Located in Saint-Eustache, Quebec, a two-hour drive from Ottawa and a little over an hour…
Tourists lounge by the pool. Taut nubile bodies in high-cut bottoms and slack pale bodies with no right to “Speedo”. Bless Brazilian women. Bless European men. He strides by with the same confidence as she – her naked, round rear half exposed in the sun… him… flashing as he walks.
I’m just here for the sun.
One must assume that he purchased that Speedo in 1976. It makes me wish Speedos had an expiration date, slowly rotting away in a drawer only to be left with a tag that reads “Sorry Monsieur, we regret to inform, you are no longer Speedo material”. I suspect that, if this were the case, he would immediately purchase another. There should be a licence for such things.
If nothing else it amuses me. I practice diverting my eyes. No books to read, I am content to lean back and watch the clouds go by. Mist swirling into mist appearing and reappearing. To the left, a black cloud looms, Havana’s 2 o’clock shower.
High above us floats a bright butterfly. Oblivious, it flits along its way, drifting on the breeze on an uncertain course out to sea and just as quickly it’s snatched from the skies by a stealthy swallow.
Gone is the butterfly.
Snuffed out and fed to chirping baby birds under the eaves of the Copacabana. I am reminded how precious freedom is. Easy and carefree one moment, crushed the next.
Everybody’s gotta’ eat.
Gathering my things I join my companion, Texas, at table near the sea wall, in the shade. We’re having a lazy day. It’s not long before the rain starts. Gentle showers, then without warning, it gushes buckets and sends even the children – delighting in playing in a pool with water that bounces up – scurrying for cover.
Everybody out of the pool, and into the rum. Except the kids of course.
As I sip my Cuba Libre, I ponder… the butterfly… the sparrow… the cloud… the nature of liberty.
The uncertain future of a nation on the knife’s edge of change. Will beautiful buildings now compelling become an endless stretch of MacDonald’s and Starbucks in a homogenized post-communist Cuba? What will become of her people when it is again franchised by America? Will there be equality in change or simply more disparity? Time will tell.
I am grateful to have seen it, flawed and imperfect, still gripping to its ideology, but, everybody’s gotta’ eat. Until then… there is music and beauty in everyday and the smiles of a people so welcoming… I wish them wings.
Such is a day in Havana.