The Prologue collection brings to life the metaphor of the cushion story depicting a newly read bedtime story. The product sheds light on our everyday moment of falling asleep, when we abandon the realm of the real for the kingdom of dreams, where once again – anything is possible. The authentic relationship between the carefully selected words and strong visuals kindles our emotions gently, but loudly enough to enrich any engulfing interior.
The short stories authored by Darija Šćukanec explore the same theme – love, but in different contexts.
The second story, which is a simple and picturesque combination of words, features a short extract from the author’s real life. She briefly abandons the ubiquitous clamor of thoughts, worries and obligations to pay her attention to a forgotten, often ignored ability – empathy, through indirect descriptions of Zagreb motives.
The author, using poetic and nearly provocative emotional assertions, brings the sins of her contemporaries into spotlight, illustrating how oftentimes by minding ourselves and our own needs we fail to see those otherwise left unseen by anyone.
Prologue #2 story
"The tram terminal is the epitome of empty stares. Gazes lingering on beautiful tree canopies, ugly shoes or tram timetables alike. When the cable-powered contraption finally reached the station, the bodies began their gallop towards the shabby upholstery of scratched seats. Especially towards those allowing passengers to avoid sitting face to face protected from any interaction. This city isn’t fond of peopling. It is less and less fond of people too. This is the truth loudly left unspoken.
Pointing at the seat opposite mine, he asked whether it was taken without uttering a sound.
“I’m going to the Zoo!”
“Alright…” I retorted out of courtesy tightly plugging my auditory canals. Today I’m not in the mood to nod politely. Today I’m hardly in any mood. I’ll settle for the scenes passing us by and for the fact that it’s Friday.
He’s waving to me, my peripheral vision signaled it to me. I didn’t want to turn around; I was gazing sideways in need of my own peace, but the old man just continued invading my space. He kept waving, and waving, and waving as if there’s no tomorrow. I took my earbuds off.
“A handkerchief!” he said, pointing at a small bundle on the tram floor.
“Not mine,” I replied nervously.
“A handkerchief!” he said, pestering a squirt that didn’t even look at him. Then he squatted down, lifted the hankie up, gave it a shake and carefully laid it onto the plastic pedestal between the two of us. He began folding it with his both hands, although it was more than obvious that piece of cloth would never see the inside of its owner’s pocket. I admired the dedication the old man showed while smoothing something so unimportant. Every finger was busy, but not hasty or heedless; very parent-like. His sleeve cuff moved to reveal a bright red, symbol-laden bracelet. As always, my glasses were on the top my head like a headband, but I decided to pull them down and take a peek – despite my good manners. I wasn’t able to comprehend the letters and the numbers, but one thing I knew: the old man wasn’t a regular music festival goer.
“I’m going to the Zoo!” he uttered suddenly.
“Nice,” I said.
“I like meerkats,” he looked at me with interest.
“I’m not really familiar with that animal…”
In fact, I was completely clueless.
“I like meerkats!”
He flashed such a warm boyish smile that I felt shame washed over me. This was a truly good man, and I, no doubt, wasn’t. That thought was heart-piercing…
“I’m going to the Zoo!” he chirped.
He took out familiar stickers from my childhood out of his pocket. He shoved the kingdom of fury muzzles and beautiful feathers right in my face. At that moment my prescription glasses deciphered his bracelet in full. It disclosed an address, name and a phone number. I watched him sort the pictures out merrily, like a well-versed custodian. Vladimir, from a Zagreb street of the ninth month of the calendar, gliding towards his meerkat park. Taken from the world differently from others. Differently from me.
On the other side of the line was his daughter, frightened, asking me to stay put until she comes to collect her dad. I told her not to hurry.
We were having a nice time at the Zoo."