I last saw my mother in a bed. Hospital bed. The patients were asleep. One at a time, so the nurses wouldn't pass by. The ones bringing the food. She smelled. Of lye and freshly cut bandages. Like ruthless scissors. Doctors would come in between the beds and open up. Their pockets. Discreetly, they winked, asking for the envelope. They didn't reach out. It was beneath their dignity. I got there the next day. A lady told me my mother had died. There was an opened yoghurt left on the bedside table. A happy cockroach was walking among the orange peels.

(Translated by Delia-Maria Cocoș / 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 March 2023, the group has 10,790 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, Luchian Abel, and Vlad Mușat. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

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

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