Do you know how hard it is to be alone? I had a harsh childhood. We were six brothers and sisters. Poverty. Father left us when I was 9 to live with another woman. We all slept in a room. Later I found it hard to adapt. I didn't want a family, I was afraid I'd be just a second version of my father, that I'd fail. The nephews on my brothers' side remember me sometimes. The bus is coming, the school girl stands up and leaves him alone on the bench, as she found him. A young man comes to the station. He sits near the old man. Do you know how hard it is to be alone? I had a difficult childhood.

(Translated by Dragoş Frangulea / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / Corrected by Silvia Petrescu, coordinator of the translations)

Real Fiction is a collective project started in 2013 by Florin Piersic Jr. The concept of Real Fiction continued to exist as a Facebook group, after a volume of stories was published at Humanitas Publishing House. (In May 2021, the group has 6.400 members.) The authors write ultra-short stories, with the texts limited to 500 characters (in Romanian, so the length of the English translation might be a little different) - a flash-fiction exercise on a topic that changes almost daily. The group's coordinators are Florin Piersic Jr., Gabriel Molnar, Răzvan Penescu, and Luchian Abel. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficţiuni Reale.

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