Concours de prose

Maria Balaș, Short Prose, Group II

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Maria Balaș participates in the “Short Prose” Section of the English Category, International Literary Creation Contest, 3rd Edition, from Oradea, Bihor County, Romania and is 16 years old. She is guided by Prof. Corina Cozac, at High School „Aurel Lazăr”. We thank her for this participation and wish her success.


I am passing carelessly.

All kinds of people are walking around.

A middle-aged woman with a blue scarf, a purple jacket and blue jeans. She wears some kind of extremely sweet perfume that makes me sick to my stomach. An ugly bag on her shoulder being colored with what seems like the color of a rotten banana.

An old man holding a can of beer in his left hand, messy beard and white hair. His clothes are unmatched and dirty, blue pants and a blouse unsuitable for the weather covering the fat and wobbly body. The strong smell of cheap cigarettes hits my nostrils.

A teenage boy with forest green eyes piercing right through me. He wears a pair of baggy brown jeans and a white T-shirt is hiding under a denim jacket. His headphones are ringing with loud noise that even I can hear what he listens to. I recognize it as it is one of the heavy metal bands my father told me about. 

A gorgeous, tall woman with bright red lipstick. A fancy fur coat is embracing a black silk dress. Her high heeled shoes are red and shiny, stomping as they touch the cold ground. I can smell the expensive perfume even after the woman leaves me behind.

There are more. Everyone busy with something. Anything. Their minds are always in some kind of place I will never even know.

In this sea of self-centered and busy people, I feel alright. Unnoticed by anyone, I plug in my earphones and stop at the bus station. It is getting closer to 6 p.m. and I am unsure of the reason why the bus hasn’t arrived. Either way, I ask a lady nearby if she knows when the bus will arrive. She tells me that I will have to wait another half an hour.

I am surprisingly unbothered by the fact that I will have to kill time until I can finally go home. 

I find a seat. It is on some huge pumps where people sometimes sit instead of using the benches. I like that it is more available there, without too many people around.

I am listening to a playlist that is giving me life. Yet I can still feel some kind of anxiety filling me up. 

It is slow and it comes from all parts of my body, trying to reach my heart in order to cover it in a spider web that is not only blurring my soul, but also my mind. 

It is suffocating somewhere deep within me as I feel it rising and crawling, getting to the best parts of myself, trying to steal them. Transfigure them into something miserable. It wants me to be rotten. It wants me to become nothing. 

I decide not to mind it. The little monster that I will not let devour me.

I lit up a cigarette and watch the cars from the road, wondering what their destination could be, turning the volume up. I ignore everything and everyone, enjoying the surreal light that is slowly, but surely embracing every corner of the city. The golden light is turning into an orange-brown color as the minutes seep by inevitably. 

The smoke of the cigarette is filling me up instead of the fear from before. I let it invade my lungs and exhale without parting my lips, letting the grayish smoke out trough my nose and trying to savor the taste and the smell of the fine thing that is softly killing me. The smoke dissipates into the air as I am taking a deep breath and observing my surroundings patiently. 

The music pumping into my ears. The cigarette in my left-hand half smoked. My black silky hair messed up by the cold wind. The cars and people in front of me, constantly moving. 

Nothing really matters, we are so ephemeral, yet so important. Infinite, but limited.

Everything just passes in such a mean way that we don’t even have time to see it, feel it, smell it, listen to it, touch it.