HAVANA TIMES – Dawn breaks and the sound of some chickens from a nearby patio can be heard throughout the neighborhood, when midday comes we can hear the shouts of a neighbor letting us know there are bananas in the market on Tulipán Street and, in the afternoon, the squeaking of a wheelbarrow with two little kids nostalgic for the amusement park.
Although the images of long lines, unsmiling faces and empty shopping bags are the most recurrent when it comes to describing the current situation on this Island, there is a soundtrack of the disaster that is barely mentioned but that surrounds us on all sides. Some of the sounds echo what we heard in the 90s during the Special Period, as if the needle on the record player of our lives had skipped and went back to playing the same music.
These times remind me of that period when some neighbors in our building raised a pig in their bathtub and, so it wouldn’t bother everyone too much, they operated on its vocal cords, leaving the animal to emit a hoarse breathy sound much more disturbing than its original grunts. Now, on a nearby balcony, someone has a cage with several turkeys that cluck all the time, a practice intended to guarantee protein for families fearful there are worse times ahead.
But there is also another permanent ringing and it is that of irritability. The swearwords of domestic fights, fueled by the lack of resources and the forced confinement the pandemic has brought to families with positive cases of covid-19; the crying of children who do not understand why they can’t go out to play; and the sobs of the son whose mother died for lack of oxygen or medicines.
A suffocating resonance, the chorus of a city and of a desperate country.