By Safie M. Gonzalez
HAVANA TIMES – In a town in the Pinar del Rio province, there’s a young 18-year-old girl; whose real name I won’t disclose here for obvious reasons, but I’d like to call her Andrea. Andrea is 18 years old, she’ll be 19 soon, and this teenager’s life has been pretty complicated ever since she was born.
Her parents didn’t want her to be born, for starters. It must be because it wasn’t the right time, as it happens a lot of the time, but she still came into this world. According to what this young woman has told me – who I met quite recently, thanks to us sharing a passion for Literature and writing -, she’s wanted to die ever since she was a little girl. She regularly visualizes her death and has tried to end her “miserable life”, as she herself says, on more than one occasion.
She has had psychological care, which has helped, but according to her, her parents’ desire to have a child (a daughter in this case) hasn’t really changed. The pandemic came and Andrea, who was studying for her high school degree, was locked up at home like every other student; and some unpleasant situations led her to live out on the street.
It might seem incredible, but this girl has a natural talent; she writes poetry, stories, writes songs. She’s managed to survive on the street, thanks to the latter. There were other teenagers with her, who felt like outcasts in society and their families. She tells me that she used to sleep at the train station, where she would go days without eating anything, and it was only thanks to her selling her lyrics that she was able to eat something.
When I heard this story, in her own words, I was overcome by sadness, hurt. I wondered where her parents were, and the parents of all these other kids roaming the streets aimlessly. Where were the Social Workers? Or the people who advocate for children’s rights and safety? And people out on the street? Isn’t anyone moved by the sight of a young woman sleeping on a bench in a train station?
Andrea went home, she continues to go to therapy and after passing her university entrance exams and beginning to study a degree, her physical health stopped her from continuing. Sometimes, she tells me she’s tired, that it’s hard for her to go on, that her life has no meaning, that she lacks love, affection, and all of these emotions we need to live. I’m scared for her, because she might be successful doing what she’s tried to do in the past.
This isn’t a fictional story, or one of those soap operas you see on Televisa, it’s real life. A story that should make many of us reflect.