If I needed more evidence of my continued invisibility, I got it last Thursday.
The confirmation came during our monthly fire drill.
I was in chorus as the alarms started blaring.
As my class was heading to our assigned door, the assistant principal, Mrs. Walters, started to walk alongside me.
I immediately thought I had done something wrong. Why would she want to talk to me during a fire drill?
She said, “Jack, slow down and let the end of the line catch up to you. Then, when we pass by the main office, head in there instead of outside. Okay?”
I just stared back at her. I could get into trouble for not going outside during a drill.
“Good.” Then she disappeared into the crowd of students.
I slowly fell back to the end of the line.
No one was in the office when I got there. Had I imagined the whole conversation?
No. Mrs. Walters was clearly there and clearly asked me to come to the office. I wasn’t going to get into trouble. I didn’t think.
From the office, I could see everyone lining up outside. I could see all of the teachers holding up their green signs. Was my teacher noticing that I was missing? Was she reporting it to the office? I didn’t hear anything but “all clears” on the distant walkie-talkie.
Mr. Roberts, the other assistant principal, came into the office. It looked like he was in a hurry.
“Hey, Jack, thanks for helping us out here. We pull a student from time to time during the drill to make sure our procedures are working. It will just be a few more minutes.”
The alarm stopped ringing.
Students and teachers started to file back into the school.
I continued to sit in the office.
Had anyone noticed that I had gone missing?
Once the hallways were clear, Mrs. Walters appeared. “Let’s head you back to class now.”
At the entrance to the doorway of the chorus room, Mrs. Walters announced, “I found him!”
My chorus director, Miss Noel, replied, “Found who?”
I emerged from behind Mrs. Walters’ shoulder.