I get that I’m impossible.
I get that I’m mad and rude — perhaps even a drama queen at times.
But you’d be impossible if you lived my life ... You’d be impossible if you were invisible.
Shakespeare was an idiot. Love is not blind. Love is being seen.
Plagued by a gypsy curse that she’ll be invisible to all but her true love, seventeen-year-old Olive is understandably bitter. Her mother is dead; her father has taken off. Her sister, Rose, is insufferably perfect. Her one friend, Felix, is blind and thinks she’s making it all up for attention.
Olive spends her days writing articles for her gossip column and stalking her childhood friend, Jordan, whom she had to abandon when she was ten because Jordan’s parents would no longer tolerate an ‘imaginary friend’. Nobody has seen her — until she meets Tom: the poster boy for normal and the absolute opposite of Olive.
But how do you date a boy who doesn’t know you’re invisible? Worse still, what happens when Mr Right feels wrong? Has destiny screwed up? In typical Olive fashion, the course is set for destruction. And because we’re talking Olive here, the ride is funny, passionate and way, way, way, way dramatic.
This story is for anyone who’s ever felt invisible.
This story is for anyone who sees the possible in the impossible.
** The following chapters are from The Impossible Story of Olive in Love published by HQ Young Adult. If you'd like to purchase the book, move your curser mid-bottom page to click through on the Buy link.
I’ve been known to bend the truth for art’s sake but I swear this time it’s true. A gypsy put a curse on my Nan. At least, that’s what my Ma told us. It happened one day as Muirgheal stood on the stark Irish shore, staring out at the pitching black waves and dreaming of her silvertongued, raven-haired beau—Derry Nial McDonagh—a gypsy boy who had trundled into her village with his wayward tinker family. She was just sixteen but the boy had sweet-talked her into handing over her heart as efficiently as his brothers sweet-talked her neighbours into handing over their scrap metal. Not that Muirgheal had minded; her life so far had been as dreary as the low cloud that clung so stubbornly to their town. For Muirgheal, Derry McDonagh was as tantalising as a secret.
Muirgheal was startled when the gypsy appeared. The woman’s face was dark and hard as the stones on the shore. The gypsy told her to stay away from Derry, because he was promised already to his cousin, Branna.
‘Tinkers marry tinkers,’ she told Muirgheal.
Now Muirgheal knew Derry’s cousin—Branna was fair and plump and ceaselessly cheery. Muirgheal had dark hair and wild eyes, and thought far too much about serious things; Derry once declared the west wind blew from her fury. She would have sworn heaven and stars that her Derry loved her. But no, he was meant for another.
Muirgheal placed her hands on her belly in despair— for a little gypsy rogue was growing inside her. Seeing the gesture, the gypsy woman laid her ring-laden fingers against Muirgheal’s belly and swore a set of heaven and stars of her own.
‘A daughter,’ she said.
Muirgheal had been dreaming of a baby boy with dark curls and midnight blue eyes like his father. Would Derry want a girl?
‘You cannot tell him of the child,’ the gypsy warned.
‘But I love him,’ Muirgheal declared. The gypsy scowled. ‘Foolish girl. You do not know what love is.’ Muirgheal shivered as the air grew dense with magic. ‘Your gypsy daughter will not make the same mistake.’
She clutched Muirgheal’s swollen belly, muttering low words lost to the wind.
‘What did you do?’ Muirgheal asked the old woman.
‘A blessing,’ the gypsy replied. ‘Only her true love will see her. They will see no one else.’
My Nan was foolish enough to believe the woman, she even thanked her as she left.
She named my mother Aibhlinn on the spot. It means ‘wished for child’. Perhaps it was to prove to her baby that she was wanted, even without Derry Nial McDonagh to support her, and perhaps it was to remind Aibhlinn of the wonderful blessing the gypsy had bestowed upon her.
Turns out, my mother did not need reminding. And neither do I.
I’m doomed to wait for love. Not just any love, my lousy true love.
Felix is calling.
‘What?’ I snap into my phone.
‘Hello, to you too.’
I roll my eyes at nobody. Felix loves pointing out my social shortcomings. I’m like his own personal fix-it project. ‘Did you want something?’
‘What are you doing tonight?’
‘Why? Do you want me to come over and kick your blind ass?’
‘You know you don’t stand a chance.’
He’s right, so I ignore him.
‘Anyway, I’m not talking about chess,’ he continues. ‘Come out. With me and Wallace.’
‘I’d rather pierce my ears with a staple gun.’
‘But you never come out with me!’
‘Then you should be used to it,’ I say and hang up. I drop the phone on the bed beside me. Felix is right. I never go out with him. But get a grip buddy, there are a million things I never do, and going out with Felix (and his nauseatingly sweet girlfriend) is quite possibly number five thousand and eleven on my ‘to-do’ list.
I don’t know what would be better—to kiss or be kissed. There is a difference you know. Something about being wanted and wanting, a definite difference. Both smacking fantastic as far as I can see. Yes, I’m aware that I’ve put way too much thought into this. And yes, I’m aware that at seventeen, it’s pathetic that I haven’t even managed the slimiest of snogs. But what can you do? My limp and ragged heart hangs on a nail waiting to be found by pretty much anyone.
But anyone is a strong word.
An aromatherapy candle light flickers across my bedroom ceiling. It’s supposed to make me serene, but it’s not working. I’m as anxious and irritable as ever. The cerebral pathways of my brain are choked up like they’re lined with yoghurt.
I need to do something. Something fun.
Maybe I could do something with Rose. My sister is the poster girl for tedious, but anything is better than lying here. I stand up and catch sight of the empty mirror. Blagh. Seventeen and never been kissed. For me it’s not just a cliché—it’s a terminal condition.
Out in the living room, Mal has his feet on the table like his big hairy back owns the place. I don’t know how Rose stands him but here she is, still in her nurse’s uniform after a nine-hour shift, bringing him a drink. I half expect her to be wearing an apron, à la Stepford Wife. I snort loudly in disgust. She glances my way, panic-stricken, so I snort again and stalk back to my room, slamming the door. I hear her muttering the usual explanations to Mal before she follows me. It makes me sick.
‘He won’t be here long, Olive,’ she says, closing the door behind her. ‘Do you want to watch Model Life when he goes?’
The window squeals as I haul it open. I really need to oil it. It totally screws up any stealth I try to achieve when I’m bailing this dump.
‘Whatever,’ I say, dipping through the window. I slide down the wall, the rubber soles of my boots burning.
Thank god we’re ground floor.
Rose pokes her head out of the window. ‘Where are you going?’
‘For a hit of the city. I despise the oppressive monotony of the sprawl.’
‘Are you talking Virginia Woolf?’
‘Of course I’m talking Virginia Woolf!’ I yell back at her.