Nelida Holban
She always found something to criticize about someone, especially about me. I didn't enjoy going for lunch at her place, but I had no choice. She didn't cook great either and she was driving me insane when she was asking: did you bake sweet bread? I didn't, but mom did. I could see the disapproval in her eyes. I used to do everything when I was young, unlike you: no sweet bread, no pickles, no vegetable stew. I was losing my appetite. Do you want some cabbage rolls? No, because they're made with cabbage and I am royalty[1]. My mother-in-law loved me. I loved her. Because that's what Christmas is like. It makes us better people.

[1] The Romanian expression equivalent for "royalty" is "de viță". This expression can also be translated to "with vine", which is another way to make cabbage rolls in Romania, swapping the cabbage for vine leaves.

Gabriel Rusu
You see, Arpad, when good God gave each thing a purpose, this is what he told the cabbage. You will be the covering of meat. You shall please the bellies of humans on this Earth forever. Your kind angered the Lord. When He saw his dear leaf finely chopped and thrown into a bland soup, he took Transylvania from you. And you still haven't learned your lesson. Let's have another shot. You are dear to me, ember, I won't judge you for your peoples' mistakes. God takes care of everyone.

Ana Maria Dobre-Nir
I'm rolling through the grass, I'm covering myself in leaves, I'm waiting for you to chop me and then to boil me. I'm hot and all I want is for you to take a bite out of me. To chew me and then to regret gorging on me. Love, yours, 4ever. I really don't know who could've written this. Tell me. I've been thinking. I don't even know many women. I'm not suspicious of anybody. Maybe it is an advert. Or a prank. I'm sure it's a prank. Come on, please, why are you packing your things? Wait. I'm vegetarian anyway. And I only eat those made by my mom, with mushrooms.

(Translated by Claudia Cioplea / 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 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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