HAVANA TIMES — All throughout my life, I have heard stories about separated families, children who don’t speak to their parents or parents who don’t want to know anything about their children, neglect and other stories which are too terrible to repeat… However, my experience with my father wasn’t like this.
He always had a great deal of unconditional love for his children. And even though some of us had our rebellious moments, not understanding him, that’s not what we remember, we are just left with love for someone who put his family before anything else.
Soon, in February, it will be the second anniversary of his death, which doesn’t make me remember his last days in suffering, but my innocent childhood, when my sister and I were little girls and he would read us his book at night. The three of us would lay down in the bed and we would form a kind of circle, then, he would quietly and slowly recreate chapters which unfolded on a desert island.
Like a Cuban Jules Verne, or an experienced oral storyteller, he would take us to unknown landscapes, walking across the island or inside a cave, where castaways built a home to protect them from storms, the cold, a warm place where they could live in peace.
In analogy to his story, our peaceful place was the house in which we were born, there’s no doubt about that, where in spite of hardship, we always had something to eat and clothes on our back, we also played and fantasized like children do.
There was another foundation there: reading, two towering bookcases displaying books of all different literary genres, which called out to us to go deep into this round world which is to experience the things that writers tell.
My father wrote his own story, a whole life spent working tirelessly for his family making machines go round; never forgetting, never hiding the reality of everyday problems, loyal to his ideology of affection. Building a safe place to protect us from external aggressions.
Now that his spirit and our childhood home only float about in our memories, I can say: you didn’t work in vain. You used to put on your shoes to do the right thing and love was always your compass.