Deep down, what truly nourishes us? It could be in the moment, a passing season, or over a lifetime. It might even be beyond death. During these unsettled times of isolation and overwhelm, we need to nourish at all levels
Writers explored what it is to nourish this week. From lacquered nails to after death, these stories will surprise you.
The following are from the May 7, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to nourish.
PART I (10-minute read)
Lacquered Lovelies by Annette Rochelle Aben
“Ladies, do either of you want your nails done today?”
It was this familiar Tuesday query from the activities department of the nursing home that rallied all the women who wanted to feel special every time they looked at their hands. Usually, everyone except these two roommates said yes.
There was a box of bright colors from which to choose. This day, most of the ladies chose colors that reminded them of beautiful flowers. And here they were, beautiful flowers planted in wheelchairs and hospital beds. Their bodies may be failing them, but their souls were glowing and alive!
Good Fences by D. Avery
“Tommy, don’t climb the fence! You still have to stay at your house.”
“Nu-uh. My daddy and me been shopping for our party this afternoon.”
“I had a party with my mom and dad too.”
“No, we’re having a real party, with daddy’s friends. There’ll be tons of good food— kool-aid, cheese puffs.”
“Yuck! That’s not good food! It’s not nourishing.”
“Who says, your mommy?”
“Scientists don’t know nothing. You coming over? I’ve missed playing with you.”
Marlie stumbled past the dirt pile, the tree fort, went inside to use a tissue and wash her hands.
Standing Up to Mother by Susan Sleggs
Tessa’s mother paced. “I’m fearful Michael will suck the life out of you if you move in together.”
“I thought you approved.”
“Not of you living with him.”
“He nourishes the youth choir, the Vet’s music programs, and he goes to D.C. when asked. You don’t think he’ll enhance my life too?”
“Behind closed doors is where the nightmares and anger dwell. You’ll have no escape.”
“Don’t you remember my ex had nightmares. It isn’t new to me.”
“He was an officer.”
“So that’s what this is about, status, not my well being. Good thing it isn’t your choice.”
Ruminating on Roosts by JulesPaige
Blue Jays prefer string
colorful yarn not so much
for their nest today
somewhere in the pines they build
this Mother’s day, I just watch
my own nest just has
we too – you made me breakfast
will our chicks call home?
We’ve done what we could – had our share of scrapes. Now we get to sit back just a little. Though we need to remember life is a continuing lesson, parent or not. We all need to nourish each other with care as the days pass. Sharing the light of our love lamps to brighten temporary gloom.
Days I Remember by Anita Dawes
Days I try to remember when food was plentiful
Father in the fields, Mother filling the house
With the warm aroma of fresh bread
We were loved, fed. Taken care of
Now I am alone, remembering new days
That passed when I filled our home
Like mother, with fresh baked bread
That had my children running for the crust
First into the house to claim the first slice
Butter melting, thick home-made jam
Is there anything better than feeding your family?
A fresh-baked loaf on my neighbour’s doorstep
Could be the start of something new
A touch of warmth…
Matty in Wonderland by Anne Goodwin
Matty was wary when the March Hare invited her to join them. “I’m not thirsty.” The last thing she drank had shrunk her to the size of a thimble.
“Forget tea,” said a fellow in a top hat. “We’ll give you a nourishing story. Dormouse, begin!”
“Not the one about the treacle well.” Matty had a sense of déjà vu.
“A well of kindness,” said the Hatter. “Without food banks.”
“You think it kind to starve the poor?”
“Where this story is set everything is shared fairly. No-one need beg for food.”
Matty sat. “Tell me! I will emigrate.”
Come In by Priorhouse
Come in, tired one.
I see you are on your way south –
to the sea.
Your bed for the night is there.
Soup’s simmering on the stove – there.
Please leave soup on when you hit the sack.
“Thanks” replied the visitor.
As we left the room, I asked dad if he’d build into the guest – nourish his soul with faith talk or advice before his body was nourished from soup and sleep.
“No,” replied dad.
Sometimes words are not needed. People are often better nurtured by giving them space.
“Yes, dad, many ways to nourish.”
The Amazing Jar by Gordon Le Pard
He looked in amazement at the little fern, growing in the sealed jar. According to Dr Ward it had been growing there for three years.
“But what nourishes it?”
“Sunlight.” He replied, “Water evaporates, and condenses in the jar. Minerals feed the leaves, and return to the soil, all it needs is light.”
