I'm three years old, sitting on the table with my elbows resting on the sideboard and munching on bread. I watch my dad as he writes on the labels that my mom dictates to him. Fifteen labels for plum jam, ten for cherry jam, and the year 1991. Mom sticks the labels on the jars, while dad puts them in a bag, gives mom a peck on the cheek, and leaves with the bag. I smile bitterly and open the last jar with a label on it. Plums, 2020. Sweetheart, are we making plum jam this year? I ask. Yeah, sure, but don't expect me to carry your plums, he responds curtly. You'll have to handle it yourself. He leaves. He doesn't kiss me goodbye.

(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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