Opening Statement



Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas in Cuba 11: Cuba y La Noche 2!

Complete Story @ Here!

*La luz luce en las tinieblas, y las tinieblas no la sofocaron.*


*The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.*


                                                                                      (Juan 1:5)


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.


Hurriedly, we make our way to the corner; the Casagrande Hotel. The maitre’d stands on the steps out front, blocking our way, “No no! Not tonight! We are closing early. Go home. Please!”

He nervously shuffles his feet, stares at the park from the open terrace. Behind him the waiters put up the chairs. Turn off the Christmas tree lights. Anxiously, Miguel gazes at the paddy wagons parked along our route back home, “Come. It is not safe. I know where we can go.”



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.

Miguel points to a lit doorway -an all night local haunt. Finds an empty table y chairs in the courtyard, under a towering palm, where between the ferns, obscured from view, we can watch the street. Matilde y I sit back while he goes to check out what to do. We sigh with relief. Its pleasant, cool for Cuba, not unlike a Canadian summer 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.

Mati and I decide to order drinks. I sip my Tropicola, she her glass of wine, a late night, early morning Christmas drink. “So, Querida. I’m so sorry. We should’ve stayed at Josef's house tonight.”



She looks up at me, surprised, “Que? No. No. We see Jesus. There is hope!”


I pause. Mid drink. Pondering her words. Puzzled by her seeming innocence. “But darling, there is much trouble now.”

“Si? What did the prayer say? Deliver us from evil?”, she nods to herself, ”He will protect us.”

“Well. The Communistas say follow us too. Everything will be okay. Is this not the same thing?”

She smiles, puts down her drink, wagging her finger at me, “You think too much, I feel.”

"Ques/Eh?!?”

“Listen. You have a spirit, no? It is love. It can make the impossible come true. Otherwise? Nada. Nothing.", reaching over, she takes my hand, “Our life, it has no meaning.”

I gaze into Mati’s eyes. Amazed. At a loss for words. Such simple truths: love -a reason to believe? The reason for living? Whew!  Yeah, I guess she’s right. I think too much -often miss the obvious. Mati? She just feels it in her heart. Leaning over she kisses me on the cheek, winks, “Don’t worry, we will find a way.”

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!

1 comment:

David Chiarelli said...

Hello Readers!

I was surprised as anybody about President Obama's timely announcement that the US is going to normalize relations with Cuba! I've added some observations in this month's Teacher December News + Views blog. Will have much more to say in the days, weeks, months ahead. Quite frankly, we've heard this before. But another shot at it's well overdue. The embargo clearly failed. A long, long time ago.

The Cuban government has a modern politboro with it's own right [old guard communista] and left [reform] dicotomy involved in a constant balancing act. I think this is what we see here in 1996. Indeed, Pope John Paul would visit Cuba, and the cathedral in Santiago 2 years later. A historic rapproachment would occur.

I've often wondered if that had something to do with what was happening behind the scenes here? Think of Raphael's Comments in Christmas In Cuba 2. It's okay to go to church. But then it isn't? Cuba is an enigma, that I don't think even the Cuban's have ever been able to figure out.

More later ......

Anyway, we are just about done our story! Christmas is just a few days away. Always a very slow time around my blogsite.

Here's what I plan to do with Christmas in Cuba: I am going to repost it in 3 chapters for Christmas Day. It should be easier to read and make more sense that way. Leave all these little segments up too. They are all ready here. Interesting little meme's I think. Hopefully create a buzz someday for the story.

For those of you who don't come here for my Cuba themes; worry not! There will be lots more of everything else coming in the year ahead. My blogsite overhaul is just about ready to launch. Maybe not all at once, but I am aiming for the new year. I'll post some more notes on this later.

Hope you are enjoying the story!

Pax!

David C.

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