Yanelys Nunez Leyva
HAVANA TIMES — I don’t know why, but every time February 14th rolls around, I think about my preuniversity years. It might be because every time an important date like this one came about, the boarding school took on a new energy and broke away from our routine.
We were all happy, not so much because we were celebrating the Day of Love and Friendship, but because there was a change in the school lunch menu – chicken, chips… a delicacy for that time – music, optional sports and collective partying.
Those who had a partner or were in the middle of the seduction process used to send cards – sometimes anonymous – to the Love box, which was put out a few days before the date so anybody could place their letter inside.
On the day, in the evening, we used to gather together in the training area and hand out the cards face-to-face. Those fortunate enough to receive a card, used to stand up smug and pick them up; those who didn’t, used to clap and laugh, maybe remembering a joke they had played on a classmate using this means.
Kisses, cards, presents, hugs, letters between friends, teachers. Romance had become institutionalized.
Sometimes, we used to celebrate the day with a great masquerade ball. And we used to get ready using all of our imagination, doing each other’s make-up and hair. We asked to borrow clothes. Some people even rented out costumes for the event. Others designed ludicrous costumes instead so as to have fun by making fools out of themselves.
It used to take up the whole day. And in the evening, in addition to handing out the cards, we used to dance new rueda de casino routines, amateur singers would sing different songs, a little bit of everything.
Without those brief moments of amusement, we wouldn’t have been able to bear all of the difficulties the boarding school implied.