I didn’t feel like walking from home to the Monumental Avenue (more than one kilometer under the furious sun of two in the afternoon) and I sat to wait for the bus, the 58, patiently (that’s the only possible way to wait for the 58). I opened up a book and in the first line a man showed up: “Good afternoon, I’m sorry to bother you. Can you do me an important favor?” I looked at him. He was about 70 years old, maybe more. His clothes were modest but clean. His face looked downhearted. I said yes. “Can you give me one peso? I’m collecting the money I need for buying medicine. Actually,I need more than one peso, but I only dare to ask for one”. I knew it. It happens a lot. But this time I was touched. I looked into my pockets: I found a bill of 20 and three pesos in coins. I saved one for the bus and I gave him two. “Thanks you, fortunately there are still good people out there”. And he took a turn in a corner. An old lady who had witnessed the scene nodded her head: “You shouldn’t have given him anything. I know him well; he doesn’t want money for medicine. His daughter takes good care of him. He wants the money to buy some rum. His daughter says she will not give him money for drinking and look what he does”. That got me thinking: I wish when I turn that age, I don’t have to ask anyone else for two pesos…
A bus arrived but it wasn’t the 58. I was alone again in the bus stop. Another man arrived. “Was that the 58?” I answered him no. “Fortunately. I’m going to wait for the 58, though I live eight blocks from here. But there is too much sun, it’s like it were burning dry wood”. I found the metaphor funny. I smiled. The man was encouraged: “I can imagine those people cutting down sugar cane in the fields. They must be having a really bad time”. I wanted to say the sugar cane harvest had ended and there was no one cutting down sugar cane and in any case, that was not the time for being in the fields… but I decided to remain silent. He kept on talking. “When I was about your age, back in the 70’s, I was taken to cut sugar cane to Camaguey province. That was the epoch of big sugar cane harvests and everyone was summoned for that. I can tell you honestly: no one can get used to cutting down sugar cane. Those who do, have no other choice, because no one can enjoy that. I did it out of my commitment with the Revolution. The squad head used to say that by cutting down sugar cane we were guaranteeing the future. By 2000 we would be a developed nation! And now you see, 2014 and we are still where we left it. I won’t cut down sugar cane for anyone, I swear!”
The bus arrived. It was quite full. And reggaeton was playing on the speakers. An old lady, sitting in the first seat next to the door, suffered a hysteria, nervous, madness attack… I wouldn’t be able to define it. She started yelling, saying she wanted to die, that life sucked, that she was tired, that she wished someone would drop a bomb and everything would disappear, and she started to curse on everyone, sons of a bitch… she had lost it. She pulled her hair and her clothes, she peed on herself. The driver stopped the bus. “Do you want to us to stop at the policlinic?” The lady offended him. “Mind your own business! Leave me alone! All I want is to die and everyone to die too!”It was a pitiful show. Some people suggested: “Get her off; we don’t know what she can do”. Others thought it was funny (I cannot understand some people’s reactions): “All she needs is some bread, she is hungry!” The driver decided to ignore her and turned up the music volume. Fortunately, a police officer showed up. “Please, come with me”. The lady sobbed: “Are you going to hit me? Everybody hits me”. The officer answered kindly: “How can I hit you? I’m going to help you. We all have bad moments”.