A Cuban Woman Lost in Havana

Photo by Juan Suarez

By Paula Henriquez

HAVANA TIMES – Often I feel lost. Yes… lost. While becoming aware of how I’m feeling, I can’t help but think about the definition of this word: Lost is a concept that comes from lose. This verb can mean not finding something you had; not getting what you expected to; to waste or squander something; or to irreparably damage an object.” Another definition reads: “something without a path or going somewhere.” Joined with certain adjectives, it can be used to increase and strengthen these meanings. The last definition is the one that is closer to how I’m feeling.

When I say I feel lost, I’m not talking in the geographical sense. I don’t lose myself easily in this respect because, as the age-old saying goes, all roads lead to Rome. I feel lost because I can’t see a clear path ahead, I can’t even see the light of a candle at the end of a long and dark tunnel, the longest and darkest tunnel you can imagine.

I feel lost because I don’t know what my goals are, but not because I lack determination or am clueless about what I want. I do know what I want, what I want for my family, for my loved ones. My goals aren’t clear because uncertainty is constantly creeping up on me, because no matter how much you try to change this mood, it persists and ends up winning the battle. It hasn’t won the war yet; the war won’t end while there is still life in me and as there is life there are still many battles yet to fight.

Every day that passes by, I convince myself more and more that the only option is to leave. But, how do you leave everyone? How do you start from scratch? How do you get the means to leave? Yup, because it’s not just a question of just deciding to leave, you also must figure out how to do this.

Many people think leaving is just getting up and going, many people say that those of us who haven’t done it lack determination. But it isn’t so easy to do as it is to say or think. If you want to leave, you must have some things that aren’t within everyone’s reach. If you have them, then the rest comes. Leaving everything and everyone you know might seem like the most immediate solution for those who are lost, like I am.

The thing that scares me the most is my daughter losing herself. I don’t want that to happen to her. She still hasn’t realized how easy it is to become lost. I don’t let her. It’s really tough feeling lost. She dreams in color, of rainbows and unicorns, and I prefer this world of fantasy she lives in still, even though she’s growing up, even though the reality of things is becoming clearer and clearer to children her age.

I tell myself that I have to hold onto faith and hope. By some stroke of good luck or divine intention (or both at the same time), I still have them. That’s very important to keep on going, to carry on wandering in the darkness of this long tunnel.

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Paula Henriquez

Paula Henriquez: Since childhood I have been told I should be careful what I say in public. "Think before you speak, especially in front of others," my mother would say, and it was more of a plea than a scolding. Even today I hear her and I obey her, just that I do not speak, I write. Letters and words are my escape, my exit and daily catharsis, which printed on paper, revive me. And this picture is my refuge.

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