The Blind Spot by Susan Gibb

She was beautiful once, a few years ago. Street life has since pock-marked her face, dotted her arms with bruises that scream purple, mellow to yellow and green, or fester if the needle was dirty.

She takes out a comb and makes a part in her hair down the middle but just a few inches down it catches on knots and her arm, painfully heavy, drops away, leaving the comb there like a butterfly perched on her ear.

It takes a long time but she gets it untangled. Spits on the ends to curl them around her finger, slowly drawing it out to let them hang there to dry. She pulls out a small round mirror, peers between cracks, presses down with the palm of her hand to level the shards back into one single image. Or at least as close to one as she can.

Her hands flipper through the large plastic bag, come out with a scratched and dented tube of lipstick. The color flares up like a lighter. She leans close to the mirror and paints on the memory of lips. She finds a clean sweater, changes her jeans, and goes out to stand by the curb.

He comes by at the usual time and she hopes to catch his eye. Last Friday evening she recognized him, thought he might have recognized her. He stares, slows his step but doesn’t stop. She smiles but he keeps walking by.


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Filed under Susan Gibb

14 responses to “The Blind Spot by Susan Gibb

  1. Invisible people nicely portrayed.

  2. I love how you leave it to us to decide who the man is. Is it a potential trick, or her father: or is it the Angel of Death. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you, folks. Tom, you’ve seen something here that I didn’t, and that’s what makes it all so great to get reader input.

  4. Jessie Peacock

    All that effort to end up invisible anyway. Loved it.

  5. K

    This piece did a wonderful job of capturing the sentiment of fickle beauty, especially when that is your calling card. The woman’s efforts at being seen are heartbreakingly thwarted by her inability to bring back the beauty she’s lost. The imagery was spot on. Lovely!

  6. As I have often said about your stories, Susan, I love what you leave to the reader to imagine here. Wonderful.

  7. So believable, I love the way you portray her, I have seen these women and it’s heartbreaking. And then the man… more heartbreaking.

  8. len kuntz

    i agree with susan, and i loved that last paragraph. it jerked the story in another direction entirely.

  9. So detailed, this story, almost reading like you have done all these things and lived them and then re-experienced them and written them down. This kind of detail is always impressive.

  10. loved the irony here, the time spent to look attractive yet still invisible. alos appreciated the lipstick flaming, great visual. thank you for paying attention to those most of us do not see. peace…

  11. Alexandra Pereira

    Beautifully written, Susan! “…with bruises that scream purple”; “the comb there like a butterfly perched on her ear”… Enjoyed this sad but realistic story that left the reader to imagine the rest.. Well done. :-)

  12. Incomparable. Left in awe. So good!

  13. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  14. Thank you all for the read and the great comments. This lady showed up in my mind and I went through her motions and emotions with her.

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