HAVANA TIMES — Spring has arrived in Cuba, bringing the rains we dearly needed to keep going. But the Cuban spring is really nothing other than the beginning of our one, eternal season on the island: the summer.
Temperatures are already reaching unbearable highs, particularly in the early afternoon. From 12 to 4 pm, there is really no place one can go to, there is nothing one can do, to avoid the stifling heat.
Here, in Cuba’s eastern end, it gets much hotter than in the rest of the country, so much so that even I was somewhat surprised when I went out for walk around the city, in search of a story or piece of news worthy of being shared with my readers.
I stood in a number of lines, not to buy anything, but to hear what people were saying, their daily complaints and same old arguments.
I sat down at a park bench to have a chat with a former workmate.
I went to the provincial museum in search of information I need for some historical research work I’m doing, but the young woman who’s been helping me with this had not gone into work that day. I headed home, unable to bear the heat any longer, feeling short of breath and my feet getting far too heavy.
While waiting for something to take me back to my neighborhood, at the outskirts of the city, I had the most pleasant surprise a poor person can have: I found a bill lying on the street – wet, dirty and crumpled.
Though there were only three people waiting at the bus stop (two youngsters, standing far from me, and I), I didn’t want to unfold the bill there, fearing the owner could come back and claim it.
I quickly put it away in my purse, without looking at the denomination. I thought it could be a 5 CUC note, maybe a 20. Oh, how I wanted for it to be a 20! How many things I’d be able to do with 20 CUCs, that is, 500 Cuban pesos.
I would soon know the amount. When I got to my neighborhood, I didn’t wait until I got home to find out, the suspense was killing me. I unfolded the note and my heart almost stopped beating. The bill read: “One thousand dollars.”
You can imagine what I felt. Never in my life had I seen so much money in one place, not in U.S. dollars or CUCs, not even in Cuban pesos.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t think much about the poor person who lost that amount. If they lost it, it’s because they had bills like it to spare, and wasn’t Cuban, because any Cuban who loses that amount of money, rest assured, will turn the city upside down looking for it, if they don’t die of a heart attack before.
If God placed that money in my hands, there must be a good reason for it.
I stopped worrying about that particular issue and began to think about how I’d put that amount of money, astronomical for me, to use. I’ll tell you what I did with my small fortune in my next post.