He aged gracefully. What do you mean? The man in the picture. Who is he? I remain silent. I take a deep a breath. I caress the face looking back at me, without touching it. I look away and wince, as if I went back in time. It's my grandpa. He never got old. He died young. Fate carved his face like this: a line on his forehead since he lost his brother in the war, a few on his cheeks since their lands were seized and the taxes went up. The rest appeared every time he lost one of his children. The tears he never spilled washed away the green in his eyes.

(Translated by Daniela-Andreea Gugescu / 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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