Cuba’s predicament

A woman wearing an immaculate white dress and long black hair walked across the beach to where he was sitting; on one of the sunbeds that had already been cleaned, ready for tomorrow’s sunbathing hotel guests.

She winked and poked him teasingly in his side.

“You don’t fool me sweetheart, your eyes speak volumes,” she said and treated him to a forgiving smile.

Excerpt from: An Unusual Briefing

Santa Maria del Mar, Havana, summer 1958

Did she know? Could she somehow have sensed it? For indeed, he had been sleeping poorly. Disturbing dreams about the future of his country haunted him.

He didn’t dare open up to Mayte, his wife was emotionally and hands-on involved in ‘the revolution’. The slightest criticism of Castro would end in strife.

And now Marilyn, of all people, wanted to talk to him about this? He didn’t consider her to be an airhead, but he’d never expected her to care too much about Cuba’s predicament.

Natal had assumed she was in Cuba to party; sunny beaches by day, daiquiris and casinos after sunset. That’s what most Americans came here for anyway.

Of course there was talk among the foreigners about what was brewing, but the average tourist without business interest didn’t bother much.
And if next year Cuba wasn’t an option to spend the holidays, they would go some place else. Too bad, but not the end of the world.., for them.

But Natal had nightmares about the future of his island. Mostly along the lines of shops, hotels and restaurants in decline; the laughter, the chatter, the music and clinking of glasses hushed.

In a recurring dream he’d roam endlessly through the streets of old Havana, and all he saw were gray faces and gray buildings, never a ray of sunlight.

Where were the colorful buildings and the chatty people he was accustomed to? The banjos, the music? The bravado’s driving garish colored cars while flaunting girls from Miami? Where were the locals; no more gossiping in front of busy shops?

The people he saw he did not recognize. They were carrying a burden of which Natal witnessed it’s manifestation; around their heads he saw swirling threads of fear, which slowly intertwined in unity. This dreadful mass then gathered above the city, creating compact clouds of a smoke-like substance.

He would then wake up in a sweat, the ominous feeling still lingered.