Me and My Other Self
Fidelity, loyalty, sacrifices, words I have heard since I was small, but that I do not understand. I do not understand what I am supposed to be faithful to, to my country, to my principles, or to the Revolution? How do I say one thing and then do another? Everything seems false. How many times did I repeat the oath to defend the conquests of Socialism?
– When they put the bandanna on you, when you enlisted in the Federation of High School Students (FEEM) and the Federation of University Students (FEU). You took a step forward with each call.
– I still don’t know why I did it.
– Yes, yes you do know. You wanted to get into the Institute for International Relations.
– For nothing, the Secretary of the Young Communists Union did not think that my endorsement was enough. It was given to another, one of the elite. It does not matter, let it all be for the Revolution. What is the Revolution? I remember the poster at L and 23; I noted the first sentence “It is to change everything that must be changed.” That is what I want in my life, a change. I want to have a spacious house, a car and to be able to buy my son the toy of his dreams on the Three Wise Kings holiday
– Yahíma don’t be ambitious! How can you want so much when there are thousands of people dying of hunger in the world, and children who are homeless, or who cannot go to school.
– God forgive me; but let me dream! I’m tired of losing 5 out of every 24 hours of the day, waiting for transport; of living crammed into 12 square meters, with the supporting posts rotting and the roof falling in. Today I am thirty years old and I have a bitter taste in my mouth. I studied, I became a professional. I thought that was the way to realize my dreams and I was wrong.
– What are you complaining about?
– Perhaps as a whore I would have done better. How many times have I criticized my neighbor for selling herself for a few dollars? But it was more that I wanted to have her clothes to wear to my graduation. How unfair life is! She dropped out and “hustled” for 14 years, while I was sacrificing and studying, you know? At that time, I felt privileged. Today, she is in Italy. She comes to visit, rents a car and goes to places I only know from magazines while I’m still trying to survive on a shitty salary, that does not last me three days of the month. The rest of the time, I have to depend on my husband, me, who always longed to be an independent woman.
– I don’t understand what it is that you want.
– I am confused, even I don’t know what I want.
– Maybe the saints are telling you that you could escape this nightmare?
– I do not know how. Only if I find a Yuma (a foreigner). You know what you would miss if you left this place? This unbearable heat, sitting on the neighbour’s porch and talking about everything, even though he does not have a clue what I’m saying, the game of dominoes, the gossip, the language of double meaning, the noise, the shouts of the street sellers.
– Girl, wake up and come back to earth! You are still in Cuba! You must sleep, tomorrow you have to get up in time to get to work early …