When one says goodbye to a friend, a farewell gets stuck in one’s throat
Words become frozen, one wants to have said them already
Tears that remain unshed, that refuse to accept he is gone
HAVANA TIMES — The lines above are part of the lyrics of a song entitled “The Friend’s Return” (“El regreso del amigo”), written by Cuban songwriter and singer Raul Torres in remembrance of Comandante Hugo Chavez.
It is a sad song that gets to me. But, even though the lyrics clearly evoke the figure of the former leader of Venezuela, the way he shared his country’s riches with sister nations and his struggle for Latin America, it is not Chavez that this song brings to mind when I hear it.
The song – the melody more than the lyrics – makes me think of a 17-year-old kid who also died of cancer, who was his father’s best and only friend.
His father is a very close friend of mine, someone I have shared many stories and songs with over the years. He is the kind of friend that has a special place in one’s hearts, whom one always remembers fondly, no matter how far they are or the years that have gone by.
Well, my friend’s friend departed suddenly and left an immense void in my friend’s heart.
I won’t share with you the pain, the anger, the despair felt by my friend, nor tell you about the many times this father turned his eyes to heaven and asked: Why? Why my son and not me? Why?
Years went by, and my friend managed to overcome that tragedy. Many a time, I asked myself how he had managed this, how he had managed to continue living without his beloved friend.
I listen to the song again and find the answer: my friend was able to move on because, like the poet, he believes his son hasn’t left, that he has merely gone to mass and will return shortly.