Once again, in a gathering of friends, one of those present related how last Friday she had attended a conference at the Asian House in the historical center of our city, given by a Japanese man about gardens in his native land.  The conference was enriched with the projected images of the magnificent gardens and landscapes of this beautiful Asian country.

Afterwards, the aforementioned speaker expressed his wish to go with his delegation to our Japanese garden immediately, since they had no other time on the agenda, and they remembered that when the garden was planned Japan collaborated on the design, and had even donated a sculpture, almost sacred, which is usually placed as a symbol in these gardens.

Right then, the rushing about started.  Emergency calls by cell phone from Havana Vieja to Calabazar so that they would prepare the conditions for the imminent visit. Needless to say, when they reached the place the employees were there, broom in hand, putting the finishing touches in order to receive such an honorable committee.

My friend, who was part of the representation of our planet, was appalled and embarrassed at the spectacle she observed with her eyes.  The garden was in a total state of neglect, not even a shadow of what it had been.  The totem was damaged, as if a madman had vented his anger against it with a sledgehammer.  She dared not make any comment, nor look the Japanese in the face.  They left in silence and in silence continued the return journey.

Later, someone said that the Japanese had expressed a desire to make a Cuban garden in his country.  Then my friend spoke, “I have in mind the design.”

She said, “I imagine, a large plot, with all kinds of weeds growing on their own, a few cans, empty cartons and plastic bags, scattered everywhere, some animal dung, and a beautiful sign that says you can walk on the grass.”

Translated by ricote