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The President's Daughter

The President’s Daughter is the memoir of Cecilia Perez-Matos, the out-lesbian daughter of the former President of Venezuela. It’s about surviving insurmountable odds, including political coups, gay-bashing, and cancer.

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Manuscript

Memoirs LGBT, Political Intrigue, Celebrities
77,965 words
75% complete
Delray Beach, Florida
10 publishers interested

Synopsis

Cecilia Perez-Matos’ memoir is a story of survival: of political coups, gay-bashing, cancer, and family betrayal. She is the daughter of one of the most influential presidents of South America, Carlos Andres Perez. She paints a picture of the human side of her father—a courageous, loving dad, whose infectious laugh could even charm Prince Charles. 

The author relays the precarious times at the beginning of her father’s second term in office, and the two coup attempts against him. After the first failed attempt, kidnapping plans were uncovered, and her parents concluded that Venezuela was no longer safe for Cecilia and her sister—which led to Cecilia’s move to New York at age 10.

As Cecilia grew into adolescence, she began looking for the passionate, all-engulfing, never-ending, “perfect” love that she saw in her parents’ relationship. After a conversation with a lesbian teacher, Cecilia came out at the age of 11, resulting in immediate gay-bashing.

After Cecilia’s mother joined her father in death, everyone wanted a piece of their inheritance. However, her sister mainly claimed an unexpected item: her parents’ love letters to each other. When Cecilia finally won possession of the letters, they turned out to articulate just how much her parents loved each other. Given all of the abuse and rejection that Cecilia experienced because of who she loves, this information is especially meaningful.

Outline

Introduction

Chapter 1: CAP’s Laughter

Chapter 2: New Year’s Eve

Chapter 3: The Night the Dictator Was Born

Chapter 4: The Venezuelan Closet

Chapter 5: The View Is Different from Here

Chapter 6: House Arrest

Chapter 7: Always Check Your Back

Chapter 8: When I Was a Boy

Chapter 9: So Then What Is Love?

Chapter 10: The Matos Story

Chapter 11: The Strongest Woman I Ever Met

Chapter 12: The Hardest Part of a Hysterectomy

Chapter 13: Morphine and Mickey Mouse

Chapter 14: Recovery

Chapter 15: The Trial

Chapter 16: Forgiveness

Chapter 17: The Legacy

Audience

This book will sell to readers of the following genres:

Memoir

Cecilia’s memoir reads like a cross-section of current or previous bestsellers:

  • A “princess” with a history of substance abuse and an infamously tumultuous relationship with her mother.
  • A lesbian who immigrated to the US and made an international successes of herself.
  • A notorious, passionate Latina who utilized her celebrity to drive attention to her subculture.

LGBT

This books reveals the story of how Cecilia came out when she was only 11 and survived subsequent gay-bashing. And in December 2013, Cecilia became the first daughter of a president to ever participate in a same-sex marriage.

Political Intrigue

Cecilia has survived cancer, political coups, and assassination attempts. She’s been moved all over the world to protect her safety, and she’s had bodyguards and drivers throughout her childhood.

Celebrities

Cecilia has lived a very exotic, international life. As a child, she was formally presented to Prince Charles, and she’s lived all over the world: Caracas, London, New York, Miami, Turiamo, and Orchila. 

Author

Cecilia has established a remarkable career as an attorney, author, and trailblazer for LGBT rights. In fact, she received the Audre Lorde Writing Award for a short memoir about her tumultuous coming-out story and the subsequent abuse she survived.

In December 2013, Cecilia became the first daughter of a president to ever participate in a same-sex marriage.

The President’s Daughter is Cecilia’s memoir. It’s a story of survival: of political coups, gay-bashing, cancer, and family betrayal. She paints a picture of the human side of her father—a courageous, loving dad, whose infectious laugh could even charm Prince Charles.

Promotion

The President’s Daughter undoubtedly has a market. Two years ago, a journalist interviewed Ce. When the interview came out, there were over 2,000 readers within the first hour of the release.

