On Our Extremism

Xiomara Reinoso Gómez

Woman in Old Havana. Photo: Elio Delgado Valdés
Woman in Old Havana. Photo: Elio Delgado Valdés

HAVANA TIMES — A number of comments made in response to previous posts of mine have got me thinking, particularly those referring to Cuba: The Way We Were, The Way We Are. I agree we shouldn’t judge people and that, when we criticize extremists, we can ourselves be guilty of extremism.

It is no less true that, according to the Bible, god gave man free will. This should suggest to us he didn’t want puppets living in paradise.

It is also true that people change and the communist militant / pastor (or pastor / communist militant) of my story did apparently change, though the change, as I see it, was not genuine.

He is a married man, and his religion condemns fornication and adultery. What were his intentions with me? To play cards?

When I brought up the issue, he replied: “God knows I have marital problems and he’ll forgive me.”

I didn’t quite understand, but, ultimately, it isn’t difficult for me to go to bed with a man. After all, he was the one who was going to fornicate.

I didn’t sleep with him because the days of casual sex are behind me. Even to have a one-night stand, I need interesting conversation, intellectual stimulation, and the pastor only talks about religion, just as, before, he only talked about the Party.

Ultimately, I got fed up and told him off. The good times I spent with him came at that price: to have to listen to a bunch of BS.

I agreed to meet him because I thought he had actually changed. In that regard, he’s very much the same person.

He was always a leader and, on retiring, found the way to become a pastor. He seems to have a compelling need to lead a flock. I know what his childhood was like, and that may have deeper roots.

He’s beyond help now. At any rate, we are all, in our own way, poisoned for life.

As for the military officer who invited me to Tropicana, I do not regret having looked down on him. I was young and there are plenty of men at a military unit. Plenty to choose from, and all as attractive as he was, some with higher ranks and less arrogance.

Did I end up alone? True. Do I sometimes complain about my loneliness? Also true. But there’s something reassuring in this, and it’s the fact I never let anyone play with my feelings.

Am I selective? I was married three times and my three husbands had their defects. We become more and more selective as we age. How ironic. Nature got it wrong there, it should be the other way around.

Of course, at my age, having gone through so many things, I’m just about ready to graduate from old woman’s school. That said, I will carry the child inside me to the grave.

I’m not so lonely, really. I have two marvelous children, a girl and a boy. That’s the best gift I ever got in life.