Lights, Camera, Action!

Osmel Almaguer

Photo: Caridad

Scene 1. Take 1

The bus stop in front of the Capitolio Building. Six o’clock in the late afternoon. A mob of people rush the door of a bus bound for Alamar. I think for a second. The day’s been bad and I don’t want to make it worse by ending up squished trying to get a ride home.

Scene 1. Take 2

I suddenly decide to make a run for the door, and I nearly succeed. When I’m about to climb in, another bus pulls up. It’s empty. I immediately take off for this other one, but by the time I get there, another crowd of people as massive as the last are there in front of me. The driver forces the door shut, slamming it into the face of an old man so that he doesn’t get on. Another failed attempt.

Scene 1. Take 3

Five minutes later, another bus arrives. It’s completely empty. I confidently run the hundred yards that separate it from me. But again the same thing happens. I can’t figure where all these people came from. Sometimes it seems like if an infinite number of buses materialized, an infinite number of people would also show up trying to catch them.

Scene 2. Take 1

This time I don’t think about it so much. You’ll never know. I tell myself you have to get on this time, even if I have to dive into the shove-fest. Actually people could get on without pushing, but it seems like they enjoy it. I try to smooth things over with a few polite words. “Take it easy, if there aren’t any seats left we’ll still all fit in here standing.” But nothing works.

Scene 2. Take 2

When I’m just about to get in, two heavyset women shove me violently while spewing a series of profanities directed at me and against men in general. My legendary patience had reached its limit. This isn’t a good day to mess with me, yet and still, I step back for the two women, but they continue to keep on pushing me.

Scene 3. Take 1

I go ape shit – to the point that the women get pretty scared. They get all quiet and shuffle off to the back of the bus. I was pissed, yet I felt like I went off on them just for the hell of it. Like one morning when someone hit me from behind as I was getting off the bus, apparently too slowly for them.

I don’t know what’s being conjured up in our streets today, but I’m tired, really tired.


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.

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One thought on “Lights, Camera, Action!

  • Your descriptions bring back memories–I still have recurring nightmares of the scenes you describe– attempting to get on the P-14. Out in San Augustin you could always take one to the end of the line, then reverse directions by catching the inbound, or by just walk to the terminal at the end of the line, but at Parque Fraternidad, near the Capitolio, it was another story. In the Vedado I also remember “sprinting” a couple of blocks to the next bus stop with the hopes that a few folks would be getting off there–and I could get on. Since I am a bit tubby, the scene must have looked comical. Since the interior of these buses, especially from May through October, is like a sauna, at least I was able to loose a bit of water weight, though by the time I got to my destination I was hot and sweaty and often in a foul mood!

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