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News & Features » July 2017 » “The Vegetarian” by Andreia Dumitru

“The Vegetarian” by Andreia Dumitru

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, Andreia Dumitru copes with a vegetarian tween.

The Vegetarian
by Andreia Dumitru
12.5-year-old 

It started when she was quite young; the chicken nuggets were having a group hug, and she couldn’t disturb them. Another time, she named the beef burger on her dinner plate “Fred,” became attached to it, and wouldn’t eat it.  Fish were her friends, and so she excluded that from her food repertoire too.  Once she established the relationship between Wilbur and bacon, she stopped eating meat altogether.  

*

Today, she skips into the kitchen, goes to the treats cupboard, grabs a cookie, and a couple of marshmallows. “Sweets for your sweetie,” she chirps, smiling at me.

“Hey, that cookie should be eaten after dinner,” I say.

“It’s just so hard to resist the lure of the ‘now cookie’ to that of the ‘later cookie,’” she quips. “Besides, I’m so hungry right now, my stomach sounds like a robot saying ‘I challenge you to a cookie eating competition,’” she adds. She accidentally drops one of the marshmallows on the floor, but quickly retrieves it, and puts it in her mouth.  

“Honey, that’s gross, the floor isn’t that clean,” I tell her.

“I have a ‘no marshmallow left behind policy,’” she replies.

Considering the price of vegan marshmallows, that might not be a bad idea, I think to myself.

*

She opens the door to the microwave–appliance which I’ve only recently caved in about having in the house–places the cookie with the remaining marshmallow on top, shuts the door, and tinkers with the buttons: “This magic box is such a time saver, I would totally marry it, if only it did chores too,” she tells me. “So, what are you making there?” she inquires. She approaches the counter, picks up a tomato, takes in the aroma, and speaks with an Italian accent: “It smells so lovely, I’d create a tomato on the vine perfume line.”  She dabs the tomato on the inside of her wrists, and behind her ears, as I smile, thinking what a sweet, quirky, and creative child she is.

*

“I’m making you a veggie soup with some smoked tofu in it,” I reply to her question.  

“Smoked?” she asks, surprised. “Who would do that to poor tofu? And what the heck is that yucky looking liquid in the bottle?”

“That’s borsch,” I answer. “It’s used to give soups a nice, sour flavor. This one here is fermented beets, though other veggies or grains can be utilized,” I add.

“But mom, if you’re going to add ‘a borsch in’, it’ll hardly still be a vegetarian soup,” she says, with a wink.

I am left aghast, while she retrieves her cookie with the now puffed up marshmallow on top, and skips out of the kitchen.

***

ANDREIA DUMITRU is a mom and educator, with more than 10 years of teaching experience. She holds a BA in psychology from York University and is currently working on a YA book. She lives in Toronto, with her husband, two kids, way too many fidget spinners and an awesomely quirky dog who (among other idiosyncrasies), loves to pop bubble wrap. 

***

Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Jul 18, 2017

Category: Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , ,



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