Havana of my memories: my Havana is lying down, looking at the Gulf for all eternity, to which we abandoned a little and care less.
But there it is “watching as time goes by” but this Havana of mine never will be take take away from me. It will remain with me, inside and out of me with all of its people.
I must say that when I arrived to Havana I did not love it but I do not know if an 8-year-old child, apart from his close relatives is entitled to know to whom or what he loves.
I always defended my homeland from the south of Camagüey because I though everything was better there.
As my grandmother used to say a “Culicagao vejigo” (kid still unable to wipe his a.. for himself) speaks only when the “hens make piss”. So, without a voice or vote in the family senate, I had to accept the odious truth of staying in a huge and overwhelming city.
My cousin Prisciliano took me to what was at that time a great tour. Please keep in mind that we are talking about the year 1959 and we were very humble. Therefore he took me to cross the Havana Tunnel by bus and then to Radiocentro and other sites of interest.
When we arrived to some of the interesting places, I used to say contemptuously: “I already saw this on television”. That was possibly uncertain because in my house at Central (sugar mill factory) Elia a radio was the only electronic equipment.
What I watched on television: Highway Patrol and Superman was due to the kindness of some (at that time) privileged neighbor with a TV set who allowed me to peep through a generous open window.
Over time a certain pragmatism was taking over my reasoning and I told to myself: Havana is the place where you get problems solved and you get what you need so these two situations where taken me away sentimentally from my homeland and approaching, imperceptibly, my love for this city of “the white sheets hanging on the balconies”.
I think it was not until I became an adult that I came to appreciate and fall in love completely with this unique city. “What is the Glory to you? Havana”.
Even with your chipped facades and collapsed buildings and that you can be a million times more beautiful, you are the city that destiny gave me and I thank the destiny for this deference.
For Havana of my memories, “like moaning of violins” comes my song. When I leave this Earth or good, I will not have to come to say goodbye to any “Chinese dog that comes after me” as the beautiful and nostalgic Cuban children song says: because I will stay here, with my deadly ashes feeding the fish in the Malecón reefs.
Photos Courtesy Gesy Guiardinú