Her blog is popular across the globe, including all of North America and various countries in South America, Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

And she has over 7,000 followers on Twitter.

https://perezmatos.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/cperezmatos

https://www.facebook.com/ce.perezmatos

youtube.com/watch?v=4Fs0qBrIWS0&feature=youtu.be

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cecilia-perez-matos-09505061

But that’s not all: Cecilia's wife, Michelle Perez, is the founder of Keratin Girl. She has almost 5,000 followers on Twitter and 1,500 followers on Instagram.

https://twitter.com/thekeratin...

https://www.instagram.com/keratin_girl/

If The President’s Daughter wins Queerly Lit, the first thing that’ll be done with the reward money is hiring a translator. That person will focus on appealing to the Spanish-speaking population. Given Cecilia’s popularity in Venezuela and throughout South America, providing a Spanish version could double or even triple the number of readers of this memoir.

Competition

These memoirs were written by lesbians who immigrated to the US and made international successes of themselves. Martina’s work is particularly relevant since she’s very publicly married to a woman. However, neither were Latina political figures.

Martina by Martina Navratilova Navratolova

https://www.amazon.com/Martina-Navratilova/dp/0449209822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484880579&sr=1-1&refinements=p_lbr_one_browse-bin%3AMartina+Navratilova

Marlene by Marlene Dietrich

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marlene-marlene-dietrich/1001868156?ean=9781453274699&st=PLA&sid=NOK_DRS_NOOK+EBooks_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP25763&k_clickid=419x25763&utm_source=Google+PLA&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_campaign=NOOK+EBooks

Also a “princess” with a history of substance abuse and an infamously tumultuous relationship with her mother, Carrie Fisher wasn’t Latina or lesbian.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Diarist-Carrie-Fisher/dp/0399173595

One of the most notorious, passionate Latina celebrities of all time, Frida’s memoir only hints at lesbianism.

Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo

https://www.amazon.com/Diary-Frida-Kahlo-Intimate-Self-Portrait/dp/0810959542/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484880977&sr=1-1&keywords=Diary+of+Frida+Kahlo+%3A+An+Intimate+Self-portrait

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

https://www.amazon.com/Running-Scissors-Memoir-Augusten-Burroughs/dp/031242227X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484881335&sr=1-4&keywords=augusten+burroughs

Sample

Prologue

Witnessing his Last Breath, Miami, December 25, 2010

* 9:00 am*

            The warm Florida sun was shining through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the apartment on the 47th floor. The white curtains and cream furniture were shining in the sun, as if they were diamonds in a ray of light. The room was filled with the delicious perfume of hallacas boiling on the stove. The decorations, the aroma, and the joy that filled the room made it clear that this was Christmas—Venezuelan style.

            Like every other year, my family had gathered. But this year, it had been a little more complicated.

My older sister María Francia and her newborn had arrived a few days before Christmas from Colombia. It had been a hard choice to leave her husband other two daughters behind at her in-laws’. But it was our “tradition” to spend Christmas in Miami, so the “choice” was practically made for her.

I arrived on Christmas Eve. As a newly admitted attorney to the Georgia State Bar, my work obligations forced me to stay there longer than desired. In fact, more than any other year before, I wanted to leave Georgia because my life had become very complicated there.

For about six years, my mother had threatened my sister and I that “this Christmas could be the last we’re all together.” My father was getting older, and the effects of the stroke were increasingly apparent every year.

*1:00 pm*

“Dad? Dad?! What’s happening?” I demanded as I saw my father’s skin turning blue. In the distance, I could hear my sister singing the Venezuelan anthem. “COME ON, DAD!” I shouted, pushing my sister, the maid (Nixa), and the Cuban nurse out of the way. “Breathe! Please!”

There was no time to think. The hot hallacas laid half-eaten on our plates. “Let me start CPR,” said the nurse.

            “María, call 911. STOP SINGING! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” I yelled at my sister. But she just kept singing.

            I quickly made eye contact with Nixa. She immediately picked up the phone and called 911. “They’re on their way!” she reported.

            “DAD”, I again demanded, “look at me!” I physically moved his face, so that he could see me.  “Over here, Dad…” Then vomit spilled out of his mouth.

*2:10 pm*

“We are in route with an 88-year-old male in respiratory failure,” shouted one of the paramedics into the CB.

            As the red ambulance raced down the streets of Miami, the feeling of Christmas was fractured.

