Carlitos’ Brief Time on this Earth

Irina Pino

The shopping center in the area where Carlitos lived and worked helping people with small chores.  Photo:

HAVANA TIMES – Carlitos, the “Box Loader”, has passed away. A neighbor told me the news. It left me stunned. After a highly emotional silence, these words erupted from me:

But, what happened? He was young, only 40-something years old, active, full of energy.

He was taken to the hospital yesterday with a pulmonary embolism and they couldn’t take it out.

How unfair, bad people don’t die! God calls the poor in spirit first…

He worked all day long. He was always coming and going, taking boxes and bags of garbage out of the La Puntilla shopping center, before 8 AM.

Always on the move, locals in my neighborhood knew they could count on him for whatever they needed and he never refused to do work for a small sum. Even though he never asked for anything in exchange, people gave him money.

He had an enviable optimism. He seemed to be OK with his lifestyle.

He wasn’t physically attractive, we never knew of him having any romantic relationships. He lived with his relatives and his night-time entertainment involved going to talk with the guys who look after parking lots about everyday things. He would take a shower and go and talk to them for a couple of hours.

He was defined by his simplicity. I never heard him speak about his private life either.

Maybe he was leading a double life, or he might have had a mystery to reveal…, now we’ll never know.

A short life, without a tree, child or book. What Jose Marti would call a full life. He has gone through life without achieving these wonders that leave a mark, a fragment of history. It’s sad. He never traveled; he never did anything extraordinary.

We have to accept it; the man has now left his body. Maybe his spirit will take on another form of existence and continue to be useful because he always did things for his friends and acquaintances.

His existence on this Earth was to serve everyone else.

Irina Pino

Irina Pino: I was born in the middle of shortages in those sixties that marked so many patterns in the world. Although I currently live in Miramar, I miss the city center with its cinemas and theaters, and the bohemian atmosphere of Old Havana, where I often go. Writing is the essential thing in my life, be it poetry, fiction or articles, a communion of ideas that identifies me. With my family and my friends, I get my share of happiness.

2 thoughts on “Carlitos’ Brief Time on this Earth

  • May 22, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Having just seen the movie, “Five People You meet in Heaven,” I’m struck by the resemblances between Carlitos and Eddie in a spiritual way… “the human spirit knows deep down, that all lives intersect… all lives and experiences are interconnected in some way, and even the little things you do can affect other peoples’ lives and experiences dramatically.”

    This is a beautifully written homage to a humble man whose purpose is not yet known on earth.

  • May 20, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Beautifully written Irina. Serving others is so rarely seen and sorely needed in our world. You saw the light shining from him and feel the impact of his early departure. Sharing this experience with your readers serves us.

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