Without A Trace, Well, Almost…

“You sometimes think you want to disappear, but all you really want is to be found.” -Kid Cudi

I dislike wearing heels to work. My pigeon-toed feet cannot bear it so I wear flats. In my previous workplace, it was usually fine. That was, until the new group head came.

The group head was strict about our attires and I have seen more than a few instances that she called someone’s attention for what they wore. Wearing heels for women is one of the things she looked at.

Even more unfortunately for me, her office was beside the workstation of my boss. And one fateful day, my boss asked me to go to his station. Midway, I stopped in my tracks because the group head just arrived and was talking to some people outside the cubicle of my boss. I hurried back to change into my heels that I kept in my pedestal cabinet. In my haste, as soon as I wore my heels, I rushed to go to my boss without fixing my flats under my workstation.

Joan, who happened to be my teammate and very close friend too, turned to my station, hoping to ask me something. But, all she saw was my phone on my desk and my shoes on the floor. She did not know about my changing into heels and going to our boss. Finding it funny, she took a snap of my workstation and sent it to our group chat.

It was like she’s looking for me with Mark laughing, saying that my shoes were the only trace I left behind.

I laughed when I saw the group chat after I got back. For the entire day, we pretended to our friends on fieldwork that I went missing. I did not answer calls and messages. I enjoyed “disappearing” for one day.

For so many years, I wanted for a day when I can disappear. To shut the noise of the world away so I can be at peace. To breathe. Then to scream out all the pain I have kept inside from all the bullying I experienced, the dysfunctional relationship with my dad, the sometimes-empty-sometimes-full-of-guilt feelings I had, and from years of feeling never enough. I wanted so badly to disappear.

And as incomplete and as far from my expectations my “disappearance” was, it felt good when I would hear from time to time that our friends were “checking up” on me, asking if I “returned” already. I would get messages from them on my phone telling me to be back already, maybe because they had some stuff to ask me. Regardless, they didn’t just shrug at our joke, not caring what was up or what was going on.

When I “returned,” I told them what happened and we laughed about it. It was a silly day but it meant a lot to me.

Truly, I have found friends I can be myself with. These are the friends who will bother to find out how I was doing or if I needed anything. I have seen these people in action when one of our friends was in great need. These are real, dependable people I have come to really love and I am so glad that I found them.

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