HAVANA TIMES – On Thursday November 22nd, I woke up to a phone call from my aunt who lives in Miami.
“Today, is Thanksgiving,” she told me. I thought about the group meditation that had been scheduled that afternoon in the park on G and 23rd streets in Vedado. Coincidence? Who knows.
We wanted not only a soothing action, but one of kindness. Sitting down and radiating messages of peace, even people who haven’t had any training in millennial practices of self-restriction that allow you to access extrasensory experiences. Trying to go deep within yourself and be a passive witness to the stream of thoughts in your mind.
Thinking about a Cuba free from sadness, excluisions or conflict. About a world without war, without political borders. Remembering that we all come from the same mystery and that we will all return to this same mystery, whether we are poor or rich, left or right-wing, believers or atheists.
We knew that State Security could have interrumpted the event. We decided that we would respond politely, if that were the case. That we would leave the park peacefully if they asked (or even demanded) us to.
At midday, I saw two men near my apartment building and I recognized the agent that had questioned my husband in August. It was obvious that they wouldn’t let us get to the meditation gathering, that the place would already be surrounded. I called Amaury Pacheco, Yanelys Nunez, their phones rang until it reached voicemail and the computerized voice said: “The number you have dialed is unavailable…”
I thought it was a good idea not to go. My husband thought the right thing to do would be to try and get there, even if it was a symbolic act in the end.
After lots of doubts, I decided to go with him because what would his arrest be like? And what if it was violent? How would he deal with that all alone? It isn’t easy to trust in those who unfairly and mistakingly label us the enemy.
Leaving the building, the agents weren’t there anymore. When we reached a bend in the road, a patrol car suddenly stopped in front of us and three policemen jumped out, asking us for our ID.
For me it was the first time I had ever had to hand my phone over, get in a police car, experience what happens to those accused of violating the law, but with two important differences: we hadn’t violated any law and the policemen were very nice.
While the car moved between neighbors and passers-by, I didn’t feel shame, much less guilt, but I was anxious: Enya’s sweet song that I had chosen as my ringtone on my phone (now out of reach in the front seat of the car) kept playing and playing and playing.
Somebody was worried about us. We couldn’t answer, and I wasn’t even allowed to call my son once we got to the Guanabacoa police station.
After a thorough search (my belongings were put inside a numbered bag) and the humiliating body search, we were put inside different cells.
The narrowness, ugliness, the unbreathable stink that came from the toilet and not being able to use it because you could see it from the corridor, weren’t the worse things. The constant and maddening sound of an air extractor wasn’t the worse thing (for me as I have hyperacusis).
The worse thing was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to get out of there until a political will far-removed from my own body, my conscience, my feelings, would give me my right to return back to the world. My right to walk along the street, to get on a bus, to go home and hug my son. My right to exist among objects, sounds, people who have become an extension of myself.
The best thing was the guard’s concern, who turned off the air extractor, allowed me to stay in the office, who offered to take me to the polyclinic if my asthma attack continued.
The best thing was not feeling any personal resentment for those who believe it’s their job to subject my body and soul to harmful conditions.
Understanding that our existence is so much more complex than a temporary confrontation, the false polarization of social, civil and political visions.
Feeling that all of us: myself, the other prisoners, guards, the State Security agent who came to authorize our release after five gruelling hours, were all trapped in fragile recipients of pain and uncertainty. Searching, groping for and dreaming different versions of happiness.
Reinforcing the fact that we all come from the same mystery and that we will all return to this mystery, leaving our uniforms, loyalties, hatred and this suffering bit of land that we share and call “Homeland”, behind.