Parallel worlds


5:00 p.m. I’m at the door of the Café Cantante at the National Theatre. The program doesn’t interest me much, but I came with friend who is crazy about dancing.

5:27 p.m. The doorman asks as for our institutional affiliation, as the tables for nationals are reserved for a group of outstanding accountants.  I explain that we are “independents,” and instead of being upset at this, he roars with laughter. He let’s us in.

6:10 p.m. A screen plays video clips from the United States, while the bar serves beer, rum and soft drinks in convertible pesos.  My friend and I are cornered by some young men in tight-fitting clothes who are dancing lasciviously.  When they hear us speaking “Cuban” they take fright and leave.

7:00 p.m. The recorded music continues.  It appears that the band doesn’t want to play or one of their members hasn’t shown up.  The boys next to us are fidgeting in front of three Spanish women who appear to be interested in them.  Each of them is wearing something white; with the lights in the disco it’s a striking effect.

7:40 p.m.  Nobody else has approached our table, which is a strange thing considering that we are two single women in a club.  It seems that nationality determines approachability.

8:20 p.m.  Nothing about the ambiance here: young guys wink at women twice their age; sequins and designer clothes everywhere, and the general flutter about every foreigner who enters – reminds me of the slogans of austerity, ideological firmness and discipline that swarm outside.

8:40 p.m.  The Café is about to close and I realize that when I cross the street I will come face to face with the many tall ministries that crowd this area.  I cannot shake the idea of inhabiting two parallel worlds, a pair of dimensions that emphatically negate each other’s existence.

9:00 p.m.  As I leave I see the boys with the white clothes leaving with the women who spoke with the “zeta” accent.  I’m going home and on the road I stumble upon the huge fence on the side of the Council of State.  A phrase from Marti warns me, “One should become in any given moment, that which is needed in that moment.”


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