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On a cold December night, after quelling my anger on a special edition of the winter mercato, while I was weary and breathless musing over a book about the G.T.D method: “Getting Things Done” – I shut my brain down after drinking two bottles of champagne swallowed in Kir Royal. Ah! I can remember the infamy of that night. The city was lit up by a shining chaos of thousands official buffoonery, abounded of stupid happiness made to disturb the peace of the strongest loner. At midnight,  the New Year’s Eve outburst was in full swing. I longed for the morning.

In vain, I tried to take from my readings a reprieve to the sadness for the loss of my Aline – a adorable Donskoy cat, aptly named,  the honor of his race,  elected by three times the most beautiful cat in the oblast of Leningrad. However Aline hadn’t always been the celestial being who had won three medals and all agreed on her unparalleled talents. The first time I saw her – one polar New Year’s Eve when I was out buying my champagne and some crayfish – she looked ugly enough to give me indigestion; one of those cat-pariahs so skinny that she could freeze on the spot. But behind the disgusting patina of misery that masked her coquetries, my expert eye had detected an all-round champion.

However Aline hadn’t always been the celestial being who had won three medals and all agreed on her unparalleled talents.

I opened a third bottle of champagne and poured it with a few tears into one of the glass saucer won by the cat. I was wading without buoy in the midst of a legal debauchery. The miracle happened when I brought the chalice to my mouth: “ What if I could step on the top of the podium too? If I could wave the cup in front of an admiring crowd? Damn it! what I was saying here was true. I knew the method and there’s nothing above the method. From Guillame d’Orange to Richard Branson, I’d read everything. The three volumes of  “Winner’s DNA”, “The Art of War” or “The Virtues of Failure”, I’d read everything. By the way, Aline was not well-born, before she died a hero.

Just this morning, I was prowling the streets of St. Petersburg waiting for Christmas’ Providence. Suddenly that night, I could be Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Pelé, Ayrton Senna. I was a Thracian gladiator putting all the women of Pompeii into a trance. I was the biggest black caviar eater in Moscow. Each of my victories was crowned with a magnificent trophy, in which I drank my champagne until I went blind.

Ô Aline, I must return to the places of our past triumphs; those arenas where you sped away – like a sword of sharp metal! Like if I wanted to soothe my heartbeat, I woke up in the night screaming three times “RUN,  BABY, RUN”. And from the echo which pushed my sad oration at the bottom of the cup, I thought I heard  my champion, your meowing which weakly, from the sojourn of the souls who were formerly acclaimed, still answered these so dear notes.

Aubry Daerden

©pictures Julia Sheleova