Here is a 200-word story I wrote in 2000 that I like for its simplicity and the story it tells:
A Pumpkin Tale
I live on 5th Avenue next to a rotting pumpkin patch. The smell of old pie, raw and sticky, reminds me of walks Pa and I took in the late summers. He knotted his fingers over my hand, engulfing it in his strength. I was his toy pulled along by stringy arms. If I stumbled, I had to be the one to balance while running to make up for lost steps.
I grew. My gangly limbs gained strength as my body expanded. My pa did not explain to me why my body changed.
I became tall, taller than he, and on our walks, he stopped holding my hand.
But he still talked.
“God damn corn this year. I aint gonna get a crop.”
“What about the pumpkins?” I asked, breathless as I ran.
He walked steadily.
“They are weeds,” he said. “They were here when I got this here farm.”
What about me? I wanted to ask.
In my house on 5th Avenue, I paste photos of Pa and me in my album. I close the book and look out the window. My husband is outside pulling a dandelion out of the ground, engulfing it in his strength.