By Rosa Martinez

Photo: Diego Santana

HAVANA TIMES – A friend who lives outside of Cuba, with whom I communicate every day, believes that I am increasingly pessimistic. She said that we are living the first days of 2020 and instead of being grateful for everything I accomplished the previous year, instead of being happy for having all my family with good health, and united, I am thinking about what I don’t have. I am bitter for all the truncated plans and dreams.

I think Mari is absolutely right, and I tell her so. I thank her for always being there, for her daily support, for listening to all my laments, and for her valuable help.

We finish our morning conversation and I feel more vibrant. I look out the window and I see the first rays of a radiant sun. The sunrays warm my face. It must be a blessing to have such a beautiful sun this time of year.

In this very moment my friend is very cold. She won’t see the sun for a week or even a month or two. We Caribbean people should feel blessed for not having to survive without the sun except for rainy days. The ultraviolet rays stimulate the production of serotonin and endorphins, two substances that are considered as antidepressants and relaxants, which are essential to activate our organisms. Maybe that’s the reason why Mary is often sad and overwhelmed.

I leave the window and go to the kitchen. I take another drink of coffee. This vice is going to kill me, I think, but it will be the most pleasant death of all.

The morning is just beginning. Most people in the neighborhood are still resting. They are recovering from the busy days of the end of the year. You can only hear the song of a rooster, the barking of a dog … I feel an unusual tranquility that allows me to breathe peacefully and taste my coffee calmly.

I open the door of my girls’ room. In the middle of the light that penetrates I see them curled up, one trying to catch the heat of the other. As soon as they wake up they will start fighting for one reason or another. But they love each other and that is obvious in their looks, in their actions; their daily discussions are part of that experience of sisterhood. They should enjoy every day, because very soon they will each take their own path, only God knows where.

How could I not be happy if I have them? How could I not rejoice with every morning hug or every cry for help, or every shared school assignment?

Now I think of my brothers, of my parents … I must feel very fortunate because we are all here, in the same place. It is very easy to run into them and they into me. Is it good or bad luck that we are all still here? My heart says: well, of course it’s good. What could be better than the hug of your beloved brothers. But my mind says: we are all in the same boat; nobody managed to reach another port.

I continue my slow tour through the house I have built with so much sacrifice. Only those who have gone through the same experience can imagine how much sweat and tears it has cost to have these walls. There is a lot of pain and agony in every brick, in every beam, in every space that has now been painted. There is also much joy.

Little by little I come across the few improvements we could make this year. In 2020 we shall continue, I am sure. I’m sure, because we have no choice: either we fix things or the house falls. Hahahaha, I can laugh with myself. I think my laugh it’s a good sign.

In the middle of my living room I see the artificial flowers that my brothers gave me last Mother’s Day. They forgot that of the plastic variety I only like sunflowers. But it doesn’t matter, the flowers are varied and give some color to my little room that has no decorations at all, not even a picture of my daughters.

I think I shouldn’t complain. 2019 was not so bad after all. I was able to complete a few projects that improved our lives, made it more comfortable. One detail here, another there.

Yes, it seems that there were several good things. I try to encourage myself, but my mind betrays me. It reacts by saying “for how worked you hard, this isn’t much”, although for this country maybe it is.

The country I live in. The country I live in. That sentence is repeated in my head like the rhyme of a horrible song that you want to forget but unfortunately you cannot let go. I feel that my body begins to experience the same strange sensations of the last days. An anxiety overwhelms me, a terrible pain squeezes my chest. Again, I want to scream, to run, to disappear. At least now I know what makes me so sad….


Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

2 thoughts on “Many Reasons to Laugh, Only One to Cry

  • Bob, those are the sweatest words I have heard referring to one of my posts. Thank you for your kindness. If I touched your heart I am really satisfied.. Thanks. Receive a hug from gtmo.

  • So beautifully put you brought me to tears. You are a good writer with a big hart.
    Thank you for your words.
    Bob

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