My Soap Opera

Rosa Martinez

Havana photo by Ihosvanny

HAVANA TIMES, Oct. 19 — A few days ago several of my neighbors got together at my house to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We’d already sung happy birthday and served cake and an improvised cold salad when Manuel, one of the guests, told me: “The Brazilian novel’s starting.  Please, why don’t we take off the music and watch it?”

We’re not regular viewers of that program at home, but I couldn’t slight those who with such affection had come to accompany us in the celebration of another year of Anthony’s life.

We turned on the soap opera, and I sat down a while in front of the TV.  At that precise moment, Didu Rosa, a charismatic character on the show, was distributing money for houses in the town of Triunfo.

“I wish I lived in Triunfo to see if they would have given or loaned some of that money to me too,” said my father.

“Rosita, what would you do with four million dollars?” Manuel asked me.

“Oh, Manuel, that’s too much money for a single person.  I’d go crazy because right now I don’t have a single peso and I’m going crazy trying to figure out how to make ends meet.  But if I had four million I’d become that same crazy woman from not knowing how to spend it,” I said as we all laughed.

“My daughter, only you could say something like that,” said another neighbor.  “Who wouldn’t know what to do with all that money?  Better too much than not enough,” continued Victor, who to me is the most beautiful old man in the world.

“Because if I had that much money,” my husband said, “I’d buy myself a fancy car and I’d quit my unbearable job working in transportation.

“Not me,” said my dad.  “I’d donate two million to the government of the municipality so they could fix all the streets. I’d give that or anything else as long as the mud and dust disappeared from around where I live.

That’s not a bad idea, I thought.  The truth is that to walk to the bus stop and not get my shoes or clothes muddy, or that from time to time to have an automobile be able drive up close up to the house, that would be well worth the expense.

“But if we gave two million dollars to the government, who would be there to guarantee that some corrupt boss didn’t steal half of it,” my husband said, interrupting my train of thought.

Talia, a young girl who was watching attentively, complained because we weren’t letting her hear her show.  She later joined in the discussion adding, “I wouldn’t want so much. I’d be happy with just spending a million dollars on a trip to Australia.”

What a way to dream, I told myself.  Just let me continue struggling with my feet in my bog and dreaming that one day the provincial government will fix the streets without us having to dream about Didu’s millions.