María Matienzo Puerto
The art of writing occasionally allows me to be whatever I want. At the moment, for example, I am transforming into a housewife with two children, a kitchen to attend to and a lot of clothes that need washing, but who, despite all that, has found an opportunity to read a good romance, detective or terror novel that was recommended by her best friend, who does have time to go to book exhibitions and presentations.
I live in the “Cerro” municipality of Havana, near the National Library, so when I have some time I’ll go and sign up as a user. Everything depends on the kids. Yesterday would have been a good day, but my youngest woke up with a cough.
It’s 2 pm. Well, it seems that I can go. As soon as they wake up I’ll dress them and we’ll all three go. They will enjoy an outing too.
I already washed the underclothes and socks that had accumulated and I planned the evening meal: yellow rice with chunks of meat leftover from yesterday, some fried sweet plantains and a lettuce and avocado salad.
This idea of going to the library is good. This way I do not have to depend on anyone to entertain me in the evenings or be tied to television, which is worse than hell. I hope I have everything I need: two photos and my identity card.
They’re waking. “I’m coming! Let’s get up. What beautiful children! Yes, now a snack and then let’s go for a walk with Mom.”
I look like a crazy person crossing the street, but finally I am here. This building is huge and the kids ask me if they are going to the doctor. “Of course not, baby. This is the National Library.”
As I enter I feel the gaze of the receptionist. It seems that I am dressed improperly, but imagine these kids do not give me much time.
“Good day, comrade. I would like to get a card to request books on loan. They told me that I only had to bring two photographs and my identity card.”
Looks like I’ve been tricked, because the receptionist told me that if I don’t have a letter from my workplace and a photocopy of my degree, I cannot access the library’s books, and that for me there are the Minerva Clubs in the municipal libraries.
No matter how hard I try to explain that I do not work, that I do not have a degree of any kind, that the only library nearby is this one, the receptionist does not understand. She tells me that the rules are the rules. She is “very sorry” but she cannot help me.
I understand. She has no decision making power. So what am I to do? It seems that I must remain buried in diapers and meals until these kids get a little older and go to school, so I can get out of the house more.