Things almost sound a routine, Uber from Kendall area, this time Nestor from Santiago de Chile married to a Cubana from Havana he met in Caracas, we had such a pleasant talk and the ride seemed so short. Priority line and a pleasant agent issued me a Boarding Pass and an effortless Security line at TSA Pre Check and here I was on airside!
It has also become a custom for me to stop and smell the parfumes at the Duty Free, to sprinkle a few drops on to my scarf that I can carry the fragrance for the trip of 5 hours 30 minutes awaiting me.
Hermes had the best, as women's perfumes are much more enchanting, and so many others with slight varietal change. I looked up from the spot and I noticed that a young woman, manning the area where I was savouring the perfumes. She had a badge which said Yarelys, Never to miss a chance to strike up a conversation, I told her, I have a friend in Havana with that name. She kept on looking at me and she said: My uncle has a friend who looks like you! Is he from the Orient? meaning Eastern Cuba where my looks are common, No, she said, he now lives in USA. How long have you been here, 7 years, have you finished your studies, yes, I have completed my accountancy qualifications while working at this duty free store for the last five years but I am leaving to take an accounting job next Monday. So the pleasant conversation went on.
Then she asked me a surprising question, is your name Sudah? I looked at her carefully and I remembered the 15 year old girl from San Nicolas de Bari in the countryside whose Quincenera celebrations I had missed 11 years earlier. It is true I was a friend of her uncle and her grandmother, who is here now, worked as a nurse at the Polyclinic.
Pedro had already been in the USA when I met him casually in Miami at a store where he was the clerk and we had become friends and I had made special efforts to visit his family on more than one occasion in San Nicolas de Bari. In those days it was no mean feat to go from Vedado in Havana to San Nicolas even though there was a dilapidated Hershey train service that passed through San Nicolas at irrelevant hours.
In a strange twist, more like fiction, my sisters son had fallen in love with a girl from San Nicolas and I was involved in getting her a Jamaican visa many years earlier.
Our lives are stranger than the novels we can read in the trade. That 15 year old now lives in Miami, holds no grudges against the village and the country she left behind, is nostalgic about the humane nature of the society she left behind. Your life and future is here I reassured here but do come and see us now and then and always give us your moral support, and stand up to the people in Miami, ignorant in most cases, who talk badly about the beautiful island we all love CUBA..