I refuse to add fuel to the fire. People get tired of hatred. Hate screams loud and love whispers. But love prevails.
Every day I remember: “I caught you, Panchito, I caught you!” and we, children, playing “hide and seek” or “Simon says.” All “round the wheel of bread and cinnamon.” And if someone fell (or got tired) they were given a chance, we invoked “pio tai.” No abusing the defenseless. Yes, I remember.
I cannot feel hatred or contempt for the neighbor always asking for a bit of salt, or her children or her grandchildren. Not even for that other one, the one asking for coffee, who would remove the latch and open my door without asking permission. “Can I come in?” (and she was already inside) “Have coffee already been made in this house?”
No promise of “freedom” will make me forget my essence. No geography can make me hate or wish evil to those to whom I said “Come in!” “High five!” That “freedom” would be a bitter prison if the only thing I achieve, in its name, is scheming intrigues to ruin their lives.
I come from a place where it was said “Open!” and the masarreal (a Cuban pastry) was split in two. Period! That was the law!
I am not a better person for having a car. That doesn’t define me. I am not better or worse because my plate is scarce or abundant. The things I have do not define me, but the things I do, do. I am the work of others who, in turn, were the fruit of others from further back and so on, forever and ever.
What I am today, I owe to those living ghosts that inhabit me. What makes me who I am is the memory of those who shared their bread with me, of the neighbor who loved me and took care of me as a child. Her wrinkled hand stroking my head and saying tenderly “Oh my little boy.” That’s where everything came in! That is my essence.
What made love last to this day was the girlfriend from the little park. She tattooed my soul. I don’t remember her face. I don’t remember her name. But that high school kiss sealed all the kisses that followed. The tender aroma of that girl from senior high, was extended to all the women and men of the world with whom I came across later. That’s there, and it happened that afternoon in that park, when the sun was setting. That young girl, a Royal Poinciana and the sunset in the background. That’s the lamp that gives me light when it’s darkest. She, her children, and the children of her children!
I’m sorry, but a long time ago I got tired of hatred. Love prevailed. I am linked to these people by an umbilical cord. All the blessings I have received in my life I owe to them. I neither want nor can block them. That’s how things are there, where I come from. With them, to the end! For them, it is always open! and let’s split the masarreal in two!