“Now you see me; now you don’t.”
He was there, and then he was gone.
He wasn’t ever actually present, not really; just a lone figure in the corner of someone’s eye, or a stray thought in the back of someone else’s mind. Even a ghost would have more presence than him – at least people reacted to seeing ghosts. How else would ghost stories circulate around the world?
There weren’t any stories of him, though. Nobody knew enough about him. Yes, if anyone actually noticed him, they may have managed to put a name to his face, but it would be gone just as quickly, their attention immediately attracted elsewhere. Nobody knew where he lived, or what he did for a living, or his hobbies, if he even had any. Nobody even cared to know; why would anyone want to learn about a shadow of a person, someone they barely even knew existed?
In a room full of lively people, he’d be the only one unnoticed; on a bustling street, he’d be the man on the bench everyone passed by but nobody gave a second glance to; in a bus, he’d be the person who sat neither at the very back nor the very front, but somewhere in between, with his shoulders hunched and eyes cast downward as if he was trying to make his already slight presence even slighter.
Nobody knew him, yet he knew everyone.
Don’t shadows always know?