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Maria Matienzo Puerto: I dreamed once that I was a butterfly who had come from Africa and discovered that I had been alive for thirty years. From that time on, I constructed my world while I was sleeping: I was born in a magic city like Havana; I dedicated myself to journalism; I wrote and edited books for children; I met to discuss art with wonderful people; I fell in love with a woman. Of course, there are certain points of coincidence with the reality of my waking life and it’s that I prefer the silence of reading and the pleasure of a good movie.

Living and Dying Like Sheep

February 4, 2013 | Print Print |

Maria Matienzo Puerto

dailyHAVANA TIMES – “I sit on the balcony of my house and do what everyone else does at the age of 33: I try to assess my life. What do I have to show?” That’s what Liudmila told me the last time we saw each other.

“The house I call mine is really my parents’, and although I like my job it doesn’t meet any of my financial expectations and I don’t have a stable partner because, apart from anything else, where would we live?”

“People, she said, were for leaving, or for resolving the day to day hassle, but nobody is for loving. Years of frustration have stifled my desire for life, I feel they’ve maimed an important part of me but I can’t say exactly which.”

That’s what my friend said, a year ago to be exact. I criticized her because that’s what everyone says when they expect others to solve their problems.

People that do nothing and lay down like sheep. The sort of moaning that comes from types that live at the mercy of the current.

Now when I run into her I see time has squeezed the life out of her even more. Between one frustration and another, just about the only energy she’s got left is for getting old.

And then she somehow manages to accuse me of not having lost my figure, of protesting, of looking for solutions, of going to the gym, of not giving up on love. And then she says “This fucking system hasn’t robbed me of one single thing, not a single thing.”

And then she dumps all her bitterness on me as if she didn’t know me.

Somehow I feel like I’m getting contaminated, and I’d like to scream at her, yell out that one of the things the system has robbed me of is the wish to be a mother, but I don’t.

I just tell her we put up with these things because we’re sheep, because we’ve learned so well to bow our heads and be afraid.

And I also tell her if she isn’t going to do anything about it; she’d better drop the subject. And that’s what she does, she doesn’t mention it again.


What's your opinion?

  • Moses Patterson

    Famed civil rights worker, Fannie Lou Hamer is credited with having said, ” I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired”. http://www.beejae.com/hamer.htm When enough Cubans get to the point where they are more frustrated with living under Castro’s dictatorship than they are afraid of the consequences of protest, things will change in Cuba.

    • Griffin

      A German-Canadian friend described her visit to visit relatives in East Germany in the mid-1980’s. She said the people used to be frightened, but now more and more people had reached the “I don’t give a f*ck what they do to me” stage.

      The Wall fell soon after that.

  • http://www.mycubanblog.com/ Charles Boesen

    Chilling. Absolutely chilling.