Dan Banu
I got old on a Thursday. I was six years old and Zița had long ears and brown spots on her back. That day, Zița didn't want to jump or fetch the ball anymore. Dad rushed her in his arms to the vet, but I could see through the door window how he shook his head. He buried her in our garden, under the weeping willow. Misery had taken a bite out of the world, leaving a big whole in a sunless sky. I carried old age on the back until it caught up to the frail body and it scattered among the deep wrinkles.

Monica Bologa
I'm scared of it, so I run as far as my legs can hold me. Sometimes I dodge it with my bike, pedalling for miles, other times I dodge it with a bit of red on the lips. Often, I get into my car and drive away, with no particular destination in mind. Spontaneity keeps me alive. And sudden love. And all the sudden mischiefs and laughter from the heart. Yesterday, while I was climbing the stairs holding two heavy bags in my hands, I felt it behind me. I didn't have the strength to run anymore. So I invited old age into the house and we had some coffee together.

Iulia Vîși
When I was little, I would steal curtains from my grandma, wrap them around my body and run to the mirror to see myself as a bride. Then a neighbour would come and ask us for a cup of flour, she'd give me the evil eye, praise how much I'd grown, and tell my grandma about her hip pains. I couldn't understand the elderly. Grandma never complained. She was content with what she had or didn't have. She outlined her lips and eyes. She laughed at adult jokes, tasted Vermouth and on Easter she wore red. She told me that nobody truly ages, only those who desire it.

(Translated by Laurențiu-Gabriel Niculae / 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 January 2024, the group has 12,500 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, 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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