She holds my bag and I choose the most beautiful nectarines. Her mother is at another stall, a little farther away. Mihaela puts my nectarines on the scales, types and tells me the price. She should be in the seventh grade, but she hasn't been to school for three years. A typical story. Problems at home, their father left them, they had no money, the mother was a housewife… they had to provide for themselves. Student allowance? The bun and the milk? She sneers. Too far from what she earns at the stall, especially if both her and her mother sell. Why, she tells me, I should calculate how much they earn between them. She does not regret having dropped out. Sometimes, she watches TV news and she sees parents hurrying up to buy notebooks and uniforms. Her mother laughs and congratulates herself on having got rid of such trouble. Mihaela laughs, too. When she grows up, she will be a singer. Or a top-model.  Dilema veche, 7-13 October 2006

by Stela Giurgeanu