Cassie looked at the disc that held all the pictures of the wedding. Everyone had been given a copy just before they had started displaying the many photos commemorating the happy event. As each picture scrolled past she felt like another arrow would pierce her heart. As each one had popped up she had hoped that there would be an image of her but so far not so much as a fragmented image of so much as one of her arms. There of course were pictures of her brother, it was after all, his wedding. There were pictures of her sister, she had been in the wedding although Cassie hadn’t been asked. There were her parents Laura and Frank and even her grandparents. There were lots of pictures of other family members and friends but not so much as one image showed up that she was in. The pain she felt that weighed heavy in her heart only grew as the last picture was displayed and not once had the camera captured one image of her.
Cassie took the disc and quickly buried it in her purse while no one was looking. She not only felt the pain but it was aggravated by the shame and humiliation of the situation. Deep down the shame and humiliation was unnecessary because no one in the group had even taken notice of her presence and wouldn’t. There was no reason to believe they would take any more notice of her absence. It was always that way. She somehow never was in any of the photos at family events either. The last professional family photo the family had taken that she had been in was when she was ten years old. Even then somehow the photographer had managed to get a shot of her with her face half turned and her hair hid what little of her face would have been exposed in the picture. Cassie had thought she looked more like Cousin It than a human child and yet the family had been happy with the picture and displayed it still in the den.
She knew that she was capable of being photographed because she often took selfies with her phone but there was never anyone to share them with. No one wanted a picture of her. When she would send one to someone in her family they would always delete them telling her to stop sending them. Her father called her a camera hog and vain and laughed at her.
Cassie had overheard her parents talking about her once. She had listened as they went on about her being self-absorbed and wondered if maybe they should take her to see someone. That had been four years ago so she had stopped the selfies and she certainly didn’t send photos of herself to anyone anymore. A couple of years after that she had moved out of the house. She lived alone in a small apartment in a not so great part of town but at least there she felt alone because there was no one else there, not because no one wanted her there.
She left the house quietly without saying a word to anyone. She had passed her mom in the kitchen but her mom hadn’t so much as looked her way when she opened the backdoor to exit the house. When Cassie told her mom bye her mother had acted as if she hadn’t heard her daughter. Closing the door behind her Cassie leaned against it for a moment. The tears welling up in her eyes blurred her vision for a moment and she quickly wiped them away.
She made her way to her little second hand compact car. The rest of the family drove some new high end vehicle with all the bells and whistles but not her. She worked as a sales clerk and she was doing good to afford what she had. She worked two jobs just to stay in her run down little apartment and drive her fifteen year old car and put what food she could afford on the table. There were never any family dinners she attended except on holidays. Not even on her birthday was there ever anything done to celebrate that day.
Cassie had something come up one night and she had run home to her parents. She had let herself into the house with the key she still had but her parents had screamed at her for being there. After that she would only go over after they were in bed to raid their fridge if things were too tight and then would make her way to her old room and curl up in a corner there for a short while to try and feel like she was home. She would never stay long and she was always careful to never wake her parents.
When Cassie got back to her apartment she placed her key in the door and tried to open it. The lock wouldn’t budge. She kept rattling the key but for some reason it wouldn’t turn the lock and allow her to enter her small apartment. She reached into her purse to get her phone to call the manager but her phone wasn’t there. It must have fallen out of her purse at her parent’s house. She made her way to the manager’s apartment but no one answered when she knocked.
Could this night get any worse? Now she was going to have to drive all the way back to her parent’s house to get her cheap little phone. God she hoped no one picked it up. If they did she would only be met with someone making fun of her she was sure. Well at least it would be some attention. The problem however was she was almost out of gas and she was going to be sweating bullets all week trying to have enough money to make it till her next paycheck and gas didn’t come cheap.
Laura sat at the table sipping a cup of coffee when Frank walked in.
“What is it Laura?” Frank asked his wife as he poured himself a cup of coffee and joined his wife at the table.
“I was just thinking of Cassie.” Laura’s head hung with her hair covering most of it but Frank knew she was trying to hide the tears that were running down her cheeks.
“Laura she has to learn the truth sooner or later and accept it and move on.” Frank didn’t like it any more than his wife but is was what all the experts had told them they had to do.
“When she was here tonight…” Laura was interrupted by her husband.
“I know honey but what else can we do. This is the only way.” Frank now had the shining glint in his eyes of unshed tears.
“I keep thinking of how much she wanted to make it on her own and not accept any help from us. She moved into that tacky little place on the other side of town and you see what happened?” Laura had fought with her daughter when she had decided to do that. She was only eighteen and just out of high school. She was so independent back then.
“I know Laura but we can’t change that.” Frank hated it when his oldest daughter had moved out.
When the door opened Laura started to go to her daughter but Frank grabbed her and pulled him to her. “No Laura.”
Laura buried her face in her husband’s chest as she felt the spirit of her long dead daughter standing next to her. The paranormal experts kept telling her and Frank that Cassie had to accept the fact she was dead and any sign from anyone would only serve to keep her there and stop her from moving on.