The last dance is always the one that I remember most. Today was our last day. The thought made my heart clench. I look back now at the photos, like a lover smelling scented clothes. I am propelled by my feelings and by my memories into a place which is unique, even to the world. The sounds become real, the smells the colors. I know I am not there and yet somehow this feels so real.
The impressive Grand Theater of Havana looms ahead, the Cuban flag perched proudly blows in the wind.
Pass the ever grandiose buildings and arrive quickly at El Capitolio. Domed and all white, it cuts an authoritarian figure and towers over the dainty colorful houses, which are opposite it. I can see myself laughing and joking. I press the camera shutter, but never quite at the right moment. Half a car, no car but somehow never a whole one.
Round and round we go up as far as the gate to China Town. The Old Railway repair yard is still rusty. The cigar factory is shut, although I don’t think it was like that when I was there. Sometimes memories play tricks. If I am wrong, it doesn’t matter, tomorrow I will go back but this time I will open it.
Lunch in a sumptuous Italian in China Town. We are served by Cuba’s own Abercrombie and Fitch models. White shirts tight over their strong muscular frames. The sugar is sweet but not as sweet as Carlos. They have blankets for if we are cold (such gentlemen), and probably spare shirts for when their old ones split from too much muscle flexing. Obviously they all fancy me. This is how I remember it anyway…
All the clientele are locals and many parties are couples on dates – Was it lunch or was it dinner that I had here? Either way its not the best place in the world to bring your girlfriend if your trying to convince her that you are the most attractive man on the planet. So yes, the food is really good, best ravioli outside of Florence and great price… Anyway back to the service…
We walk back to the hotel, passed El Floridita, and back down towards the sea to our hotel. I feel sad. This is when the bags are loaded and when we hug our new friends goodbye. The journey back to the airport, back home, back to reality is short. Too short.
I will miss you Cuba but I will see you soon, I promise this is by no means goodbye. I never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.