Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Life With No Exit

Image: Guama

It has been nearly six years since I decided not to leave Cuba for good and it’s only today that I can calmly reflect on that moment. It was not a patriotic decision, nor a conformist nor a cowardly one, but rather completely irreverent. I still cannot find a single logical reason to justify the “I’m staying” that gives up the whole world. They say you can spend the rest of your life without weighing the consequences of your actions, but me, fortunately, I always knew: not leaving implies staying on the broken ship, drifting aimlessly, and assuming, also, that I will not be silent for a single moment while it sinks (I always was a bit of a rebel).

I threw the dice at my destiny and the random number that came up hasn’t haunted me: I have been happy. I abandoned my possible life “outside” – it’s an interesting syndrome we’ve been left with by geography and the revolution, “we are inside, the rest of the universe is outside” – and it didn’t leave me too many options: I could have spent the rest of my days climbing the ladder of opportunism or filling out useless papers in the Payroll Department at the Ministry of Education. I didn’t salute anything and ended up finding the recipe to survive the daily Armageddon without doing too much damage to my soul, and never thought any more about leaving.

But one day it wasn’t enough to keep my windows shut and barred, my almost perfect strategy for seeming invisible, my enormous pleasure in discovering that my neighbors didn’t know whether or not I and my world inside the walls existed: the intimate remained elusive, work poorly paid and, most of all, a bunch of sinister characters in my head wouldn’t stop saying that I was an inherent part of the ever-aging Revolution, heavy and omnipresent. I decided to open my blog because my bubble cracked, and still I didn’t analyze it too much.

Today I look at my refusal of permission to travel and it gives me peace: I was not hurt, not surprised. It is the long line that I have been drawing of my path, it’s the certainty that I wasn’t wrong, it’s the proof that the Cuban government has taken the trouble to give me so I will know, despite the Party and its State, the security forces and their impunity, that I have managed to live as a free woman.

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