“Let them eat cake” by Jostein Wolff

Anna knew about the beautiful princess who despised the peasants. When assured that the peasants didn’t have bread to eat, the historical princess responded: “Let them eat cake”.
“Was she truly that monstrous to make fun of the poverty around her?” Anna wondered.

When the crisis hit the country, Anna had to adjust. She limited her expenses, setting priorities: no take-outs, no trips. Her friend’s invitation to the concert seemed appealing, yet it did not fit the monthly budget.
“You have no excuse,” her friend insisted.
“Is she really that monstrous to not realize that I cannot afford it?” Anna wondered.

A few months later, her neighbor collapsed in front of Anna’s eyes. He admitted to having stopped his therapy, for economic reasons.
“That’s one of the cheapest medications. You should care about your health more,” Anna told him, after taking a look at the price.
“I truly cannot afford it. Not if I want to eat,” her neighbor said in shame.
There came her turn to feel monstrous.

Perhaps Marie Antoinette had not been that monstrous after all. Perhaps, there is a princess in all of us.
“Kill the princess within,” wrote Anna in her diary, a few hours later.

Winner of ATA Flash Fiction Contest 2018 – Week 14


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