            “Hold on tight, ok? We’re almost there!” the paramedic instructed me as I sat on the foldout chair next to my father.

            I didn’t say a word. But with every passing second, my face turned a little paler.

*2:30 pm*

In my mind, my arm reached out to pull him back toward me—to shake him back into my world. But as I reached for him, the room, his bed, the doctors, and his body seemed to be sliding further away. I looked down at my brown, beige, and white Campers, which were glued to the floor.

“Clear!” shouted the man in the blue scrubs, as the charged metal plates reappeared.

The heart monitor was flat for way too long.

“Clear!” shouted the man again.

There were 6 people hovering over his body. I stood alone in the hallway, looking into the room. Everything was moving in slow motion. I felt like a frozen ice sculpture looking out at a movie clip that was playing in front of me—unable to move, unable to react. 

With each touch of the defibrillator, my father’s chest thrashed in the air. Then life seemed to return to his body for a split second. But as quickly as that moment came, it left. The CPR machine also continued its work, sending explosions of air through his mouth and into his lungs. It violently expanded his chest and stomach like an Acme balloon forcefully filling up, waiting for the coyote to explode any moment.

            “When do I yell ‘STOP’?” It seemed like they should be treating him more gently or asking for his permission. They weren’t operating like they were trying to revive him. I felt like they’d cause his body to break in half.

But in the next moment, tears gushed down my cheeks like a broken fire hydrant. And the young daughter in me shouted, “Fix him. Please God, fix him. Let him wake up!”

*2:41 pm*

The man that had been directing all the movement in front of me took off his surgical mask and walked over to me. He was a tall man, and it felt like he was a giant towering over me. Tapping me on the shoulder, he said, “I am sorry, but there is nothing more we can do.” Then he just walked away.

Suddenly, all the movement stopped, and everyone disappeared. Just like that, it ended. My father was gone.

*2:50 pm*

I held his hand in mine.

I pressed and pinched the tips of his fingers. It was a habit we’d had since I was a tiny little girl. But his hand was cold.

It was just the two of us in a small pink room. Empty chairs surrounded us. His lifeless body laid on the cold metal table in the center of the room—covered by a white sheet.

I was still in shock. Everything had happened so fast that I unclear about the events that had unfurled in the last few hours. It was all too surreal to take in.

The door burst open, and my mother came running in. “Ceci,” she shouted as she extended her arms towards me.

            I moved toward her and let my body fall into her arms. In that moment, I fully realized the heavy weight I’d been bearing while I stood there and waited for someone to arrive. As I fell into her arms, I uncontrollably broke into tears. “He’s gone, Mom!” I sobbed. “They tried everything, but they couldn’t fix it. I rambled between breaths and sobs. “I’ve been sitting here with him. I didn’t want him to be alone. You weren’t here. I didn’t know what else to do.”

            My mother kept holding me. I could now feel that she’d broken down too. After a few minutes, I separated from her and looked around the room. Nixa and the Cuban nurse were now standing in a corner of the pink room. My sister was outside with her newborn.

“Call your sister in. We have to make some calls,” my mom stated as she wiped the tears off her face and tried to compose herself.

The true Cecilia Matos knew it was time to act. There was no more time for feelings.

*3:00 pm*

“Diego,” my mom said over the phone to my godfather.[1] “CAP just passed away...” As my mother continued, her voice started cracking as the tears fell down her face. “I didn’t know who else to call. What do we do now?”

After my mother replied a couple of times, she hung up the phone.

            I immediately asked what Diego had said. “He said not to call anyone else. Because of the delicate nature of this situation, he’s going to make some arrangements. And he’ll call us back with further instructions.”

I grabbed ahold of my mother’s hand. “Ok… So we’ll wait here with him?” I knew my mom was acting stronger than she was feeling. I wanted to reassure her, so she’d believe we would make it through this. But I was afraid that she’d crumble to pieces if I allowed her to really express her emotions. And then what? Then who’d tell me what to do next?

Little did I know that as we sat there waiting for this phone call, the world was changing around us. A legal battle was in the process of erupting. As we held our breaths and sat in silence, Diego tweeted about my father’s passing and it spread like a wildfire. The few moments of peace that we had in that pink room would be the last ones we would all have for months to come (and the last quiet moments of my mom’s life).

