My Son’s Soap Opera

By Irina Pino

Actors in the soap opera.

HAVANA TIMES – Soap operas or telenovelas are addictive; people laugh and cry watching them. I believe our lives are the best soap opera. Fiction is overshadowed by reality.

To my surprise, I’ve had my son’s soap opera unfold before me. He experienced something with a girl he was seeing that has made him change some of his habits.

It all started because my son and I were using the same cellphone. He had lent his to a friend who needed it.

One morning, a message came for him, it was quite provocative, and I read it. I scrolled up, and I saw some messages that were a kind of war: my son on one side, and one of his best friends on the other.

Reading them, I discovered that they both liked Joanna (a common friend), and that Leonardo (my son) was suffering, and he even cried out of impotence and pain, when she became David’s girlfriend.

While all of this was going on, they were both on the defensive, they said terrible things, brought up old business, and there was even a date for a duel. I don’t know if it came to the extreme of fighting each other with their bodies or if they were going to use a couple of guns.

There were over 20 messages, and one of them told the story of how the three of them had met.

There was also an interesting anecdote: David had bought her a pair of sneakers as a present for her birthday.

My son’s specialty is editing videos, so he did well to give her a pair of videos as a romantic gift.

In one of my son’s messages, he mentioned his parents’ separation, which touched me. After all of this time, it still hurts him.

I never told him that I knew his secret. Sometimes, I would ask whether him and David were still friends. He would just say that they didn’t hang out together anymore.

One fine day, he introduced me to Joanna (the girl he had lent his phone to), and I found out that the young girl was leaving the country, to reunite with her father in the US.

She had been living with her mother and grandparents in Casablanca, a town located on the other side of Havana Bay. My son would have to take a really long bus in order to visit her.

The girl’s relatives, on her mother’s side, were Christians, and they would gather every Sunday at the church, to read the Bible and then they would enjoy a picnic.

He started going to these gatherings, I’m not sure whether his objective was to win over the girl’s heart or whether it was for something else. Well, he’d never leaned towards any religion before.

I wasn’t too worried, because the parables and teachings in this book help us to be better people, without being fanatical, of course.

On Saturday, he would buy bread or something sweet so he wouldn’t show up empty-handed.

On the other hand, he grew fond of her grandparents, and was always looking out for them. He even got her grandfather a medicine he needed. Maybe he’s done this as a replacement for his real grandparents who have already passed.

In one of these last episodes, Joanna went to Guyana for her interview, because as you all know the US Embassy in Cuba remains closed. Finally, she made it to the US.

A little while ago, Leonardo confessed that this girl had taken his cellphone with her, that is to say the device made both journeys.

Before I could get mad about all of this mess, he showed me the cellphone, an aunt had come over from the States and brought it back, safe and sound. That’s when I thought, what magic love works… and I’m happy having my phone back all of the time.

The young people continue to communicate on WhatsApp.

Will this soap opera have any more episodes? Nobody knows. Ah, and one more thing: my son hasn’t converted to Christianity.

Read more from Irina Pino here.

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.


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