Once I’d passed the personal and luggage check I could sit down and rest a little while waiting for the time to board the plane that, with a stopover in Panama, would finally take me back to my planet.

It was the first of May and all the shops, except for the snack bars, were closed. I approached the gate to avoid having to run at the last minute. A Chilean man, sitting in one of the seats connected to mine, upon hearing my accent when I asked what time it was, immediately identified my origins. He too was going to the same destination. Then, out poured the usual questions.

In another seat, nearby, there was another gentleman who immediately and without waiting to be invited, took part in the conversation. He turned out to be an official of my planet who traveled constantly to Chile, to conduct business related to the importation of mackerel, as he explained in his brief introduction. The Chilean, very surprised at such a presentation, asked why Cuba, being an island, had to import fish from so far away.

The official, very ceremoniously, offered a dissertation on the clear waters of our beaches, the whiteness of their sand, and so on, attributing these virtues to the absence of plankton, and thus the lack of fish in our waters. I was discretely maintaining my silence, but couldn’t continue and took advantage of a brief pause spoke up and said that as a young girl I’d never noticed the absence of these little beings. On the contrary, there had been a huge variety to choose from and never any lack, despite the fact that our beaches were as famous then for the same qualities previously mentioned. I added that I knew it was simply the disappearance of the former fishing fleet, which had fallen apart with abandonment and neglect, as happened with nearly everything on my beloved planet.

May 3 2011

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