What am I doing? Trying the pickled cucumber recipe. I got it from her. I'm getting sick of all the failures. I cry each time. First I used sugar instead of salt, then baking soda. My mind's not even in the right place. I open jars and count the teaspoons of ingredients like I'm on autopilot. Too little, too much. My daughter's standing in the doorway. The alchemists had more success at turning lead into gold. I keep thinking of her. All the relatives wanted something from her. She used to prepare their canned foods and pickles. Now none of them visit her grave. Nothing more to take.

(Translated by Bianca-Maria Ciucașu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / 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 January 2023, the group has 10,220 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 every few days. 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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