The only thing I knew for sure was that he was dead:

Ø  My idol

Ø  The kindhearted, charismatic man, whose smile could light up even the darkest room

Ø  The one person that believed in me throughout my life

Ø  The man who’d instilled the knowledge in me that everything was at my reach, and that there was nothing in the world that could hold me back

Ø  The man that taught me that there was nothing better than laughter that erupted from deep in my belly and tickled me from the inside out

Ø  The two-time president of Venezuela

Ø  Carlos Andrés Perez (CAP)

Ø  My father

[1] Diplomat, former Venezuelan Ambassador at the United Nations (1991–1993) and President of the Security Council (March 1992). Also, Governor of the Federal District of Caracas in the mid-1970s. Other positions he held have included Diplomatic Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University


Chapter 1

CAP's Laughter, Caracas, Venezuela, 1985-1989

One of my dad’s most memorable qualities was his never-ending desire to make me laugh. From the time I was crawling, my father had a ritual when he’d get home or meet our family somewhere. No matter who was around or where we were, he’d take off his suit jacket, get on all fours, and play with me. He’d do everything in his power to get at least one good belly laugh from his little girl.

As I grew a little older and became more capable of partaking in the plotting and execution of my father’s “Machiavellian pranks,” I grew closer and closer to him. Eventually, we became equal “partners in crime.”

*1985*

It was 1985, and little 4-year-old me found herself watching her father silently walking around the yard. It’s what he normally did when he had something on his mind and was trying to resolve it.

It was dusk, and I was looking up at him: pacifier in mouth, big-eyed, and ready to go. Nothing on except a pair of dry pullups, white-laced socks, and pink shoes. The cool Avila Mountain air and calm of the evening caressed my mostly naked body.

In an instant, my father’s eyes locked on mine, and he immediately lost his train of thought. He looked at me, and the warmth of his smile embraced me. With his index finger, he signaled for me to walk over to him. As I got closer, his arms opened up to receive me.

        He pulled me off the ground and looked into my eyes. He said, “Mi chispita. ¿cómo está mi chispita?” [My little sparkle. How is my little sparkle?]

I continued to stare at him, sucking on my pacifier and feeling my feet dangle in the air. My father’s strong arms held me up.

Before I could answer him, his warm smile turned into a mischievous one. “I have a great idea,” he said. “Is your mom already in bed?”

I him gave an affirmative nod.

She’d actually retired early that evening. She was very tired because of an event she’d had to attend. Before she went to bed, she claimed that she was going to watch some TV and relax for a minute. But I knew that she was probably out cold by now, snoring away.

So my father set me down and started walking with a purpose. I followed along, mimicking his movement, pacifier in hand. However, I didn’t know what he was looking for yet. But after a few minutes, he pointed to a dark spot at the edge of the grass.

“There it is. Just what I was looking for!” he exclaimed.

I squinted and turned my head to try to discern what the treasure was that we’d just found. But all I could see was a 2-inch outdoor roach, sitting very still. I looked up at my dad, looked down at the roach, and continued sucking on my pacifier. I was unsure how this little creature was going to entertain us.

Very slowly and silently, my father bent down and signaled for me to walk over. I obeyed, trying my hardest to control the rubbing noise that my pullups made when I stepped—or the loud tapping that my pink shoes made against the concrete.

I saw my father gently pick up the roach and cup his hands one over the other. He was trying to prevent the roach from running away or getting squished.

“Ok señorita, this is what we are going to do…” He kept kneeling, the roach in hand. “I want you to hold this little creature in your hands just like I am. Then go up to see la mami. When you get up there, I want you to wake her up and tell her you have a gift for her. She loves these little creatures!”

I stuck the pacifier back into my mouth. The execution of the plan required the use of both my hands. I hiked up my pullups to make sure I would have no unexpected problems along the way, wiped the soles of my shoes against the concrete, took a deep breath, and nodded to show my acceptance of the mission.

My father placed the roach in my hands with immense care, as if it were a magical pearl we’d just discovered in an oyster. All this while, my father’s serious, composed facial expression didn’t change. But his eyes couldn’t hide the smile he was holding inside. So then the event was even more important: I knew it was making my father happy.

