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A short story, by Kevin King, about a boy struggling to hold onto his comfort zone.
Hi readers! It’s Sunday! Happy Sunday.
If you’re a regular reader here, you might be wondering why we’re posting on a Sunday. (Or, if you’re like me, you’re probably not wondering any such thing.) What we are doing, anyway, is, we are trying something new. We are not yet sure what that “something new” is. But, when we know, we’ll fill you in on it… maybe.
Anyhow, on to business.
In this installment of the Mind Stayed series, we present to you a short story by Kevin King. Kevin says the following concerning the story:
“I've always loved CS Lewis. As a kid, some of the first books I read were the Narnia stories. As I got older, I moved on to his non-fiction work, which touched my mind and heart the same way the Narnia stories touched my emotions and heart. I've read a lot of his books multiple times, and I discover and rediscover new truths every time I read them. There are a few points that stay with me, burned into my mind. One of those points was an illustration he made about us being like children playing in a sandbox, who can't imagine what is meant by a vacation by the sea. Lewis made the illustration as a passing point in one of his essays, I don't even remember which one, but it has stuck with me as the best illustration of...well, I suppose I shouldn't spoil it since that's what the discussion is supposed to be about. I hope it sparks your imagination the way it sparks mine.”
“Time to come inside, Jerry.” His mom called through the open patio door. “We have to get ready to leave.”
“I don’t want to go!” Jerry grabbed a fistful of sand and threw it across the sandbox. “I want to stay here and play.”
“But you’ll have so much fun, I promise.” She smiled at him, and winked. “We can get ice cream.”
Ice cream. Jerry’s mouth watered. He started to stand up. Then he imagined being stuck in the back of a hot car all day, and plunked back down into the sandbox. He grabbed his plastic shovel and started furiously filling the back of his dump truck. “I don’t want to go. Why can’t we have ice cream here?”
“Come inside.” Mom’s voice hardened, and her smile disappeared. “Don’t make me come out there and get you.”
Jerry looked straight in his mom’s eyes, and scooped one more shovelful of sand before standing up. He cast one last longing glance over his toys, then dragged himself to the house. He endured with sullen silence as his mom wiped him down with a wet cloth and wrestled him into different clothes. He heaved a deep sigh as she buckled him into the car, watching her from the side of his eye to make sure she noticed his suffering.
He managed to maintain his silence for longer than anyone should be expected to endure before he started to voice his complaints. “It’s hot.” “I’m thirsty.” “Are we almost there?” “I want to go home.”
Mom passed him a juice box from the cooler strapped into the front passenger seat. “Hang on, kid. I promise this will be worth it.”
Jerry sucked on his juice box and glared at the passing scenery. He had everything he wanted at home. He was being forced to leave it all behind to sit in this hot, sticky, stinking car for forever, just to go some place his mom described as ‘more sand and water than you can imagine.’ He had plenty of sand in his own back yard, and he didn’t even like water. It didn’t taste that good, and he hated baths. Sprinklers were fun, but there weren’t going to be any sprinklers. This day was never going to end.
He didn’t fall asleep, but somehow the time passed and suddenly the car had stopped and turned off. His mom opened the trunk and unloaded a big sack of things, then opened Jerry’s door and let him out. The first thing he did was check to see what she’d brought. Shovels and buckets and towels? Then a weird, squeaky cry made him look around, and his mouth dropped open.
At the end of the parking lot, the ground dropped away and turned to sand. More sand than could fit in a hundred sandboxes. Other kids ran up and down, digging and laughing and building sandcastles. And beyond the sand, water. More water than he could have imagined. Not just water, but water that moved and roared, surging in and out with a deep rumbling that somehow excited and soothed him at the same time. And that was only the beginning.
Gray and white birds that squeaked and flew out over the water, making those weird squeaky calls that sounded like rusty hinges. Cool shells. Shiny rocks. The most awesome weird slimy things, ever. Wet sand that stuck together next to dry sand that slid back into the holes he dug faster than he could dig. Splashing in the waves, looking for fish. Sitting under an umbrella eating ice cream. His heart filled to bursting, and still he wanted more. He wished this day would never end.
As the sun cast orange streaks across the waves, Jerry’s mom carried him back to the car. He rested his head on her shoulder and gave her back a sleepy pat. “I love you, mom. Best. Day. Ever.”
Thanks for being here and reading, friends! Stay tuned for a discussion post in a few days. In the meantime, we hope you’ll take time to read this again and allow your mind to think metaphorical ways.
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