It started like a regular day at the office. But then when I went to the weekly team meeting, no one seemed to be paying any attention any to me.

I came in 5 minutes late and everyone just kept watching Darren make the presentation. No one made eye contact. And when I raised my hand to speak he simply ignored me. Later I started to talk – “Guys, I think…” – but no one noticed. Janet spoke right over me and the meeting continued.

“Guys, why aren’t you listening to me?” I said. The meeting continued as if I wasn’t there. This was surreal. “Hey, everyone!” I said, waving my hands. “What the hell, guys? I’m talking here!” Janet continued extolling the virtues of the new management framework she wanted us to adopt.

“They can’t hear you,” said a voice. I looked down to see a man sprawled out on the floor, dressed in office clothes like mine, only old and dirty. Where the hell had he come from? “Just like they can’t hear me.”

“What’s going on?” I said. “Why can’t anyone see or hear me? And how come you can? Are we dead?”

“We’re not dead,” he said, staring up at the ceiling. “Just different now. We don’t exist to them, only ourselves, and you’d never know it until someone told you. Took me a long time to figure that out. Guess you’re lucky that way.”

“How? How can this be happening?”

The man stood and stared at me. “You’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “There’s only question you should be asking and that question is not how, but ‘why?’”

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