I began walking from the corner of the patio into the house, past the bodyguards, past the bulletproof cars, and into the kitchen. The cook was making mondongo (a Venezuelan stew of tripe and vegetables). “Yuck!” I thought, taking a deep breath and holding it. Then I sped up to quickly get out of the kitchen. I hastily raced through the living room, up the stairs, past the sitting room, and into my parents’ room. My excitement was evidenced by the speed at which I sucked my pacifier. If I was going to surprise mom, I had to hurry!

As I walked into the bedroom, I saw my mother fast asleep on my father’s side of the bed. I walked over and stood by the edge, next to the pillow. For a moment, I thought about how to best remove my pacifier from my mouth without losing the little creature that had been entrusted to me by my father.

I finally secured the roach with one hand, used the free hand to take the pacifier out, and placed it on the nightstand. At that moment, little butterflies began bouncing in my stomach. I was really excited to surprise my mom with this bug.

“¡Mami! ¡Mami!” I shouted. “LOOK! Look at what I brought you!” My excitement was bubbling out as I placed the roach on the pillow next to my mom’s face.

I stood still, awaiting my mom’s cheerful reaction.

My mom’s eyes started to open slowly as she awoke. Her vision attempted to focus on me, but the quick movement of the little creature caught her attention. The roach was still confused by its journey through the Perez-Matos residence.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” My mother’s scream pierced through the quiet evening. She threw the pillows into the air and jumped off the bed.

“What are you doing? Why would you….” She shouted in panic, realizing that I had just placed a live roach on her pillow.

Tears began to form before the noise of my cry could be heard.

“Waaaah, waaah, wah!” I sobbed and convulsively gasped for air as the tears dripped from my face, rolled down my naked belly, and spilled onto my pink shoes.

Before my mom could say anything else, my dad rolled into the bedroom. He was laughing so hard, he looked like he was about to trip over himself. He ran over to me and threw me up in the air, still laughing and smiling. He had such a contagious laugh and smile that I couldn’t help but laugh and smile with him too.

As we laughed, my mom also became infected by the laughter.

My dad put me down on the floor. Then we received a blow from a pillow that my mom had sent flying our way. It was her payback for our prank. The room was filled with laughter for the rest of the evening. Even as we crawled into bed to sleep, my father and I kept giggling about the prank.

Unlike most people in the world, my father had the weight of a country on his shoulders. And he had the weight of two families. He had global problems, personal problems, and enemies on all levels.

However, he always found time to enjoy a few minutes of his day by getting into mischief with me. He did it because he enjoyed it, but it was also his release—the way he could relax and disconnect from his reality. In these moments, I felt most connected to Carlos Andrés Pérez, my father. Only then could I see the truly humble, simple man that CAP actually was.

Unfortunately, sometimes he was the only one laughing.

           

*November 1988*

The “El Gocho pal ‘88” campaign was in full force. I specifically remember that we were mid-campaign because that evening I put on a white campaign sweater with my father’s face on it. It was a beautiful, elegant, clean campaign. White was the official color or his party, Acción Democrática. So everything was white: all of my father’s clothing and all of the paraphernalia. The main image they used was my father in a sports jacket, filled with life and waving his arms to the people. It became iconic.

One night, my parents quietly had dinner in the dining room. My sister, my cousin Juan, and I were upstairs in the piano room, monkeying around. Juan was much taller than me, but I was trying to prove that I was stronger than him. We were wrestling while María practiced on the black Steinway piano that sat in the hall.

            I pushed Juan with all my might, but every time, he was able to sweep my legs out from under me and make me fall. But it didn’t matter to me. I was as determined that night as I was every day during recess—when I tried to show the boys playing soccer that I was just as good as they were. We slowly edged closer to the piano. Then, in one of my attempts, I went flying against the corner of the piano bench.

            “AHHHHHHH!!!” I yelled. I quickly threw my hand onto my head to try to alleviate the pain. I felt a strange wetness that did not seem like the normal, expected sweat. As I tried to decipher what the substance on my hands was, my eyes tried to adjust to the brightness. It was red and warm. Could it be? I started to panic. Even as a young kid, I could deal with a lot, and my stomach would normally not turn easily. However, the sight of my own blood made me turn into that little girl I often pretended I wasn’t, and I’d immediately go weak at the knees. And yes, blood was coming from my head!

