[What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a café.]
Of all prompts I’ve ever written for, this one gave me the most trouble. Often I can pop out a tiny story from even just a word, but this prompt…I don’t know how to explain it in a sentence—so I’ll try to explain it with a few more sentences!
Seeing the word “Food”, I imagined scenes of dining with my family, both at home and in restaurants, but I couldn’t come up with a way to make that interesting without taking the time to put a supernatural spin on it (for some reason, I didn’t want this to have supernatural aspects).
Well, nothing comes to mind regarding poems about meeting a friend at a café, so what can I do with “What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch?”?
Oh no, here come the depressing thoughts. Scenes of animals struggling to attain food came to mind, and I don’t like tragedy, so I lost the mood to write.
Fast forward to a few hours later and I re-read the prompt. Instead of tragedy, why not a pseudo-informational post about the food cycle, following one animal at a time through its life until it’s eaten by a different one? Or about how life evolved in many different ways to acquire “food”? Yeah, I can see it now! “Life evolved to acquire food in many different ways. While some life chose to MAKE food, such as plants, others found ways to steal life from others. In the case of fungi…”
I just didn’t feel up for a pseudo-informative piece. It bored me. So, my mind wandered back to a previous idea. I might not like tragedy very much, but the idea of lacking food could make a really sad piece…
It opened with a scene of an exhausted mother laying a plate of rice and beans before her young son at the dinner table. The child’s face immediately contorts, showing his disgust at the food. That expression hurts the mother’s heart, making it ache. She knows her son doesn’t like the rice and beans, but it’s what she knows…and they have nothing else.
The son slowly lowers his spoon into the meal, picking some up and putting it in his mouth with a frown. Just as the mother takes her leave to serve and eat her own food, she hears a deep, strangled sound from behind her, and spins at her heel to see her son choking. Terror strikes her, paralyzing her for a second before she hurries to the child’s side and slaps his back with a hand, unsure of what to do. She remembers someone telling her that a “Heimlich maneuver” works to dislodge food from the windpipe, but never practiced it before and worries that she’ll only make the situation worse. To her relief, her son only breathed in a single grain of rice, which he manages to spit out.
The mother wraps her arms around her son, thanking God. Just as she prepares to warn him about eating food too quickly…
“I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” The child yells from his mother’s embrace.
“What happened, mijo…?”
The son’s face turns to face his mother as he says, “I HATE rice and beans! You only cook rice and beans!”
The mom became saddened by his exclamation and feels pity, but knows it can’t be helped and that they don’t have anything else.
Then the boy complained about wanting chicken nuggets and ice cream, yadda yadda, making his mother cry and wonder what her family did to deserve the financial crisis they were stuck in.
That seems like a good idea for a prompt response, right? Wrong! Because that was all I could come up with and I deemed it to have insufficient substance for a prompt…so here I am, writing about thinking about writing it for a higher word count.
It has been roughly 10 hours since I began writing this prompt response and it just doesn’t feel up to par with the other four =/