A Neighbor of Enviable Character

Rosa Martinez 

HAVANA TIMES — I have a neighbor who I like a lot and of whom I occasionally feel a little envious.

I know that envy is a harmful feeling for human beings and that when someone is envious they suffer due to the accomplishments of another person. They want everything that the other person has, without thinking about the good they already have in their own personal life.

In this case though, perhaps it isn’t so bad. Maybe all of you will take my side, but perhaps you’ll criticize me – but in any case, I’ll tell you about this instance.

Tata has a fairly full life, but I don’t feel envy for the dollars she receives from time to time or with those with which she has been able to reach a higher standard of living. She has bought home appliances that I’ll never be able to dream of owning.

In some way I have the things I need most in order to live: an old laptop that a foreign friend gave me and that helps me to recount my happy times and my sad ones; a television that does a good job entertaining my little girls; a refrigerator that conserves the little food that our wages allow us to buy; and a Russian washing machine – my best friend, because I couldn’t imagine life without it.

My neighbor is a beautiful woman, with honey colored eyes and red straight hair. She has a slender thin figure, one of those that women all over the world now want to imitate, including Cubans. But that doesn’t make me envious of her either.

With my black eyes and my long curly hair, even with my few extra pounds, I’ve had my loves. Up to now things haven’t gone bad for me, though I imagine that as the years go by my luck will change a little. But I’m sure the same thing will happen with Tata.

Old age forgives neither the pretty nor those who aren’t so pretty – it affects us all (though maybe it will treat me better thanks to my brown complexion).

But nor do I feel envy over the fact that she’s a doctor in pedagogic sciences. After all, I’m a professional just the same as her, and I’ve done well in my professional life and in what’s most important. I feel very satisfied with the knowledge that I acquired over my long period of study at the university, in my profession and in life in general.

My neighbor has a sweet and gentle personality. She’s one of those people who never lose their composure; she’s always calm, no matter how difficult the situation might be.

According to her, there are only two things that one can do when they have problems: either we can resolve them or we can’t. But in neither of the cases should we give up hope. Still, I have to tell you, I don’t know how she’s always been able to succeed at that.

She smiles when I’m pulling out my hair; she converses softly when I would scream; she sits there peacefully when I would be crying, like when her son got so sick. That’s what makes me envy her.


One thought on “A Neighbor of Enviable Character

  • Hello from NYC! That’s an interesting written portrait. Thank you for the details regarding how people in Cuba deal with the blockade and embargo.

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