Matilde and I step outside the house into the pitch black night. Cuba y la noche. Its just before midnight. The long narrow street is silent, for most Cubans tomorrow is just another workday. We stand under the dull street lamp waiting for Miguel. Mati is resplendent in her flowery cotton dress, and white pumps. Her hair pulled back into a bushy pony tail. The usual assortment of bangles; a ring for every finger, the bracelets. I chuckle. Very Cubana -except for the rosary around her neck. “Mati, that’s to hold and pray."
“Ahhh. Here you are!”, Miguel greets us from the doorway. “My mother and father say to be careful. Nowadays many desperate banditos prowl the streets at night!"
“Si.” He smiles. Thoughtfully he takes a drag on his smoke, tossing the burnt match in the gutter, “We all are."
Silently we walk down Calle San Basilio. Each of us alone with our thoughts. I peer at the darkened lane ways. Mindful not to say much, draw any attention. Mati quietly takes my hand. Together we navigate the cobblestones, careful not to trip on the forgotten old weathered streetcar tracks, now long fallen into disuse. Passing the rows of crumbling Spanish houses, the stars above peaking out between the ornate stone roof gilding. Past the huge wooden doorways. The shuttered windows. The rusted wrought iron grates. The high doorway portals. The cracked masonry and weathered walls. A sleeping city in ruins.
Happy party sounds spill out from the corner terrace of the Casagrande Hotel. From down a side street beside the church a mad salsa beat pours out from a courtyard discotheque. Before us looms the municipal government building blanketed in the dark.
Look! Police lean against its flat forbidding front. Watching the park where more wait, in silence, huddled, resting on the park benches under the palm trees and ferns. Eyeing the churchgoers streaming into the cathedral. The peel of church bells ring from the twin ornate steeple towers.
It’s midnight! I gaze up at the lone crosses atop the copper coloured, cone shaped cathedral tower roofs.  In between, a stone angel, weathered, horn in hand, looks out to the park. Heralding the days of future past? Or a new beginning? Pointing at the sky above, I gasp in surprise, “Look Mati, a shooting star!"
To be continued......
 Poemas de Jose Marti: Dos Patrias 1:1
 Rapprochement between the Cuban government and the Roman Catholic Church occurred 2 years later during January 1998 with Pope John Paul 2's trip to Cuba. He visited Santiago de Cuba. Workers were given time off work to attend the papal events. See @ Report
 "Santiago de Cuba: Faded Glory, Lost in Time" @ Blog
 A current Google Map and photo panorama with stills is @ Here!
 Catedral de Senora de la Asuncion/ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption
SERIES: Part 1 @ Here! Part 2 @ Here! Part 3 @ Here! Part 4 @ Here! Part 5 @ Here! Part 6 @ Here! Part 7 @ Here! Part 8