Warrior Words: Visible

Spring is here; I smelled it a few days ago creeping up out of the bald, gasping earth that has been so long obscured by glacial comings and goings. Never before have I felt so pleased at the sight of dirt and dead leaves. There exists, even now, a humming anticipation about all things, the twitching of eager and restless legs to eat up wide open spaces again, the shucking away of the husks of our winter clothes. Suddenly there’s so much that begs to be noticed.
Speaking of being noticed, I can remember in vivid detail a specific one of the many seminars against bullying of which the Wilton school district is so fond. One of my teachers told us that during some past class activity about superheroes, one girl had raised her hand in protest against the power of invisibility stating: “You don’t need to have superpowers to be invisible.” I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this lately.
Just recently, the mother of a girl I used to dance with pulled over while driving past me in a parking lot to talk. Evidently, she’d read my last column. “Don’t worry, I won’t ask you about your future,” she tossed over her shoulder as she drove away, leaving me standing stupefied with the key to my Camry still untwisted in its lock.
Allow me to be blunt: I’ll miss very few of you, and most likely very few of you will miss me. I haven’t contributed very much to this community at all, and what little I do contribute is often quickly buried underneath the avalanche of communal comings and goings. What fingerprints I have left here will likely not last. Thusly, I have grown bitter over the years; a grand frustration arcs over my experience in Wilton, chiefly because I have believed for so long in my own invisibility.
Pathology reports on Ted Bundy, America’s most notorious serial killer, reveal that he held dear the delusion that people refrain from noticing one another; for this reason he was always shocked when people recognized him at crime scenes and then went on to testify against him. I must admit that for quite some time I shared this belief as well, and it’s taken me until the last few months to truly understand that this idea is, in fact, a delusion. I’ve almost settled down here after my 11 years in Wilton. My peers recognize me. So now it is March, almost April; we mount the stage to receive diplomas just a few months from now. And while I am no less eager to begin the next phase of my existence, I feel compelled to announce that yes, I existed in these hallways, even if the announcement comes from some place of selfish human need to leave a mark on a blank surface. I declare it: I was here, and all of you saw me.
As the daffodils begin their newborn ascent up through a crust of hardened soil, what else is left for me to say?

Tyus Southern is a senior at Wilton High School. He shares this column with four classmates.