How to say to him…


On Saturday I went to Pinar del Rio to enjoy the streets empty of cars, the friends I have there, and that group of stubborn people who publish the magazine Coexistence. I put my bones in an almendrón* and arrived at the bus station with an acute pain in my neck.

In the evening I spoke for a while with Nestor, the young man they expelled from the university for collaborating on the new digital publication managed by Dagoberto Valdes. I wanted to say that having a university degree, even if it was free, is a heavy burden that doesn’t always yield satisfaction. Mine, for example, has lain for eight years behind a piece of furniture in my room. In it I read that I am a graduate in philology, although I am not authorized to do with language what I please. Huge Gothic letters certify that words are my kingdom, however they don’t warn me where the gags begin.

Nestor, had he continued in his career, would have learned Roman law, he would have put on the toga and defended hundreds of the accused. His diploma would have had – like mine – the optimistic statement of a profession. However, in the ink of life, in the opening role, he would have known that the laws are as changeable and elastic as the opinions of those who write them.

When the rector and the majority of his classmates voted to remove him from the University, they taught him how fickle is justice. Unwittingly, they saved him from dragging another title like the one I hide; as full of knowledge as of limits.

Translator’s note: An almendron is an American car from the 1950’s or earlier, now in use as a semi-fixed route shared taxi.

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