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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013 @ 6:50 am
I'm up early, the product of a combination of jet lag, a red eye flight, and nerves.
In Cuba, at the resort, out in the cerulean waves. Treading water with Jill. Have you seen the news? she asks. There were bombings at the Boston Marathon. My heart seizes. A family friend, more like an uncle than anything else, who lives across the street from my parents, was there. I wonder. CNN doesn't mention anything about Canadians.
Yesterday, I checked my email as soon as the plane touched asphalt. There's a message. He's ok. He crossed the finish line 10 minutes before the bombs went off. Ten minutes on a marathon pace. God. What if he trained just a little less in the weeks preceding?
In two hours I will be crossing the start line for the Vancouver Sun Run. Things like this don't happen in Canada right? Copycat bombings? Me and 50,000 other people, crammed down the length of Georgia St.
Cuba. How do I start to write about this? The man on the beach, pointing to the de-laminating soles of his shoes. There's a problem in Cuba, he says.
In Havana, children ask for the clothes off our backs. We walk the streets, white Canadian bait, and locals chant Money, money, money?, the only English in their vocabulary.
We look into crumbling mansions, wires strung like Cat's Cradle, laundry hanging off every balcony. Fifty families live here, in this home that was once occupied by one.
In the countryside, animals are staked in the grass on the sides of the highways. Goats, horses, cows. Moved 100 feet along every day.
At the Hotel Nacional, we sip mojitos on the terrace. Looking down across the harbour, the malecon, the shimmering green Caribbean sea. We talk endlessly about politics. The embargo. The dual currency. The economy. We patch together our combined knowledge to try to make sense of this place.
Back at the resort, patrons sprawl like cetaceans on plastic loungers. Chameleons pose in the relentless sun, tails curled and cocked in readiness.
The wedding, the reception dinner, the dance party on the beach at night. She throws the bouquet, and in an act of humour and whim I make an epic leap to snatch it from the air. May as well insert some zest into this languid rotting night. I jump up and down with the bouquet, shoving it straight into the air like a trophy. I dance with it for the rest of the night, using the stem as a microphone or tucking it sassily into the back pocket of my jean shorts to accentuate the movement of my hips. You've got moves, girl, says my sister-in-law.
Cuba. The rustle of palm trees. The humid wind. The heat reflecting from crumbling plaster. Cuba.