My chin is trembling, but I don't tell them. I sit down at the table, next to the Korean couple. Our Andalusian host has cooked paella over the campfire for us, and an English neighbour brings in sangria. The Chinese man who wears military boots and purple nails raises his glass. We all wish each other peace in five different languages, in the roseate glow of dusk. Upon leaving, the host gives each of us a piece of fruit from the orchard. My chin is twitching again, but I hug them. Back to my cold Airbnb, I bite into the fragrant lemon, without bothering to peel it first. At least it's sweet. Happy birthday, you sad little thing.

(Translated by Valentina Mihai / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / Corrected by prof. dr. Nadina Vișan / Edited 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 November 2022, the group has 9,580 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 Ficțiuni Reale.

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