            It took the three of us a moment to come to terms with what had happened. But soon, both María and Juan were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off—trying to figure out what to do and how to fix this. Juan was terrified of the trouble he’d be in.

Within moments, the two of them had come up with a great idea: “Let’s go to the sink and clean it with water!” So they pulled me up from the ground and shuffled me over to the adjoining bathroom. As Juan poured water on my head, the white campaign sweater I was wearing started turning different shades of pink.

“There’s no use. What are we are doing?” María said. “We just have to tell mom and dad.” With those words, I could see Juan trembling. It wouldn’t matter that it was my idea to wrestle. My parents would blame him. So I was sent downstairs on my own. I had to walk the plank (so to speak) and explain what had happened to my parents.

As I arrived at the main landing, I began my walk through the front foyer, through the main living room, around a circular marble coffee table, and finally over to our dining room, which was off to the left of the house. My father sat at the head of the table, and my mother to his left. My mother’s back was to me. As soon as I approached him, their voices lowered. My father smiled at me; it was his most amazing feature. I was shaking on the inside, still in shock and pain. But I was also afraid that I was somehow going to get in trouble.

“What’s going on?” asked my dad, stretching one hand out to pull me in and using the other hand to clean his mouth with the napkin. He was apparently oblivious to the fact that I was wet and bleeding.

Before I could answer, my mother screeched, “WHAT HAPPENED?!?!” She pulled me over to examine me. Tears began gushing down my face; I’d turned the faucet, and the knob had apparently fallen off.

“I… then… Juan… my head… the sink… and they put water…” I whimpered. Full sentences were not coming out. My dad chuckled and stood up.

“Come on. Let’s go fix this!” he said, putting his hand on my shoulder and leading me back towards the stairway. My mom was left to grumble in the background about Juan and irresponsibility.

In silence, my father walked with me through the living room in silence, across the foyer, up the stairs, and past Juan, María, and the piano. Then he led me into the front room of my parents’ bedroom suite. When I was very little, this room had been transformed into a sort of beauty salon. In the middle of the room stood a stylist chair. There was a professional shampoo bowl by the wall, and the counter was covered in hair products, makeup, and perfume. A large mirror covered the wall. Opposite the mirror was a large closet with a mixture of clothing, hair products, and linens. That room had three doors: the main entrance, the bathroom door, and another door to an actual bedroom.

My dad sat me down on the stylist chair. Still chuckling, he started examining my head. “Ok Ceci, I am going to cut a little of your hair off to see what we have.” Of course, this statement only made me cry harder. “Come on!” he said, letting out a bigger laugh. “You are fine! It’s just a little scratch!”

“Dad,” I said sobbing, “you think my brain could fall out through that hole?”

Then I could feel his body shaking from the laughter that came from the center of his belly. “Just like your mother. So dramatic!” he said, laughing harder and harder. I was genuinely terrified that I could die from this horrific injury. I kept crying, and my father kept laughing. Suffice it to say, I ended up with eight stitches in the back of my head. But my father was right: I was just fine.

That night, after all the crying, the fear, the scolding from my mother, and the punishment Juan received, I reflected on the calm, cool collectedness that my father had exhibited. What an admirable man. His breath never fell out of rhythm, and his pulse never elevated or deviated in any way. He exhibited this same calmness while resolving political problems. But I only got to experience it as it related to my childish things.

*February 22-25, 1989*

Despite my soiled sweater, my father won the election. So when Charles, Prince of Wales, visited Venezuela, my father received him. Plenty of official dinners and meetings were organized during his visit. In addition to all the official events, my mother organized a dinner for the Prince at the Japanese Suite at Miraflores (the Palace).

This event would be very private. Only close friends of my parents would attend. Of course, my sister and I were required to show our faces for a moment. And we might even get to eat dinner with the grownups. But that depended on the number of guests who showed up, especially whether a set (or two) of our cousins came.

So my sister and I were tucked away in the master bedroom of the Japanese Suite. We made sure to get “comfortable” before any important quests arrived, so that we were not spotted running around during the big event. Of course, we were wearing dresses with lace and tulle, so comfort was far from my mind. But nonetheless, we were on the bed relaxing.

