I set a writer I am working with the challenge of writing a 200-word story every day for two weeks. Each one has to be self-contained: each one featuring a new story, a new character/s. I firmly believe that I should never set someone a task I wouldn’t be prepared to undertake myself. His task is to do this for 14 days; I’m going to attempt to do it for 200 days.
So, here goes. 200 words; 200 days—day one
Once, she heard a poem in which an apple waited in a bowl. At least, she thought, it was not the usual story about apples and women.
Because the poet was Chinese, the bowl she pictured was also Chinese. The apples were green, and the bowl white, with blue dragonflies painted on its surface.
She plucked an apple from the bowl and weighed it in her hand. It was firm and cool. She remembered the girl she had loved; the one who had eaten an apple in class—while the lecturer spoke about Anne Bradstreet’s poetry—by distractedly cutting circles from the apple’s surface with her long fingernails.
The poem they were studying was called “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet, Who Deceased August, 1665, Being a Year and Half Old”. It contained a line about apples (By nature trees do rot when they are grown,/ And plums and apples thoroughly ripe do fall …).
The apple became a damaged red moon, with white craters spread over its surface.
The apple in the poem could not be eaten; it would not fall. And the woman in the poem—in this one, too—would not, could not, be loved.