The memory is capricious and unjust, magnifies successes of the winners while hiding under the rug the pain of defeat and the price paid at sea. Many Cubans risked their lives on a cruise north and lost it because the sea doesn’t forgive adventurers, nor understand politics or distances. Triton´s children are only in the memories of family and friends because most has begun to forget them.
The winners tell the story of triumph, those who have not succeeded wait for their slice of the American dream and those who fell by the wayside simply cannot do it. The price paid by emigration is very high for some families, well kept secret or spoken only in moments of melancholy. Others cling to dream of a reunion that defies logic but it is the only reason to go on.
There are stories like this in every corner of our Island, one need only to scratch the surface. In the city of Matanzas studied a 13-year-old boy named Yerisán, he was very popular among the girls in the School of Art but with so few men there, it was no great merit. His father lived in the United States and the family dreamed of being united there. One Monday he did not come to school, his classmates waited until they heard of a night trip that older people commented quietly in a tone of bad news. I never heard of him and his companions again.
The next few weeks started rumors that a ship had rescued them, soon to be deported, perhaps returned to Cuba, but none of that was true. It was not known if there was a shipwreck, if they took away the life on purpose or something unspeakable happened. The sea swallowed them. Yerisán never got to the United States and his father waited an impossible reunion, perhaps with the guilt as companion. The boy´s friends kept a reality from a very early age, since for them every trip near the sea turns to look out the window towards the coast, thinking on that one who never returned.
I wish this story was not true but it is. I wish I could say that every one of my friends arrived migrants at their intended destination, but some may have suffered the fate of Yerisán, who at 13 must learn that there are dreams with a higher price than we can afford. He will never know the passion of a woman or hold a child in his arms, the circumstance that led to his departure is the only culprit.
We are a generation born when all the pieces were already arranged on the board, only with the option of playing with white, black or watch chess from outside without participating. I would say that some have been sacrificed pawns in the game but I will not. Not everything can be rationalized and there is a board game that has as serious as this or affect so many consequences. Hopefully everything really was a game of chess, dominoes or better, to shuffle the dominoes and make a new game with our rules.
Among the tricks of memory, it is normal to evoke the friends who we know of his whereabouts and only when we see pictures where they are not already, what has become of them and where they are at this point. You look for them on Facebook (if you can) but cannot find many. Of course, not everyone is into social networking, memory can fail and surname can be written differently. Better think about that than anything else. When will it be that we count and identify the collateral damage of migration?
In these days the Cuban Adjustment Act seems to have just days left, Cubans venture to the United States by land and sea. The stories that come from these crossings are scary, either on the border with Mexico or raft in the Caribbean Sea. I have a friend who made the trip from Ecuador to the US and met the poorest villages in Central America. He commented how he had seen with his own eyes what he learned in college studying anthropology but deep down we all know that the journey was tough, maybe more than that he dares to tell.
It is clear that memory is capricious and unjust. Those who risked their lives on a cruise north and lost it, are now children of Triton and collateral damage of a circumstance that likely existed before their birth. I refuse to forget that easily because I could have been one of them or I could have had a friend in the list, which we still have to make.