December 25, 1996
A straw collection plate passes by, from hand to hand. The Cubans humbly toss in their crumpled pesos, their meagre centavos. A few dollars too. I look about. Yes, there’s other extranjeros/ foreigners from the resorts outside of town. Must’ve come in on their own. I didn’t see any tour buses outside. Doubt the cathedral is where the party is at. Christmas? The resorts will lay out quite the spread. But what's happening in town tonight?
The policemen argue at the back of the church. Echoes of confusion. My mind's awash. Que pasa? Que? Nada?!? Nothing??? We are not expected here tonight.
Somewhere, from far in the back, the tiny cry of a baby echoes through the church. The padre, hands raised in supplication, pauses for a moment. Smiles. Hushed silence. Que pasa/ What's happening?
The little Cuban girls cover their mouths. Giggle. The women exchange glances. Smile too. They know! It's a very profoundly simple, heartfelt truth.
“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”
I can hear the rustle of the policemen shuffling their feet.
SERIES: Part 1 @ Here! Part 2 @ Here! Part 3 @ Here! Part 4 @ Here! Part 5 @ Here! Part 6 @ Here! Part 7 @ Here! Part 8