“Is it of any use?”
“Use! Glass boxes filled with plants, on a ships deck, will carry them safely around the world. We will move useful plants wherever we want. This could end famines, create industries and beautify gardens, it could change the world.”
Mindful Eating by Ruchira Khanna
“No, eatables are allowed on the plane.” Said a voice that was soft yet stern.
He had no choice but to comply.
Going home was a definite priority over defying the rules of the TSA.
He chose to empty all his pockets and walk towards his gate with sluggish steps while gnarling noise was accompanying him. His stomach muscles were squeezing tight as if wringing a cloth.
Traveling in wee hours with no shop open, he chose to board the flight.
Mark decided to eat mindfully from the tiny in-flight bag of pretzel that helped nourish his hunger pangs.
Nourish by Geoff Le Pard
‘I’m hungry, Logan.’
‘You had dinner less than an hour ago.’
‘Can we stop?’
‘Why do I feel a but coming?’
‘I’m not spending another moment in one of those fast food places.’
‘You enjoyed the Mexican…’
‘Was that the tackies?’
‘Are you sure they’re not tackies? Mine was pretty sticky.’
‘And you like a Big Mac.’
‘I do not. I prefer my Scotsmen small and easily tamed.’
‘You’re such a fusspot.’
‘Morgan, I need something nourishing.’
‘Isn’t that what you do to a pot plant?’
‘Pot plant? Have you been smoking? Is that why you’re hungry?
Comfort Food by Janet Guy
One pound of lean ground turkey, one pound of 80-20 ground sirloin, one packet of McCormick meatloaf seasoning, one egg, one generous handful of Progresso Plain Breadcrumbs, half of a medium diced onion, one squirt of ketchup. It’s important to mix everything into the ground meat by hand, but don’t overdo it. Your grandfather and I added a twist: divide the mixture into twelve muffin cups. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Your grandmother always tried to sneak a half a meatloaf muffin without us noticing. She was so silly! I see both of them in you, my child…
Love the World by Chelsea Owens
Broken friendless lying dying, lifts a hand for
Walking talking presses buttons, flashes past within her world.
Why stop living in the mirrors, in the spotlight;
save lying dying friendless one?
.sneaky unseen creeping coughing, enters silent crownèd killer.
Broken homebound lying sighing lifts her hand for
Walking talking, in his sunshine, stops outside her locked front gate.
Why not wave at silent windows, in the sunshine;
save lying sighing homebound face?
Then or now, we all are people;
Now or then, we all need love.
and nourish others
Smile, wave, and love the world.
Nourishment by Reena Saxena
The monk has travelled across the world in search of meaning of life.
Gone are the days when people congregated in an ashram to partake of wisdom… there are umpteen agencies to get him online and share his learnings. The digital marketing campaign lasts 90 days to generate a feeling of emptiness in people, and make them pay to find nourishment. The lockdown is supportive, as people struggle to adopt a new way of life.
Finally, the monk’s serenity appears on screen..
You are exactly where you need to be. I learnt that travel serves no purpose at all.
Survival by Joanne Fisher
All around her was wasteland. Kali’s mouth felt like sandpaper, there had been no water for several days. The hot dry wind whipped the rags of her clothes. She walked forwards and then collapsed. Everything went black.
Kali awoke. She was lying in a hut. She tried rising, but felt dizzy. A woman came over giving her a bowl. Kali drank the soup deeply. After so long it felt nourishing.
“You were near death when we found you.”
“Where am I?”
“In our village. You can stay as long as you want.”
Maybe she would stay here a while.
Nourish by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Long, dark days alone
Habit well-practiced for years
My coffee brings cheer…
Grateful that strongly suggested isolation began after the bone-chilling months of in-between, she pulls on sweats and Tee, runs a handful or two of tap water through her hair and over her face. The cat’s been provisioned, his vomit mopped up (what he hasn’t re-eaten). She’s set to go.
And yet, even as an introvert, she misses noisy Happy Hours she was pleased to walk away from, the long hikes with the usual crowd strung like pearls through wooded path and prairie.
The Keurig mimics her sigh.
Noirished by Bill Engleson
First, she sucked on the stogie. Then she plucked it from her gingered lips, glanced skyward, blew a smoke circle that looked, swear to God, like the Greasy Phil’s onion rings of my lost youth.
