Irina Pino

Part of living room of my apartment.

HAVANA TIMES — My brother has moved into my apartment. Differences with his partner led to a breakup, and he asked to stay at my place temporarily.

This happened several months ago. At first, I thought he would work it out, renting out a place or finding a friend’s to stay at. But he’s still here, and will be so indefinitely, it seems.

Even though we’ve always had our differences, I’ve managed to put up with him, having as much contact with him as is absolutely necessary. Ultimately, however, I’ve ended up cooking for one more person; cleaning a home that’s now twice as dirty and, of course, I feel tired and want him to leave.

My mother says he is also her son, and this places me in an uncomfortable situation. If I ask him to leave, it could upset her.

When the home we were born in was demolished, the ensuing circumstances didn’t really affect him, because he was living with his wife at the time. Now the problem is worse, as the State hasn’t given us a temporary home to stay in, as tends to happen in cases like ours. Letters have been sent and received, and the bureaucrats continue to say the same thing: we have to wait. It’s been three years of patient waiting, and my brother still has nowhere to go. In the midst of all this, my habits are changing.

The curious thing is that scenarios we had put behind us and forgotten are reemerging, leaving me a bit worried. My mother, who used to cook for my brother and even wash his clothes, has begun doing it again, as she did before he got married. It hurts to see an old woman play the role of a loving servant for her 56-year-old son.

I ask myself: why is my brother still under my mother’s skirt?

I’ve spoken with her and she won’t listen to reason. The answer has to do with the upbringing parents gave their children, the fact people aren’t taught to be independent from an early age. This mistake, if not rectified, causes much damage to one’s personality later in life, creating individuals who are unable to maintain themselves materially and spiritually.


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.

6 thoughts on “Daily Scenes in My Havana Home

  • You are becoming a substitute of the Cuban state for your brother. Your story shows how crippling deoendency can be.

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