Boot-Scootin’ Boogie By Jeff Baker
I stared at the pair of boots as the executed clumsy move across the floor.
“Cut that out, Henry!” I said. “And make yourself visible, okay?”
“You mean, I shouldn’t show up just like this?” The familiar voice came from a few feet above the boots.
I grinned. “Yeah. Just be visible,” I said reaching out to embrace what looked like thin air and give it a kiss. “Uh, and put on the rest of your clothes!”
Henry laughed as the boots flopped off onto the floor and he faded into view. A little shorter than me, scruffy blonde hair.
“How long before this country swing thing anyway?” Henry asked.
“About an hour and a half,” I said. “Plenty of time.”
“Great!” Henry said. He kissed me again, grabbed his boots, grinned and disappeared as he walked towards our bedroom.
“And don’t get to popping in and out all over the place,” I said with mock dismay. “It’s not like we were still in high school.”
High school had been seventeen years ago. We’d both been serious closet cases. Then Henry had his “little accident” at the research facility his Dad worked at the summer after our freshman year. He’d gotten his invisibility largely under control by the start of school but he still needed to be invisible about twelve hours a day or he’d start fading. That meant a lot of ducking out to the restroom in the middle of class.
His family and the research facility wanted to keep it a secret. But he’d told me right before Christmas vacation. That was the start of it. Well, I’d been smoking a cigarette in the boy’s room when he rushed in with his midsection just gone. The next two years felt like a very weird cable kid’s show, with both of us jumping around to keep anybody else from finding out that Henry spent part of his time literally out of sight.
Senior Prom was cool. By that time Henry and I had discovered each other. I was ostensibly taking Jan Hall but Henry was my real date. Invisibly. It looked like I was slow dancing with myself during the last dance and kissing thin air, but I didn’t care. I told everybody I’d been stood up and the Principal gave me a breath test, but still, Senior Prom was cool.
By the time we graduated College, Henry only needed to be invisible about two hours a day. Also, we’d moved in together.
“How’s this?” Henry said walking out of the bedroom. Western shirt, jeans, boots and a cowboy hat apparently perched on thin air above the empty collar.
“Perfect!” I said. “It’ll inspire a new country song: “the Invisible Man Boogie.”
Henry’s face appeared below the hat. He laughed as we kissed.
“Personally, I always liked classical,” he said as we walked out to the car, fully visible for the night. “Hey, you know Rimsky-Korsakov wrote a whole piece about an invisible city?”