Shakira on the Balcony

Jorge Milanes Despaigne

Alamar housing projects. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES — Some people wondered: Where does “Shakira on the balcony” gets his money to keep changing his hair color and buying makeup, clothes and expensive perfume?

We figured that his budget depended on the money his father supposedly sent from abroad, or perhaps from the shows like the ones he occasionally put on from the balcony, or simply “nocturnal pursuits” in Havana.

From my house I’ve seen him dancing in neatly trimmed jean shorts, but I’ve also seen him cut across the rooftop when his aunt leaves the door unlocked (every day at the same time she goes out for a few minutes to help her grandmother take her pills).

I’ve watched him cross the street, jump over the fence and go into his aunt’s house through the back door. Once in, he would apparently rummage around and find the only money this woman has to survive on and to take care of her grandmother.

In the little time remaining, he would then reverse the operation; that is, he’d go out the rear door, jump back over the fence and cross the roof back onto the balcony, where he’d continue his dancing as if nothing had ever happened.

Yesterday I heard some commotion breaking out in the rear of the aunt’s place. “Let go of me, damn it,” shouted Shakira, who then ran into the street as the uproar grew to become larger than life.

“I didn’t take anything,” he turned and yelled back. He gave the impression he was being murdered, and indeed, the aunt had grabbed him by the throat, demanding that he return the money she’d taken from her room.

“You son of a bitch; this isn’t the first time you’ve robbed me. You’ve done it before but I didn’t have any evidence to pin on you,” roared the infuriated woman.