“I didn’t think you’d have the…” she said, before I rebounded with, “Yeah, I know.”
“So, what’s next?”
“Quarantine for life.”
“Not me, Shamus. Never.”
“You’re a menace, Katie.”
“What, just because I hugged them?”
“And nasal dripped them.”
“My nose always ran,” she snickered. “You know what they’re calling me?”
I did. “Yeah. COVID Katie.”
“Yeah,” she smiled. “Sounds…important.”
And crazy, I thought.
Nourish by FloridaBorne
“You take too many vitamins,” hubby scoffed, watching me wash them down with Rooibos tea.
Grunting from the strain of standing upright, he held onto the table for support. As usual, he left his soda can and potato chip wrappers for me to throw away.
“I have yoga at 10:00 today,” I said joyfully. “I’m walking with Lois, and grocery shopping after that. I’ll be home around 4:00.”
“You’re 70! Grow up!”
“A person either grows up or gives up,” I replied. “Don’t chastise me for choosing to nurture my body. Ask yourself why you chose to destroy yours.”
The Smiling Roses by Doug Jacquier
As Phoebe drove home with her husband, Spike, safely strapped into the passenger seat, she decided it was time for him to hear some home truths.
‘You know, Spike, in all our married years, never once have you praised anything I’ve done or supported me when it mattered. Frankly, I can’t even recall you being anything remotely like happy, except when you were sounding off about the stupidity of everyone around you.’
Phoebe arrived home, unstrapped Spike’s urn, removed the lid and spread his ashes under her rose bushes.
‘Last chance to nourish something, Spike.’
The roses smiled.
Nourishment by Sarah Brentyn
She felt magnolia petals falling on her grave.
Freshly dug, soil still loose, the mound surrounded by mourners, she heard crying. Noisy sniffles, gentle sobs, painful wails.
She shifted focus from those above her, fixing her mind on the tree. Its branches reached for her. This time of year, it offered pale pink flowers.
This time of year, it needed her most.
And every spring these coming years. Her body would nourish the magnolia roots and, in return, her grave would be speckled with velvet petals. Nourishment for her soul.
When the grieving left, would dance in nature’s bouquet.
Bat Incident by Simon Prathap D
Two vampire bats 🦇 talking to each other
I am so hungry today 🦇
Go ahead, get something to Dad 🦇
I am going to get some nourishing foods for both of us🦇
A few moments later….🦇
🦇 Son, this is called being selfish😠
For real?🙄 what makes you ask that?🤔
Look at you 🦇 , mouth full of blood🧛, You had alone🧛? How you got this much blood yourself, where is the nourishing foods for your Dad🤷♂️?
Dad🦇, You need to calm down first😠, did you see that black rod in the middle of that gap
Yes I do🤔🦇
But I didn`t dad🤕🦇
PART II (10-minute read)
Hematite Eyes by Kerry E.B. Black
Her baby’s eyes discomforted her. Odd, hematite, and unblinking. But his infant fist encircled her finger, and maternal instinct supplanted concern. She nursed the unblinking child until his eyes slid shut and he drifted to sleep.
He remained odd, different from other children, even when they shared activities. She coached, suggested, scheduled hopeful playdates, but he stayed aloof. With quiet, precise attention, he approached games like a soldier following orders. He studied others’ reactions, mimicked, but without emotion. He made no friends.
“Are you lonely?” she worried.
He studied her face, never blinking his hematite eyes. “Should I be?”
Nourish by Kathy70
I watch as a street-wise elderly woman takes a small bag out and looks around to see if anyone is watching, she slowly opens the bag and begins throwing out bread on the grass. Pigeons become brazen and hop on her hand to get more food.
Smiling she starts talking to the birds. A mom and 2 small children sit on a bench nearby and the children walk slowly up to the woman to pet the birds. She lifts her hand to help a bird to sit on the child’s shoulder. They all seem happy and nourished by each other.
Sand Stories: Inspired by Shakespeare’s words: “tongues in trees, books in running brooks.” by Saifun Hassam
Diamante loved to sit on the seashore when the tide was out. Away from the bustle of village and temple life. Solitude. Calm. No gusty winds today hurling sand across the rocks. No shapeshifting dunes.
Last winter was a difficult one. A raging sea storm took the lives of three fishermen. One empty lonely boat drifted into a sheltered cove.
