December 25 1996
We slip out the church, skirting the park, keeping close to the brightly lit cathedral. Past the tourists trying to cram into the taxis. They scratch their heads. Looking about for a fast ride back to the resorts. Across the street in Cespedes Parque, the police stop the parishioners. Demanding their i.d. Eyeing them suspiciously. Asking many questions.
We duck down a quiet, pitch black, side street. Follow an alleyway. The clack of our footsteps echo along the cobblestones, off the cracked courtyard walls. Come back into the lamplight out front the Palacio Provincial, a few blocks away. Huge black y red Communista banners hanging from the pillar arches. We continue at a steady clip down the street through Delores Parque. Pass under the palm trees, past the empty benches, the statues of the revolutionary heroes, without a word, alone in the night.
Minstrels wander among the tables playing trova musica; sad romantic ballads, on their beat up Spanish guitars. Young couples cram about the tables, holding hands. Amigos knock back shots of rum. Pass around cigarettes. There’s laughter in the air. A few tourists sit at the bar. The jinetera saunter over, in their spandex tights, split skirts y heels. Soon are sitting on their laps. Whispering in their ear. They order them a beer. In a darkened corner, a old couple sway, a boozy dance, arms wrapped tight around each other.
She looks up at me, surprised, “Que? No. No. We see Jesus. There is hope!”
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