Stela always waits for Nelu to come back from the third shift. She helped him take the foundry sand off his cluttered mullet and then made him dinner. They only talked when they were laying in their narrow bed. When it warms up a bit outside, I'llbe smooth sailing, he used to say. When the little guy grows up, I'll enroll innursing school, she replied. Now Stela cleans the butts of old men in a nursing home. After midnight, she waits for the little guy to come back from the club. His tangled hair smells like cigarettes.

(Translated by Alin Sescu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / 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 February 2023, the group has 10,500 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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