“Invitation” by Shel Silverstein

I came across a lovely blog with a lovely writing challenge! Mr. Dermott Hayes, the author, has kindly invited me to participate, a request which I could not decline. The challenge is for any writer to put their own twist on one of the pieces of writing he has presented in his post. One of the books is Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, a title that I googled obliviously then slowly shrieked at when I saw the book cover.

 

I remember it, I remember it!” I quietly said to myself. One of my best childhood teachers and I would sit together on our beanbags and read out of this book for hours! What lovely memories I had forgotten existed that this picture brought back. Childhood was such an iridescent experience.

Please make sure to check this challenge out and participate if you wish, it is tremendous fun, I can assure you! Flax Golden Tales

I will be putting out a short story on Silverstein’s opening poem “Invitation”. Enjoy!

*

My Mama read to me every night. I loved the reading, and I loved my Mama.

“Come on, Kiddo. It’s time for bed.” She said one night with languid eyes and tired lips as she gestured with her hands for me to climb up the stairs I always climbed.

“But I don’t feel sleepy. And Daddy isn’t home yet!” I pleaded, though not with any aggressive desire to continue with alert eyes and wobbly legs. I was planning on giving in to anything my mother was to do — a sigh or two arms akimbo, or perhaps even two rolling eyes.

But she didn’t do any of those things. She never would. Instead my Mama’s fatigued eyes twinkled with a melancholy that I didn’t understand as a kid. Whenever I saw it, I only thought it was beautiful. It was beautiful.

“Daddy won’t make it home tonight, sweetie.” Her voice was soft.

“Again? But he said–”

“I’m sorry.” She smiled her pretty smile. I always loved that smile. “How about a bedtime story?”

I surrendered to my mother’s request but as I walked up the stairs with her I said, “How about a poem?”

I watched my mother’s head nod at me with that smile still glued to her face.

“The Invitation,” she began reading as she tucked herself in to my tiny bed. Her left arm wrapped around the entirety of my tiny body and she held Where the Sidewalk Ends in her right. “If you are a dreamer, come in…”

“Come into where, Mama?” I looked up at her in a beautiful ignorance.

She shrugged off some of her security and licked her lips, “Maybe into the book.”

“Or into a club.” I widened my imaginative eyes at the possibility of a sort of oblivion.

She giggled then continued, “If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer–”

I continued listening to her voice until my imagination engrossed my entire body into the club of wishers and dreams and liars and pretenders. When she finished reading I bent my knees closer to my chest until I curled myself into a blanket ball and rested my head on her shoulders.

“Are you okay, sweetie? What’s wrong?” My Mama asked.

Nothing was really wrong, but there was a feeling that had entered my heart. I couldn’t express it, mostly because I didn’t understand it.

I shrugged at my mother and said, “I think I feel scared, Mama. But I don’t know.”

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