Eventually, one of our youngest cousins showed up with his mother, who’d been invited to the dinner. Thus, it was decided that the kids would eat in the bedroom, and only come out to greet the guests as requested by my parents.

Then Prince Charles and his entourage arrived. Soon, everyone was seated at the table ready to begin the meal. As always, my father sat at the head of the table. The prince sat to his left. The first course was a traditional chupe andino de pollo, a chicken stew with corn and little cubes of paisa cheese. After the adults finished their soup, my dad requested the presence of his daughters.  He wanted to introduce us to the guests while the table was being cleared for the main course.

So María and I stood by my father’s side and nodded as he introduced us. Some of the guest’s soup bowls had already been cleared. However, Prince Charles and my father were still battling with a small amount of soup at the bottoms of their bowls.

My sister was the funny one back then, and she had all these Jaimito jokes. They were basically knock-knock jokes about this little boy named Jaimito. She started telling a completely inappropriate joke about Jaimito getting in trouble because he was taking off his pants, showing his private parts, and singing.

It could not have been more uncomfortable to stand trough the joke, but my father found it very entertaining every time it was told. I kept hoping something would get lost in translation! I stood there and smiled, counting the seconds until I could go back to the room and change out of my dress.

Finally, I heard my father talking to the interpreter. “Can you please translate to the Prince? I’m very sorry for not following protocol. But I’m really enjoying my soup, and I don’t want to leave this little bit behind.” My father then waited for the translation to be made.

The Prince looked up, a little confused about what was taking place. As I’d already heard María’s joke too many times, I let her fade into background noise, and I paid close attention to my father and the prince.

What happened next was the perfect example of the beautiful, humble man my father always was. He took the spoon from his bowl and placed it on the side plate. He then proceeded to cup the bowl with his hands and bring it to his mouth. Finally, he drank the remainder of the soup from the bowl like a little boy finishing the leftover milk from his cereal.

Prince Charles could not help but audibly chuckle. He’d been fighting with the last little bit of his soup too. So just as my father had done, the Prince put down his spoon, picked up his bowl, and slurped down the little bit of remaining soup. Then my father chuckled too.

I silently smiled at what I’d witnessed. When I grew up, I wanted to be just like my father. He wasn’t pompous, disconnected, or affected by any advantage that he’d had as a child. And he never apologized if he didn’t want to leave the last little bit of his soup.

***

My father’s laughter meant tenderness, love, and serenity. It was a reminder that everything would turn out okay. Nothing is big or horrible enough to break you—not even abuse, homophobia, or cancer. As long as you continue to smile and laugh, you’re capable of overcoming all odds.


10 publishers interested
Blooming Twig logo Blooming Twig

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Floricanto Press logo Floricanto Press

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Agora publishing is a Canada based company, founded in 1997 with the aim of making book publishing accessible to all writers across Canada and internationally. Our main goal is to simplify the whole publishing process and help authors to avoid the so called 'publishing gatekeepers' out there so that they can easily publish their work worldwide. We bring the best ...

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We are a hybrid, Rapid Versatile Publisher with 450 published titles in Amazon, 36 of which are bestsellers in USA, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Our approach to publishing is slightly different: we are a community-driven, social group with strong knowledge of how modern publishing works, and how to succeed in the extremely competitive market of today. We are also ...

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ShieldCrest Publishing logo ShieldCrest Publishing

ShieldCrest are book publishers based in the UK who fill that vital gap for talented authors where mainstream publishers are unwilling to give them that chance. We strive for excellence and invest in our authors and are listed in FreeIndex as the number one independent publisher in the UK for price quality and service rated author satisfaction. We publish books ...

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Tasora Books specializes in helping Crowdfunded Books with Printing, Shipping, and Distribution. Tasora Books gives you the ability to publish virtually any book. With years of experience, we professionally print, warehouse, and ship your books to your crowd backers. Contact us so that we can assist you in building your publishing plan. This includes book printing quotes, timeline estimates, and ...

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  • Update #4 - BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! April 12, 2017

    If you haven’t heard the news already then get ready to do a happy dance! 

