Osmel Almaguer

Yesterday — during the half hour I had free between my machine in a cybercafé and a meeting set up with a friend — I used it to go sit on the malecon seawall.

Photo: Ana Maria Gonzalez

Ok, sure it sounds like a contradiction, since normally people spend their free time in other ways, doing things to get ahead in life, or to at least do something amusing.

What happens is that sometimes it’s necessary to clear out the neurons, to take a breath, and if this comes from the sea, all the better.

The sound of the waves and the intense scent of salt air serve to distance me for a moment. They remove me from the crowded urban landscape – despite the three o’clock sun, the tourists, the vendors, the policemen, the hustlers of various types or even the women and men holding hands.

On my left, on the other side of my field of vision, the picture was different. The only things that appeared to have life were some crabs, who seemed comfortable, despite their difficult conditions.

A little further above them was me, lying on the seawall while cars crowded with foreigners passed by from time to time on my side.

They (the tourists) were observing this seascape and the people. I’m sure they must have also looked at me, and perhaps they felt a little sorry, given everything bad that’s said about Cubans and that we ourselves have helped spread.

Sometimes we tend to mourn too much over our misery but do nothing to improve it, not like crabs, which live their lives with nobody knowing how they feel.

At that moment I felt sorry for us, but not for everything bad that’s been said, but for the good. At the end of the day, neither reflects the reality of what we are.

I also felt a little patronized by our guests, who faced with so many rumors don’t know how to interpret our life on this island, and therefore are left looking pretty silly, like me, when I look at the crabs withstanding the waves.


osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

One thought on “Conversation with a Crab

  • Perhaps amogst these crabs was Spongebob Squarepants’s friend, Eugene H. Krabs, a.k.a. “Mr. Krabs,” owner of the “Krusty Crab Cafe,” home of the famous “Krabby Patty” who was discussing, with his business partners, the opening of a branch of his famous restaurant in Habana. They were discussing how to approach the bureaucrats at the local bank for one of those small business loans (the subject of another article in today’s Havana Times)!

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