Today, children’s laughter and chatter filled the air. With Diamante’s help, they would create sand paintings, draw, and learn more about those intricate shells washed ashore. They would build sandcastles on the shore, stories drawn from their vivid imaginations.
A Little Something by Allison Maruska
I open the pantry, scouring it for nourishment. Scooting cereal and pasta out of the way, I see it–a box of Girl Scout cookies, unopened! My mouth waters as I tear off the tab and pull out a sleeve, anticipating the flood of minty goodness about to find me.
“Dinner’s in an hour.”
Wincing, I turn.
Mom holds her hand out.
Scowling, I hand it over. Instead of returning the box to the pantry, she opens the sleeve and hands me a cookie. “One won’t ruin your appetite.” Winking, she takes one for herself.
She’s pretty cool, I guess.
Extra Nutrition by Robbie Cheadle
“This bread is delicious, Mom. Can I have some more.”
“Of course, that’s why I’m baking fresh bread every day.”
“Why don’t you just buy it like you used to?”
“The grocery stores are not selling freshly baked bread. When the lock down restrictions reduce, the bakeries will re-open, but until then, I’m baking.”
“You could buy sliced bread.”
“I can’t stand those thin and insubstantial slices that taste like cardboard. Now that I look like Cousin Itt, with all this hair hanging down my back, I need extra nutrition to maintain it. Fresh bread with lots of butter.”
Sprinkles of Tenderness by Miriam Hurdle
“I’m amazed Rosie has changed so much since we adopted her six months ago,” said Sam.
“For a while, she went to the corner and face the wall every time I talked to her.” Elaine still puzzled.
“The social worker suspected something happened in her previous foster home.”
“She was afraid of us.”
“I admired your patience. You showed your affection by physical touch, warm smile, and inviting gesture instead of talking.”
“I’m pleased she trusts us.”
“It took us six months to break the ice.”
“She talked and called me Mom two days ago. It melted my heart.”
Nourishing the Mind by Susan Zutautas
Little one, you must always remember to nourish your mind.
But father how does one feed the mind?
Not feed … nourish.
Please explain as I am confused.
Each day, be sure you take time for yourself to breathe and relax, to reflect, to find peacefulness within, to count your blessings. Sit down, read a book that interests you, learn something new. Keep a journal and write what your heart says to you. Write down what is troubling you, your joys, your dreams, your hopes, and your desires. Get fresh air and enjoy your surroundings. Socialize, always be kind.
The Singing by Wallie and Friend
She liked to listen to them sing. The myyr always sang when the moon first showed its pale silver light over the Sleepless Sea. The little girl would sit on the pier, swinging her bare feet, and look out over the still black water.
Myyr song was not instinctively beautiful. It was a harmonious calling that made the child wonder. She could not sing with them, having no voice herself, but she liked to imagine she sang as she looked up at the thousands of stars. She felt that by listening, some part of their song must be hers.
Solo Nourishment by Ritu Bhathal
Mae gently emptied the last of the water from her watering can into the flowerbed.
The roses were doing rather well, all things considered.
All around her, news filtered in of the deaths of people around the world, and even some friends.
It had been tough.
Her usual routine of seeing her grandchildren at the end of each school day, with her feeding them nourishing snacks, and sometimes dinner, if her daughter was running late, was gone.
They couldn’t meet one another.
A video call sufficed, and the odd drive-by wave.
At least she could still nourish her garden.
The Seedling by John Lane
Matthew’s mother watched the eight-year-old remove the weeds, dig several inches, put the quaking aspen seedling in and place some organic compost around. All in the backyard.
Every day he would run out to check the seedling.
“Mom, it is not growing.”
His mom shook her head. “Matthew, give it a chance.”
At summer’s end, Matthew’s mother was hired, and they flew cross-country.
Matthew forgot about the tree.
Sixty years and one accounting career later, Matthew decided to visit the tree.
In the backyard was an enormous, smooth tree with yellow leaves.
He sighed. “Mom, sorry I doubted you.”
Grandfather’s Legacy by Jo Hawk
We discovered the tenacious evergreen sprig on our daily walk. Grandfather pitied the seedling clinging to bare stone. A full-grown pine needed access to the earth’s nutrients, and the minuscule reserves in the stone’s clefts and crevices would stunt the tree if it lived at all.
I was only a child, but I vowed to help the sapling. On warm days, we carried water. We sheltered it from storms and patted dirt at its roots.
