Opening Statement



Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas in Cuba 12: Trapped!?

Complete Story @ Here!


“Davido! Matilde!” It’s Miguel, “Come, we best go now. Rapido!”

We walk back home down the dark, narrow, winding streets, cautiously stepping around the pot holes, the worn streetcar tracks. Always watching -are we being followed? We pass the familiar crumbling building fronts. The arches. Pillars. Wrought iron window grates. The impossibly tall narrow wooden doors, bolted for the night. The street lights few and far between. Unreal. They cast their glare as if upon a stage, a theatre of the mind, Cuba and the night. Christmas eve? It's another world, so close to my heart. Otherwise? So very far away.

“Pssst! Buddy boy!” Mati giggles, squeezes my hand. Perhaps sensing my sudden loneliness.  My thoughts of Christmas, back in my homeland, in Canada, where snuggled in their beds everybody will soon awake, to so much more than this. Or will they? I look up at the stars shining brightly above. Feel Mati’s body pressed warmly against me. As we make our way down the street, she whispers in my ear, “ We go to our room, no?”

Miguel points to his house, a few doors away. We laugh and joke, relieved our little adventure is almost over. Or is it? He raps loudly on the door, calling Josef's name. We wait, patiently at first. Its quite late, he must be sound asleep. And the door? Its barred tightly from inside. We gaze up at the locked iron grate on the windows. Mierda! What to do? Miguel shrugs, raises his fist, pounding again and again on the heavy wooden door.

Suddenly a whistle blast. It’s the police! They pull up to the door on their bikes. Mati gulps, nervously begins to play with her hair. It must be her worst nightmare come true. So late at night. Los dos. The two of us. Ho boy!, “Darling, do you have your i.d.?”

“Mio Dios!” she whispers, “No!” God help her, she could get arrested for that alone. There’s nothing we could do, “Lean up against the wall, and please -don’t say anything!”

I move a few feet away, feel the cool stone against my back. Matilde stands at a distance in the shadows, her chest rising and falling, nervously tapping her fingers against the wall. We watch as Miguel turns to the police with a friendly wave, explaining Josef must be asleep. Reaching into his pocket he pulls out his cigarette pack and identification, offering them a smoke.



Down the block, on the steps, a group of hombres sit, passing around a cigarette, a bottle of rum. The pounding beat of Afrocuban drums rumbling out the bright doorway, into the night. They catch the policemen’s eyes. Wave. The police nod, handing back Miguel his i.d. The guys in the neighbourhood, the last night of the bembe fiesta, perhaps the police will just let us all be?


They watch in silence. One of them yawns. Miguel again pounds on the door, hollers for Josef, laughing, exchanging a joke with them in Spanish. Oh please Josef! Wake up! 

I can see Miguel sigh with relief. The wooden door shakes, light spills out, Josef peers through the crack; “Que pasa?”

Looking about, he sees Mati and me, crooks his finger. Quickly we step past the police and inside the door. Josef rolls his eyes, apologetically clapping his hands to his head. Stepping outside to talk to the police, he closes the door behind him.

Safe in our room again Matilde and I wait. Miguel, knocks, wishes us good night. “Don’t worry.” he winks, ”It’s okay.”

To be continued ......



The Series ......

Part 1 @  Here! Part 2 @ Here!  Part 3 @ Here! Part 4 @ Here! Part 5 @ Here! Part 6 @ Here! Part 7 @ Here! Part 8 Here! Part 9 @ Here! Part 10 @ Here! Part 11 @ Here! Part 12 @ Here! Post Script @ Here!

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