me too?  I just don’t want to be alone any more.  This is just so weird.”  She had strung her words together quickly, trying to get her pleas in before the bus stopped.

George felt weird about saying yes.  What if she really was visible and she was just trying to rob him or something?  The critic began to tick off all the possible and impossible situations this girl could inflict upon him.  But she seemed almost as if she were about to cry. Intuition told George to comply; this wasn’t a normal situation in any case.

“Sure.”  He sighed.  Together, they stood.  George lifted his briefcase off the seat and watched as she walked closer.

“Let me go first; I’ll show you what I mean.”  Lucy maneuvered in front of George as the bus stopped and passengers began to get off.  The doors opened, and she stepped up and walked right past the driver without a look.  George, however, got a glare as he fumbled to find the bus pass in his pocket.  Finally, they moved to an empty seat in the back.

“How did you do that?”  he whispered.  A woman looked at him as he talked to Lucy, a look of confusion on her face.

“That woman thinks you’re talking to yourself,” Lucy smiled.  “Maybe you are.”

The critic in him was now screaming that he was making a fool of himself.  But how could he be sure.  He could see Lucy as clear as he could see the driver.  But no one else could see her.

“I must be going crazy,” he breathed.

“Nope.  You’re not.”  Lucy whispered back.  “If you can ask that question at all, then you’re just as sane as anyone else.”

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