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