Invisible

When Marta's mother can't take care of her any more, she's forced to move in with her grandmother and start over at a new school.
Nobody knows what Marta is going through. And Marta tries to keep it that way.

I get off the bus at the corner and I can see Mama on the front steps. She’s got her knees pulled up under her dress and she’s rocking back and forth. Stuff’s in piles next to her, and when I get closer I see my pink nightgown spilling out of a hole in one of the bags. I start shaking. I know what this means.

When Mama notices me, she cries even harder. “Baby, baby,” she says. I look up at our apartment building and see curtains dropping into place. They’re used to my mother, but they still enjoy the show. “I tried,” she sobs. “You know I tried.” She reaches out to hug me, but I stay stiff and she drops her arms. “I just couldn’t do it, baby.”

I thought this time was going to be different.

I move back in with Grandma and sleep on the sofa and listen to her grumble about my no-good mother and long-gone father whenever I’m home. Grandma doesn’t like me, but she doesn’t not like me either. She’s just mad at my mom. It’s not like she really sees me.

I’d stay home from school, but being at Grandma’s is even worse, so on Monday I check in at the school just up the street. The secretary walks me down to my new homeroom. The teacher points me to my seat and makes a big deal about introducing me and making sure everyone welcomes me. The whole class stares at me. I know what they’re thinking. I keep my head down. If I’m lucky, everyone will just ignore me by the end of the week.