Cuba, Mi Amor.
The sun hung high the first time I saw you from a distance. You, over there, with your graying hair, and Spanish leather shoes; I thought I knew your type. Perhaps you thought you knew mine too.
[I suppose most affairs commence with such clichés. As I write this I wonder if we have what it takes to outlast the blockbusters and billboard charts. But you, mi amor, are teaching me to risk.]
When you drove past me in your pristine red 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air I admit, I took your photograph…but I determined not to give you my heart. Could you blame me…anachronisms beckon suspicion where I come from?
I’m sorry. I realize now you rebuilt every part of that car. Your hands know the movement of decades like no other.
And since my letter has begun with confessions, I will not stop until my heart feels free.
I had you wrong in so many ways.
I know this may sound silly, but I thought you’d be a bit naïve since you have few ties to the World Wide Web and all.
Alright, your memory is sharper; your gaze is more present; and you read and research and banter, and banter, and banter. Touché.
I love that we can be honest—for the most part—you and I.
So…one last confession…I assumed you were also narrow-minded.
Hold on a minute. It’s not that outlandish. One day you did jail a teen for having a compass and a woman for having a podium with a microphone. The boy just wanted to learn navigation, but you’re right…the woman wanted more. Free speech.
I still think she was right.
But I know in your heart, you won’t let others censor your thoughts. And you have learned the art of saying much without the words I prize. You turn scrap material into precious metals and limiting laws into freedom of expression. You work as a hard as a farmer and as precise as a surgeon. You create with subtly. But you dance like you’re running for office.
I so love that about you.
And you know what else I love?
I love that when money was sparse you threw dinner parties. You only had a ration of rice and you still invited friends over. Aimara brought the oil and Ulysses brought the rum. You named it your Communist meal and dined like you were royalty.
And when times got most severe you declared it “The Special Period”. You ate even less but your soul feasted on music and laughter. Your favorite staples. You and your friends and the moon danced and wrote poetry until the sun stirred. And you still smirk when you tell me about that time.
I’m so curious to hear more of your stories. And I long to hear your dreams too. I have more to share as well. I’m more complex than you may think.