The streets of modern Habana, Cuba looks no different from its parents. Cigars in between lips that fought back. Dominoes click-and-clacking on the wooden table, until there was nothing else to give. The harmonious sound of the tocadores beating the surface of the skin drum, with the same hands of the workers who worked out on the cane fields. I was there for my “coming of age”, and I’ve never felt more at home than when the cool salty wind of the Caribbean tickling my skin. The same wind that turned into a hurricane, trying to prim my roots from the soil; the ones that I planted in an irreversible history. I’ve been surrounded by the things I knew, things I’ve only grown to know. My quinceañera dress in the wind as time circled by, the gold embroidery permanently etched into my memory. The memories of mi padre’s soft hands tucking me into bed, mummering out the words I’ve thought were a fairytale. The story of how I came to be, and it all started with Habia una vez…
It was the year 1955, the Revolution was a newborn baby. Whispers still carried through the wind and made the trees dance a rhythm of death. The high mountain village of Escambray was in a realm of ecstasy, where mis abuelos lived. The sun rose up like a nearby neighbor, the birds and the snakes were about to drawl a battle. The beautiful symphony of the waterfall was a killer siren. The smell of Cuban coffee protruded los campesinos, the wood that made up the house has seeped it in and turned the wood into a toxic color. Mis abuelos, Adolfo y Miguelina, primed their eyes open to make sure they weren’t dead. Last night, soldiers came knocking at Adolfo’s door, asking a place to rest their poor oversized heads. Adolfo slammed the door in their face, as if denied them the stairway to Heaven.
The soldiers came marching, their ant sized legs made a booming cry; which cuddled las montañas with a furious hug. The snapping of twigs was the last signal the villagers ever received before entering the hideous underworld.
Miguelina cooking aroz con frijoles, when they dragged her by the hair and pulled her out of her womanhood. Adolfo’s cocky persona kicked in and he started to run towards the soldiers, but it looks like the gun did most of the talking between he and his sons. Dragged him out, detaching him from the only sense of reality he could comprehend.
Adolfo’s fellow compadres kneeling on the ground, facing towards the Marxist. Some villagers fought with the fists of the Devil, but they didn’t know they would be dancing a tango with him soon. The soldier kicks the back of Viva’s knee, making him eat the own dirt that he farmed. The silver from the soldier’s blade reflected off the life he yielded, and he didn’t hesitate to make the final cut to end his. Between the vocal cords and chin, that’s where he hit. Decapitating him from his memories, removing him from the body that expressed love and the arms that held this love ones. Dozen shots rang out and ended up just like him.
They loaded them up in camiones, bound together in chains. They were the rebels, an imperfection in society that had to be extinguished. They were sent to prison, divided by gender, Adolfo y Miguelina were still bound together by hope. Hundreds of miles apart, they still looked at the same night sky and saw each other within the stars.
“Te amo mi corazon” as Miguelina kissed the sky, she let the wind carry her kiss and plant it on Adolfo’s lips.
They tied the prisoners up, blindfolded and turned their backs. Lined up like militia soldiers. Then, they shot. Amongst the wall lays apart of them, forever in the crevasses of the cement. Gladly, neither of mis abuelos were the chosen ones.
Mi padre was born amongst them, in a prison cell. He was the new edition to the rebel alliance, a new terrorist the guard must look out for.
You could hear the roaring of a Santeria woman, speaking an ancient language that native Cubans would call brujeria. She called upon Ochosi. Her head became distorted and transformed into a raven, her long claws and her extended beak. She holds one of her baby ravens and takes a bite of her throat, and feeds it to the other.
Adolfo y Miguelina stopped living behind bars, but it seemed mi padre, Bienvenido, never escaped. He was followed by soldiers, he was put onto this path by the soldiers of the Revolution. He couldn’t leave his house, he was a son of a rebel and that’s all he was ever going to become. Kicking a ball amongst this school teams was prohibited. It was an umbilical cord attached to the land, but that same cord made it hard to speak.
While struggling with his cord, he met a Nightingale who bared his first bird, Meylin. Then, the Nightingale flew away, with an A scratched onto her chest. He met an angel, mi madre; Gricelia. Who bared me, a dark angel, in 2002; amongst the ashes. No later than 2004, Adolfo spoke up again. How the government was full of thorns and we were the trabajadores who were getting poked. Fidel, the power-hungry animal, could lick his shoes. The word got around like an epidemic. Then, the soldiers came marching by once more and, banished us.
We flew like a kite between the sky, to what I hope was a brighter sky.
I still lay paralyzed amid the bed sheets, letting the blood of the revolution flow through my veins. Thinking about their starry eyes were dimming of light, unsure what the future will behold; but, I am the proof. I always thought that a phoenix was hiding in the caves, waiting to come out and be seen. Bless Cuba with its good graces and show humanity can be saved. They are still forced to praise a mass murderer. It has become my story and the story of my people, but it’s the story the world doesn’t want to hear.
My roots run deep, and they are going to keep on digging into the dry ground until the soil sprouts rosas of tranquility.
…La Revolution siempre va a vivir, pero las mariposas no, eso es el precio que pagamos