Today my grandson and I took a walk. I introduced him to the tough tree and smiled when he vowed to protect Grandfather’s legacy.
The Blood-Trees by Joanne Fisher
The two men wandered into the clearing as it grew dark. To their horror it was littered with bodies.
“It’s like they’re empty vessels that were discarded.” One of them said checking a body. “They were exsanguinated. Vampires?” The other man looked around, the colour drained from his face.
“No, not vampires. Blood-Trees.” He stated.
“Trees that get their nourishment from the blood of the living, rather than from out of the soil.”
It was now dark. All around them they heard the creaking of branches. The moon arose showing trees with black twisted shapes now surrounded them.
Apples by Charli Mills
Who’ll love the apple trees, Hester wondered as the wagon lurched forward. The youngest, she sat among her family’s meager belongings. A wagon-train of evicted miners trundled past shuttered copper mines.
When they married, Hester told Albert about the company houses and the community orchard. The county sold them the whole abandoned neighborhood on cheap terms. Albert flattened the other houses to grow potatoes. “Don’t harm the apple trees,” she said.
She nourished the trees into widowhood until they packed her up in a station wagon for the old-folks home. “The apples,” she whispered as the car drove away.
Apple Charlie by Michelle Wright
There is a place I love to go
Apple trees, row after row
Named after my grandfather who so many know
Apple Charlie lived there then
He lives there still
In all his descendants
With their strong wills
There is a place where barn animals eat
Children give them feed
Nutritious treat after treat
Charlie watches the children and smiles
He smiles as they shine an apple on their shirt
He smiles when they savor donuts dipped in cider
Like the bumblebees
We care for the orchard
Like Apple Charlie
We care for one another
And Then Alone by Sascha Darlington
I didn’t want to come home for Thanksgiving, navigate the endless sessions of why aren’t you like Nathan or Rachel? Why are you working an administrative job, pretending to be a writer? Why aren’t you going to graduate school? Becoming a lawyer, a doctor? It’s in our genes. Why are you our disgrace?
My grandmother survived Auschwitz. You’d think I could survive Thanksgiving.
I breathe a hundred breaths into the ending of this novel. My grandmother read every word, blessed them, before she passed. Now, I am alone.
My homemade pumpkin pie will nourish. Will my novel will appease?
Scion the Prize by D. Avery
“Kid, git in here! Dang. Shorty entrusted us with runnin’ our own Saloon, a place fer folks ta relax an’ rub elbows— git away fer a while. But then she done gifted ya with a scion, an off shoot a thet Poet–tree ya discovered outside the bunkhouse at Carrot Ranch.”
“So, ya ain’t been tendin’ the Saloon! Yer always out back with thet offshoot an’ them kid goats an’—”
“An what, Pal? What’s the problem?”
“Ya gotta nurture the saloon, Kid.”
“Yep. An’ I gotta nourish the Poet-tree.”
“Why’s thet impor’nt?”
“’Cause it nourishes me.”
A wonderfully nourishing collection of stories.
99 vitamins and minerals!
Nourished my soul, reading those 💜
Mine, too! <3
Cracking set of stories
Fortified, to say the least!
I especially liked Miriam Hurdle’s story 🙂 These are great <3
Hers was touching and encouraging. Thanks, Michelle!
Nourish email@example.com Pastor Cathy Native
On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 1:34 AM Carrot Ranch Literary Community wrote:
> Charli Mills posted: “Deep down, what truly nourishes us? It could be in > the moment, a passing season, or over a lifetime. It might even be beyond > death. During these unsettled times of isolation and overwhelm, we need to > nourish at all levels Writers explored what it is to” >
Thanks for reading!
Congrats to all for sharing your nourishments. Special kudos IMHO to Geoff Le Pard, Kerry Black, Kathy70, D. Avery and of course the inimitable Charli herself.
That’s a nourishing response, Doug! Thanks!
Delicious and nutritious! You’ve served up another satisfying collection, Ms. Mills.
These are wonderful! Good for the soul!
Never made it in time for this week’s roundup, but I worked it into another flash fiction challenge for the week. http://www.themeaningofme.com/growth/
Thank you, Sherri! I loved your column and your featured hero! Hope you are walking the treadmill and staying safe.
dare I say that this was a nourishing theme – ha!
[…] week, HERE, the challenge was to write a 99-word story about “nourish” – Here is my […]
A wonderful collection with a little of something for every taste from comedy to horror and everything in between.