A Mission in Havana


Cojimar, Havana

There was a wedding next door to our house. After a long and tortuous battle waged against the malicious family members and neighbors by the now bride and groom, they were able to realize their most divine objective in life: getting dressed up in white and live together under the same roof.

In the apartment above ours a judge is in charge of delivering what she (and some people) calls justice. I sometimes hear her with her hysterical screams that seek to make others see how mistaken they are in their miserable lives.

My neighbor, who sometimes goes fishing, has decided to save the world by riding in a submarine while carry out authentic stunts and struggling against the universal master of evil. On the top floor, the ideal peace has been found by a community among which everyone respects each other’s ways of assuming their sexuality.

Selena, who lives in the building beside us, was moved by the presence of some very well-disciplined and intelligent children who obeyed everything they were told by their parents and their family. And on top of that the kids had supernatural powers.

That is the private world of my neighbors. They have stopped being themselves — if at some time they ever were — to enter the lives of characters who they have in front of them, those who appear on TV or on some DVD that they might buy or who pass by hand in hand.

So those who were getting married today will be in a submarine or struggling against an invisible power tomorrow. And those who were moved by the special kids because of their superpowers, by nighttime they’ll have no other alternative than to hit those who they have at home.

This is what happens to Selena, the girl from the building next door. A couple of hours ago she was singing karaoke that they had in the wedding of the young couple who spent many years struggling against society (and even against nature) to be able to get dressed in white.

Selena was at that wedding and, for the first time in her life, she felt completely happy. For several minutes she had a microphone in her hand and she was able to sing for everyone in the neighborhood.

She always sings for the whole neighborhood, but normally without a microphone and from the bedroom of her apartment. This time the music was amplified and there was a beautiful couple dressed in white. Everyone felt the romance in the air, so it didn’t bother them too much how Selena was singing out of tune.

They even applauded.

But a couple of hours later everything had finished. There was no more music. Nor were there newlyweds to make us think that it was indeed possible to end up being happy someday.

The submarine had completed its mission leaving the fisherman as much a fisherman as always; the judge had finished humiliating those who she found before her and she’ll return tomorrow to her work to hear the orders of a despotic boss.

The perfect community expelled the person who lived on the top floor and who never dared to say good morning to anybody.

Selena is finding that no matter how much she attempts it, she won’t be a beautiful singer, but
her daughter will continue insisting on being spoiled, rebellious and unbearable – nothing having to do with superpowers at the moment.

But everyone is sure that tomorrow, when they return from their jobs, or whatever it is they do to eat, a new mission will be waiting for them, a new handsome guy will be willing to do anything to make them happy, a naïve young woman will be showing herself as docile and erotic for the approval of all; and they will feel like judges: powerful, invincible and even euphoric…


Caridad: If I had the chance to choose what my next life would be like, I’d like to be water. If I had the chance to eliminate a worst aspect of the world I would erase fear. Of all the human feelings I most like I prefer friendship. I was born in the year of the first Congress of the Cuban Communist Party, the day that Gay Pride is celebrated around the world. I no longer live on the east side of Havana; I’m trying to make a go of it in Caracas, and I continue to defend my right to do what I want and not what society expects of me.

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