“Invisible doesn’t mean non-existent!” I said.
“In my book it does. If I can’t see something, I don’t believe in it.”
My partner, Greg, was on his usual soap-box, and we were in the middle of yet another argument. Science, specifically the pin-up physics professor who was on the telly all the time, had spoken. There were no ghosts, no UFOs, no life after death. So that was that. The mountain of evidence didn’t fit their neat little theories, so the members of the scientific professions chose to ignore it. And Greg, a scientist and avid fan, lapped it up, unquestioningly.
“Look, you believe in gravity, electricity, don’t you?” I asked.
“Yes, of course. We can see the effects of them.”
“But if someone can communicate with spirits, then that’s an effect isn’t it?”
“Not if it’s just in their own mind.”
“But what if they – mediums – give messages to people that only that person knows?”
“They don’t, they just give general stuff that could apply to half the population. ‘You’re going through changes,’ ‘someone’s going to have a baby,’ ‘someone’s got a bad leg.’ Pfft.” He snorted.
It was no use arguing with him. It just set us at loggerheads and raised my blood pressure. I knew there was a spirit world. I’d had messages from my grandmother and grandfather through a medium. They’d talked about pieces of jewellery I’d got of hers, about my granddad’s regiment. Even that I’d been looking at photographs of them that very day. Indeed, I had, and the medium even told me the colour of the album cover! That was proof enough for me, whatever Greg and his beloved Professor Whassname said. They’d find out for themselves within a few decades and then, boy, would they feel foolish. Always assuming spirits could feel foolish, of course.
“In my book, invisible means something that can’t be seen by the human eye, that it’s out of the right wavelength, or whatever,” I said.
Greg rolled his eyes.
“Anyway, it doesn’t mean it’s not there! What about when it’s dark? You can’t see stuff but it’s still there! Ha, got you!”
“No, it’s not invisible. It’s just not illuminated.” He crossed the bedroom to the wardrobe and took out a grey jacket. “Do you think this goes with my shirt and tie?”
Greg was wearing a pale green shirt and a red tie. I had to admit he looked quite dashing in that outfit. “Yeah, it’s OK.” I looked in the dressing table mirror and brushed my hair aggressively. It was long and brown with natural chestnut highlights. But I hardly noticed them. I was stewing over Greg. He always had to argue. Couldn’t admit he was wrong or let things be. I wasn’t even sure there was a future for us together if it continued much longer.
Downstairs a door slammed. It’d be Greg’s daughter, Heather. I heard her come upstairs and her bedroom door open and close. We exchanged glances. One of us needed to speak to her about her ‘boyfriend,’ Toby. She was fourteen, he was nineteen. I’d drawn the short straw.
After a few minutes we heard her door open once more and a knock at our door. “Come in, honey,” called Greg.
Heather opened the door clutching a couple of notebooks.
“Started on your homework already, sweetheart? Good girl.”
She smiled sheepishly. “I’ve got to write two essays. One on ancestral homes and one on what I think is the most important thing in the world. I don’t know what to write for that.”
Greg laughed. “That’s easy. Science! Or we’d all be living in mud huts, eating berries and raw meat.”
I had a sudden flash of inspiration. “No, it’s not,” I said. “It’s human thought. Without that, there’d be nothing on this planet. And it’s invisible too!”
Heather looked admiringly towards me. Greg’s expression was priceless.
Featured in the book, Flash Friction: To Cut a Short Story Short, vol. III: 72 Little Stories
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