Her hair was tangled with spices and sand, like a fragrant cloak. As she fiddled with the label around her neck, she shared the story of her refugee family, scattered who knows where. Her tears fell heavily onto my lips, carried away by the salty breeze that whispered beyond the harbor. The sound of mandolins played in the night, capturing the spirits of unseen wanderers, swaying with both joy and sadness. And in that moment, something inside me shifted. The sea seemed to have a heartbeat, pulsing with each wave, as if it were beating in time with our own. We talked endlessly, anything to stay awake, not wanting to let go of the moment when we truly felt alive.

(Translated by Andreea Tobă / 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 April 2023, the group has 11,000 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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