Thursday, June 3, 2010

And What’s Lacking Now?

Photo: Claudio Fuentes Madan

Every month I find myself overwhelmed by the absence of random staples; it can be oil, shampoo, detergent, milk, eggs or sanitary napkins. Every time the end of the month approaches, the question that comes to mind is, “What are we missing now?” Sometimes I can’t wash, other times cleaning is agony, or my pot of beans is distraught by the abandonment of its inseparable companion, rice.

I try to remember the moment when all this started, and I’m surprised to find that since I was a little girl the economy has played hide-and-seek with me. I still remember clearly the things my mother sighed for when I was only seven: food, cigarettes, shoes for me. Others populated my adolescent longings: chocolate, meat, a pair of shoes, soap. Here I am an adult, still finding myself frustrated by the persistent absence of simple things.

I wonder, as do the rest of Cubans, how long will it be until a bottle of hydrochloric acid, to clean the bathroom with, comes to star in my life? Could it be that when I am eighty a roll of toilet paper will still evoke nostalgia?

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