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NaPoWriMo 2016

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the invitation

For about a year I slowly read my way through a collection of poems by Jorge Luis Borges. This piece of writing is my attempt get over the need to imitate Borges, by blatantly imitating him.
when sorting the mail, one envelope seemed to demand attention. it was heavy, in a way which felt ancient and sturdy. it was addressed by hand, and it used his middle name, which he never told anyone. he opened it and unfolded a single sheet of thick paper, with just an address and a time, handwritten in the same polite and somber script as the envelope. the address was in a part of town he often had passed through, not far from his home. although he was pretty sure this was some scheme to sell him a vacation time share, he decided to go there. maybe it was something about the way the paper smelled as he read the note, somehow bringing back memories of the children's book section in the basement of the old library. as he got out of his car, he recognized the building. he'd driven by it many times, and often stared at it, wondering what happened inside. it looked like it had been built maybe 70 or 80 years ago by a flamboyant millionaire, and then left empty for decades. whatever style the building had, it was one which had come, gone, and never come again. it was unconnected in time or meaning to anything else nearby. whenever the building was mentioned in conversation, nobody ever knew who had built it or who owned the building now. as he approached the door, he paused, there was a surge of a sense that he was welcome, and so he simply pushed the front door open and stepped inside. a short hallway with two doors on either wall and another at the end of the hall. that sense of welcome, or belonging led him to hang his coat up in the closet to the left, without even thinking much about how he had known that door held a closet. he walked to the end of the hall and opened the door into a large room edged with bookshelves, in the center, a trio of leather covered chairs. one chair had a small table next to it and on the table was a glass of wine. then, as if shedding the weight of a long journey, he dropped himself into the chair and lifted the glass, smelling, tasting the wine, which was excellent. there was no one else in the room, and no sound could be heard except the creaking of the chair as he settled into it. after a while he had finished his wine, and he felt a bit sleepy, maybe he took a nap, or maybe he simply closed his eyes for a moment, he wasn't sure. when he opened his eyes, it seemed like time to leave, so he left the room, got his coat and drove home. a few days later he decided to go back. when he arrived, that same sense of rightness, connection, greeted him. this time he sat in a different room and ate a roast beef sandwich and drank glass of ice tea which seemed to have been set out for him. and so it became a habit, every few days, to visit the house and sit. sometimes there would be refreshments, sometimes not. he never saw anyone, but he never once doubted that he belonged there, that he was doing what he was supposed to do. you and i are filled with wonder, about the house, the invitation, the servants who keep it, and the mysterious organization which pays the property taxes, but he never paused for a moment, through many long years, to think of any of those things. it simply became another stop in the routine of his life as it passed by. perhaps on the day he died, in some other part of town, a mailbox flag was raised as the postman deposited a strangely heavy envelope with a handwritten address.