HAVANA TIMES – What will I tell you this time, something you don’t already know? Well, I’ll say the obvious.
It’s July everywhere, wherever you go. The fan already sounds strange because it’s been on non-stop for so many hours, and I spray some water on my plant that is hanging in the coolest corner of my living room because I can hear its leaves drying off. It’s so hot that you don’t want to do anything, much less go outside. But you have to work, inevitably, even if your wages aren’t enough to get by.
What are 3000 or 5000 pesos the State pays in wages? What are the 12,000 or 15,000 you earn sweating and breaking your back for a private business? How fast do the remittances your family send you run out? At the end of the month… what did you do? Other than eat and treat yourself once or twice?
And as for me… well, what can I tell you?
This isn’t the season for complaining.
It’s July, the summer is unbearable in Cuba, and your economic situation probably won’t change for now, whatever your guru or the stars are telling you. So, relax. Yes, my dear reader, you, and I’ll also tell myself again so I don’t forget and finally roll up my sleeves. Our children are on vacation. Or our nephews and nieces. Or us even. Vacation, a time out, a break…
Many years ago, I used to drive a bicitaxi. It’s the normal story of a father of three children who does whatever he needs to feed his family, nothing heroic. We did eat, but we didn’t have enough money to take them to Todo En Uno in Varadero with its colorful attractions and rides. There was a river nearby and we’d go there to fish and to swim, even though the riverbed wasn’t sandy but mud; we’d play fight on the grass, the two boys against me, and I was super slim because I’d been pedaling so much under the July and August sun. It was also a time of blackouts, heat and mosquitoes. But this didn’t hold any significant place in the children’s, now men’s, memories. I’m sure of that.
They remember getting each other wet in the backyard with a hose, learning to dive into water, the tiny swimming pool where the three of them barely fit, the ball in the eye, the bike and skates they’d ride through the neighborhood, when things got better and we could buy them. The two dogs we had that formed a part of their teenage years.
It’s the season to play dominoes, or chess or Super Mario on the computer, if it still exists. To watch a movie, go to the theater, read books… Play with a ball, spin spinning tops, sit in a new park. It’s time to be with your family, to talk about things you’ve been putting off, to be happy, to make memories.
They’ll eventually know what it is to work and not have enough money. Or worse yet, maybe they won’t be here anymore, maybe they will emigrate, but these beautiful times they spent with their family will go with them everywhere. You don’t have to have money in your pocket or a car parked in the garage to show them you love them. Tickle your children, hug and kiss them for as long as they let you, because they soon grow up. Take lots of photos too, even if you don’t upload them to Facebook. One day, in the future, they’ll sit to look at them with your grandchildren.