Translator: Xavier Noguer

It was an afternoon like any other. The bus was full of passengers, with their tired faces and lost stares, going back home, after a day of hard work, or just working hard trying to finish the day.

Everything was normal: occasionally slamming on the breaks, loud conversations, deafening music coming from the last rows, the same as every day. This bus doesn’t go through the tunnel, it goes along a highway bordering the town called The Ring. Some people had already gotten off the bus, others took a seat. Almost everyone left was going to the neighborhoods of Bahía or Alamar.

Suddenly, in one of the darkest and most deserted stretches of road, two men get in the bus, they take out knives, one starts threatening the driver, while the other threatens the passengers. Soon, they go from passenger to passenger demanding their watches, gold chains, cell phones, money and anything of value. A lady who seemed reluctant was treated especially harshly. One of the robbers told her: Now, since you were such a pest, you have to give me your clothes too: the poor lady arrived home in her underwear. This happened just two weeks ago.

I remembered what the police officer told my friend, the doctor, when she was robbed. It’s your fault too, because you were wearing nice clothes and a gold chain.

I hope those unlucky folks, who were robbed and degraded, will not file a report at the same police station where the police officer mentioned in my previous post (see “The Victim’s Fault”) works.

Translated by: Xavier Noguer

It’s sad when motivations fail. What a music or painter would call a muse.

I’m a person who doesn’t give up easily, but these days, I’m very conscious of my state of mind, since I’ve taken some distance from my computer and when I open Word, nothing comes to my mind. It must be because I have some fixed ideas which have stuck to my head, preventing new ones from getting in. Something like the famous lyrics to the Sánchez de Fuentes song: the sorrows that kill me, they are so many that they run over each other, they crowd each other, and that’s why they don’t kill me.

Actually, I have a lot of reasons to thank God, and believe me, I do it every day. Some people close to me call me privileged, because I live in a nice apartment, well decorated and with nice furniture (furniture left by friends and family), which I keep in good condition at all costs. Also, I’ve traveled and had the fortune of meeting interesting people, have good and loyal friends, and above all, I possess the gift of creating beautiful things with my own hands. But all of that, which I truly treasure, can’t be compared with what I’ve lost: freedom.

Today is Domingo (Sunday), we had invited a friend for lunch, but he couldn’t come. This means this gray day will not get brighter. Later we’ll go visit the poet and his wife, ending on a high note this dullest day of the week. I used to tell my friends – lucky me, I never fell in love with a man named Domingo!

That’s why Letting time do its work, which is the best remedy for this and other diseases (Sancho Panza to Don Quijote), I say farewell, and hope you all have a nice Sunday.

Translated by: Xavier Noguer

My friend tells me that he arrived late and tired to his house, and he leaned back on the living room sofa.

Then his usual friends started arriving. He led them to the basement, where his cellar was. Three spotless rustic tables and benches were all the furniture of the room, which had a very pleasant ambiance thanks to the Spanish bodegón decor.

Soon the three tables were taken. On the tables were various kinds of tapas, full of ham slices, cuts of Galician chorizo, anchovies, eel al ajillo, and delicious Spanish tortilla. All of these were paired to the excellent wines.

Cachita, a regular at the place, possessed maybe by the spirit of a Spanish dancer, left the bench and started dancing and applauding between the tables. Soon everyone was singing in unison. As the bottles emptied, the heat went up. Everyone laughed, singed, and partied, expressing all the joy that a Rioja wine can give. Suddenly, two police vehicles arrived, called maybe, by a resentful neighbour who wasn’t invited. When the police officers opened the vehicles’ doors to push the cheerful guests in, Julito, shaking his head and leaping off the sofa, woke up: Everything had been a dream.

“Only in dreams,” he told me. “How could I have a small business at home, even if I were authorized? Where was I going to get the hams, the wines, and everything else ? Maybe I could have the tortilla, but sometimes you can walk the whole city and not find potatoes. If they liberalized private businesses for real, I could import the wines and the charcuterie. But they will never do that, at least not during this regency. Anyway, for as long as I dreamt, I had fun. Dreaming doesn’t cost a thing!”

Translated by: Xavier Noguer

That’s what General Máximo Gómez said about us Cubans, around the year 1890.

It’s true, it happens to us all the time. It must be something about the weather, the geography or the racial melting pot.

A few years ago (more than a few), I can’t remember when exactly, the Meteorology Institute missed a Hurricane and we were caught by surprise. Then we were in bad shape, but not as bad as with the storm we just had. This time, unlike others, when the risk of a hurricane has been exaggerated and the now famous cone became so big on the map that it covered the whole island, they played down the risk from the atmospheric phenomenon so much, that everyone went out on the streets as usual. Some went to work, others to school, and yet others did their daily pilgrimage in search of food. All were surprised by the storm, while they were on the street.

Big tree branches were blown down by the wind, broken glass was flying through the air, as dangerous as that is. Flooding forced all public transport, as bad as it already is, to stop, and many people including school children had to go back to their homes on foot and soaking wet. The daily journal Juventud Rebelde (from 16 Oct 2010) published an article saying that due to the intense rains, together with the wind and the accumulated damage suffered by the electrical network, some areas of the capital were severely affected. Many electrical poles fell down, which made the system collapse and provoked a 24-hour blackout affecting most homes. Also, don’t you think that, in the published article, changing the order of the factors does change the product ?

I believe that once again the saying that I have used as the title to this post became true.

Translated by: Xavier Noguer