    The President's Daughter has been picked up ...


  • Update #3 - WE DID IT! March 2, 2017

    WE DID IT! We hit 500 pre-orders, and The President's Daughter was queried to traditional publishers.

    This would not have happened without your support.

    The campaign ...


  • Update #2 - Half Way There! Feb. 28, 2017

    EVERYONE: WE HAVE HIT 250 pre-orders, and The President's Daughter has been queried to 15 small publishers.

    Small publishers are highly selective. They do not charge for ...


  • Update #1 - We've hit 250! Feb. 14, 2017


    We've hit 100!
    All - We have hit 100 pre-orders for The President's Daughter, and the book proposal has been queried to 20 hybrid ...


  • Guy Vincent on Feb. 1, 2017, 12:37 a.m.

    Hi Cecilia, this sounds like an incredible story! I'm looking forward to reading it :)

  • Matt Santill on Feb. 1, 2017, 12:41 a.m.

    Cecilia is a true inspiration! I can't wait to read her story.

  • Caeden Sweet on Feb. 1, 2017, 12:44 a.m.

    So incredibly proud of you and honored to have been part of your journey! You're an amazing friend and are truly inspiring.

  • Lauren Parker on Feb. 1, 2017, 2 a.m.

    BIG LOVE <3

  • Denise Tamir on Feb. 1, 2017, 2:16 a.m.

    Mazal Tov on the book. I can't wait to read it!!! Ofer sends his love and support as well. Big hugs.

  • Michel Otayek on Feb. 1, 2017, 2:22 a.m.

    Can't wait to read it!

  • Kathleen Hines on Feb. 1, 2017, 5:34 p.m.

    Looking forward to reading the full story, Ce. I am also passing a book on to a family from Venzuela who lives near me...and liked your father as President. (Aunt) Kathleen Hines

  • Jose Santiago on Feb. 2, 2017, 3:33 a.m.

    Many blessings and I can't wait to read this!!!

  • Guillermo Salas on Feb. 6, 2017, midnight

    Congratulations

  • Kathy Tugendhat on Feb. 6, 2017, 4:09 p.m.

    Looking forward to reading your book.

  • Cota cohen on Feb. 8, 2017, 12:56 a.m.

    Recibe un fuerte abrazo, Cota and Family

  • Martha Dao on Feb. 8, 2017, 12:49 p.m.

    Cecilia, te felicito lo lograste!!! Looking forward to reading your Memoires! Un abrazo inmenso, MM

  • Teddy Speropoulos on Feb. 8, 2017, 1:12 p.m.

    Can't wait to read this book!

  • Eleanore Bednarsh on Feb. 8, 2017, 9:03 p.m.

    So proud to know you!

  • Susi Levy on Feb. 8, 2017, 11:04 p.m.

    Querida Ce, que gusto verte crecer en la Academia Washington y celebrar tus cumpleaños junto a tus Papis y verte ahora tan feliz. Que sigas cosechando éxitos! Looking forward a disfrutar tu libro ahora! Un gran abrazo y besos,
    Susi

  • Consuelo Inestrosa on Feb. 9, 2017, 6:11 a.m.

    Congratulations Cecilia!!! You are such an inspiration of strength, resilience, compassion, perseverance and fighting for what you believe in!!! So proud of you fellow Venezolana!!!

  • Tamsin Blue on Feb. 9, 2017, 4:35 p.m.

    Looking forward to reading it! Proud of you!

  • Jay Beery on Feb. 9, 2017, 5:14 p.m.

    I'm so proud of you, and so grateful to know you and Michelle.

  • Luisa Meyer on Feb. 14, 2017, 1:27 a.m.

    I'm glad to have the opportunity to read your story and support the advancement of LGBT rights. Break a leg is for theater, so I'm not sure what to say here. I wish you lots of success!

  • Joanne Rossum on Feb. 27, 2017, 2:01 p.m.

    You are a true inspiration to all of us .

  • Diego Arria on March 2, 2017, 7:58 p.m.

    felicidades ahijada

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Cecilia Perez-Matos

Cecilia Perez-Matos

Cecilia Perez-Matos is the daughter of one of the most influential presidents of South America, Carlos Andres Perez.

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