My name is Gianella Ferrari.
My story is sad and painful, though it is also full of mystery and happiness.
This is a story that is quite hard for me to tell, so listen close.
It was an ordinary Thursday night in the Ferrari house. Snacks and board games were scattered about the vibrant Persian rug that covered our living room floor. It was game night, and everyone in the family was expected to attend.
I happened to be late that evening.
When I walked through the door I was met with a disapproving scowl from my mother.
“What happened this time?” she asked, though her face told me she already knew the answer.
“I was in detention Mamma,” I replied, and hung my head.
“I figured that so,” said my mother, “but why?”
I looked up, “It’s Mr. Livingston,” I said with disdain, “he never listens to my ideas and opinions.”
“Gianella, this is the third time this week,” scolded my father. “You need to learn to hold your tongue.”
“I know Papa” I said solemnly “I can’t help it.”
My eyes welled up with tears, I didn’t know what to say.
“Gianella,” whispered my mother, “how about you go upstairs and start getting ready for bed. You seem tired.”
I trudged up the stairs, tears trickling down my face.
I put on my nightshirt and got into bed.
“They just don’t understand,” I said to myself. “They don’t get that I’m not the one at fault here. The way everyone treats me, I might as well be invisible.”
I lay there sobbing, listening to the sounds of victory and dismay from the floor below.
Then my eyes closed, and I fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning, my hair in a tangle. I slowly got out of bed and set off down the hall to the bathroom. I looked in the mirror, my face was puffy and streaked with tears.
“Gianella!” my mother called, “if you don’t hurry you’ll miss the bus!”
I put on my uniform: white shirt, gray pleated skirt, white stockings, black shoes, and to top it all off, black gloves.
I marched downstairs.
“Gianella!” my mother called again.
“I’m right here Mamma,” I replied.
How could she not see me coming down the stairs?
“Gianella, you’re going to miss the bus!” my mother called once more. “She must have left when I was getting dressed?”
Then my mother went upstairs.
I watched my mother go, a puzzled look on her face.
Meanwhile, I fixed myself a bowl of cereal and tried to figure out why my mother couldn’t see me.
When I got to school, my first class was social studies, Mr. Livingston’s class. Ugh.
I slid into my seat the second the bell rang. I saw my friend Clara, I smiled, but she didn’t seem to notice. Then the dreaded Mr. Livingston strode into the classroom.
“Hello class!” he boomed. “Last week we learned about the first three American presidents and this week we will be learning about the next three. Who can tell me what their names were?”
A boy named Charlie raised his hand.
“James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams,” said Charlie knowingly.
“Very good, Charlie!” replied Mr. Livingston
“Now, even though you don’t really need to know about them, who can tell me the names of their wives?” asked Mr. Livingston
“Of course you need to know about them!” I shouted. “They also influenced what the U.S. is today!”
I braced myself for his irate response, but to my surprise, none came.
I walked to the front of the room and waved my hand in front of Mr. Livingston’s face, he didn’t flinch.
I did a humorous dance, no one laughed.
I sang a song at the top of my lungs, no one heard.
I sunk to the floor, tears came spilling down my cheeks.
“No one knows I exist,” I whispered.
I woke up shaking, sweat covered my body.
My mother was sitting on the edge of my bed, reading. She looked down at me and smiled.
“Good, you’re awake,” said my mother cheerily. “Take this.”
She gave me a glass filled to the brim with ice cold water andI drank greedily.
“You fell asleep and woke up with a dreadful fever,” my mother said. “I told your principal that you will not be attending school today, so don’t worry about that.”
I looked up at her and smiled weakly, she smiled back.
“Now you get some rest. I love you Gianella” said my mother,
Then she leaned in close to me and whispered in my ear, “and I’m proud of you Gianella. One day you will do great things.”
She left the room.
“I guess I’m not invisible.” I whispered to myself.
Then I fell asleep.