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The Saturday When Everything Changed


Our Story of the Week is a startling story from the writer Sophie van Llewyn.

Sophie is a Romanian-born author of short stories, flash fiction and, most recently, a Fairlight Moderns novella Bottled Goods, coming on 11 July from Fairlight Books.

Sophie grew up in Tulcea, south-east Romania, close to the Danube delta. She is now living in Germany. While on maternity leave from her day job, Sophie discovered flash fiction through Ad Hoc Fiction Press. She jumped into this storytelling method with workshops and extensive reading.

Sophie came across the concept of novella-in-flash by reading Rose Metal Press’ collection My Very End of the Universe, and was eager to try it for herself. Soon after, Sophie was publishing short stories in various publications, such as The Guardian, New Delta Review, Ambit, Litro, and many others. She has also won and been longlisted for a number of competitions. Last year, Sophie was nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

In The Saturday When Everything Changed, Sophie shows how the safe monotony of life can be destroyed in one moment.


6:30 a.m.

Alina wakes up, brushes her teeth, applies unobtrusive makeup for school (a dust of powder and lipstick in a soft brown tone). On her way to the kitchen, where she will make the coffee, she wakes Liviu up with a soft caress on his arm.


Nothing has changed.


7:25 a.m.

Alina, wearing a dark blue pencil skirt and a white shirt with short sleeves, makes her way to school. Before the doors to the school are thrown open for the pupils, she has time to drink another cup of coffee with her fellow teachers in their break room. Miss Puiu, the music teacher, always comes in at 7:30 and makes coffee for all the staff. The coffee is as diluted and discoloured as herself: her clothes, her hair, even the memories of her sad childhood, which now don’t impress her audience anymore for too much telling. This morning, Miss Puiu repeats the story about how she and her seven siblings were only allowed to have milk with their polenta on Sundays. Everybody kindles their own thoughts, humming and nodding as they pretend to listen.

Before class begins, Alina and the children sing The Tricolour Flag, the national anthem, while looking admiringly at the picture of Ceausescu. From above the blackboard, the Beloved Leader smiles, watching over them like a big brother.


Nothing has changed.Read more…