Small novel preview: Panther’s Club

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Order of appearance of sentences, words and chapters may vary and change in the final draft. All written in the following chapter is registered and protected by international copyright by © Natascia Da Prato * SGAE Member


Dr. Vladimir loved Thursday afternoons when the clock hit 6:00 sharp. That was the exact time when his last patient left. He liked to stay at his office a little longer and watch the sunset from his big windows, twenty stores above. He took out his cigar, cut the tip off, and smelled it with great pleasure. His mind wandered through the wilderness of his memories twenty years ago in the woods.

He saw a beautiful woman with a yellow dress running behind a brown-haired boy. They laughed as he watched. He loved sitting there in the middle of the trees right in front his Summer-house. ‘Daddy, don’t smoke!’ his ten-year-old boy yelled from the river ‘come swim with us!’

Birds echoed with his wife’s laugher and Vladimir knew how lucky he was to be right there, right then. ‘You go swim rybka. Daddy will come after he finishes his cigar’. When Dr. Vladimir woke up hours later in the woods, he didn’t remember falling asleep. Dead silence surrounded him: no birds singing, no wind blowing and no more laugher.

Now he sat there in his office surrounded by the same smell that reminded him of that exact moment. “I am so sorry rybka. I am so sorry” he said aloud.

Suddenly the door opened startling him “Oh dear. You are talking alone now doc?” Jacqueline slammed the door behind her and sat down in the chair in front of him letting her skirt go higher than it should have. Her perfect manicured hands played with a bundle of bright red hair. “So, what’s up? You don’t return my calls anymore? And what the hell are you doing smoking a cigar in a closed office?” She started moving her hands dramatically so the smoke would disappear.

“What on earth are you doing here?” he put the cigar out “Are you out of your mind? Did anyone see you come in here? “ he snapped.

“Oh relax, Vlad. I am not that stupid. I know you sit here in your pity party alone on Thursdays.” She stood up. “So, why are you not returning my calls?” she stood up and approached him seductively.

“You call me when you shouldn’t. Have some better damn timing Jacqueline.” He couldn’t stop staring at her long legs, his breath getting heavy.

“This was not the deal Vlad.” She sat on the table putting her sky-high stilettos on his lap. Dr. Vladimir remained silent. “We have been working for this a very long time doc.”

Dr. Vladimir stood up letting Jacqueline’s feet fall to the ground abruptly. “I need more time.”

“More time? I’ll give you more time. But my real concern is what happens then?” Jacqueline was getting irritated “You think after all of this is done, the three of us will live happily ever after?” she laughed “What do you suggest doc?”

“I suggest Jacqueline you get the hell out of my office and go do your part of the deal.” He opened the door for her to exit “Then we will take care of what happens next.”

Jacqueline stood up and fixed her skirt. She smiled and approached the door. Before exiting she got close to Dr. Vladimir’s face almost touching his lips “Don’t even think for a second that if I go down you will benefit from of all this. This was all your idea and if I go down, you will go down with me”.

Dr. Vladimir slammed the door and kissed Jacqueline passionately, almost as trying to make all of this go away. She pulled her skirt up as quickly and he pulled his pant down. Dr. Vladimir took Jacqueline on his lap and bumped her against the wall making a diploma fall on the floor shattering it’s glass in a million pieces. While he held her he thought how his soul had gotten as unfixable as the glass on the ground.

© Natascia Da Prato

 

So yes, I am a dreamer

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I dream every-single-night.

I even dream when I take a nap. I wake up and rewind my dream to see how much I can remember. I write it down. I sometimes encounter people I love that are not here anymore. My grandfather often appears in my dreams, he talks to me and I feel him really close. My father-in-law Mr. Carmelo often visits me and is part of my dream scene. Sometimes I dream I am singing on top of my voice and it is the best feeling in the world. Have you ever had the joy of dreaming you are flying?

I am truly free in this imaginary world of mine.

I also have nightmares and many nights I have woken up crying with bitter tears. I have to take a minute to realize it was just a dream and come back to reality. This happens rarely, but I also giggle sometimes and laugh. My boyfriend finds this funny and he is the one who tells me when I do. Imagine how freaked out he must feel sometimes having the person next to him deep asleep and giggling.

I told this to my neurologist and she told me it was fantastic that I did remember them. Not everybody does.

I don’t have to fall asleep to keep on dreaming, sometimes reality is so raw that all we see is black and white scenarios. But my dreams are colorful and I can turn them in anything I want to…

 

Let’s embrace being a little different

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Let’s talk about criticism.

When I was a little girl I remember being bullied. Yes, I do remember it. I arrived in Venezuela when I was eight years old. I was the «new girl» who could not speak spanish and when I did, I had a «mamma mia» accent. I was from a different country and culture. My friends didn’t understand my liberal parents and they surely never processed the idea of going topless to the Greek beaches. When I spoke to my mom in Greek they made fun of the «funny» words we used.

My dad got very sick when I was thirteen. My classmates made fun of him. They said terrible things at school. That hurt so much more than hearing negative comments about myself. Why on earth should you make fun of someone who is sick? They also picked on my sister and my mom.

They called me fat because I had a big booty (oh dear, you have no idea how much I appreciate that asset now). Some teachers and fellow students thought that I was stupid because I was terrible at math but then again I was the first one to raise my hand when the teacher asked «do you know what a pentagon is?». I had no idea what it was but I told them that it came from the Greek word meaning «pente» that means «five» and «gonia» that means «angle», so my logic told me that it must be something with five angles (yeah, so stupid).

I made terrible and embarrassing spelling mistakes. But hey…I guess that is the only negative thing about speaking 4 different languages at the age of ten.

Why am I telling you this? Because I hate the fact that so many people enjoy bringing others down. The reasons for that are endless, but I would like you to know that they can only hurt you if you let them.

Yes, I was constantly bullied and it did get to me but that all stopped when I turned thirteen. It didn’t hurt me no more because I knew whoever was behind that bully was so empty, that he or she had to empty someone else with their negative criticism. I embrace positive criticism. That is my way of getting better at whatever it is that I am doing.

When I started promoting my music I received all types of comments. Some of them did hurt and some of them made me feel so loved that I couldn’t believe it.  I understood that not everybody could like me and that was ok. I like me. I believe in me and I think that is a good start point. 

I have learned to love myself. It has been a terrible battle with so many voices in autopilot inside my head but I did manage to make peace with myself. You don’t realize it, but sometimes WE are our biggest bully.

People are going to have their opinion and that is ok too. They are going to judge whatever it is that you are doing. Good or bad, right or wrong. So go ahead and ignore those comments. They are not worth it. You know exactly who you are. Negative comments are just a way of improving yourself. You are simply spectacular just the way you are. Yes, you heard me. SPECTACULAR. 

Someone once told me «whatever rocks you find in your path put them inside a bag because at the end of the road, you could build a house with them». Well I have built a big solid building with a big parking lot, thank you very much.