Rain. It necessarily rains several days ago in Pinar del Río, and there is not enough left for us to return frogs, as a long-lived neighbor jokes. Rain often has that insinuating and hypnotic power that almost always leads to remembrance, and hence poetry. Of course, this is when it can be enjoyed under a good roof. Otherwise, rather than lyricism, the downpose leads directly to depression.
The story of my family (perhaps also that of many others on the island), could be told by its relationship with water: rain, drinking, waste, salty that surrounds us and, according to the poet, makes our circumstance cursed.
I still seem to be looking in the innocent amazement of my eight or nine years to my paternal grandfather and my mother by placing a large polyethylene blanket under the roof of our board house and cardboard fiber (tight fibers, as they were told) to prevent the temporal leaks from soaking us. Still, it was difficult for mattresses and scarce furniture to not end up bathed (i.e. damaged) in every new storm (much more if it was a cyclone). Those fibers, which replaced the initial guano, were a destitute protection against the jets of the sky.
My little brother and I had a lot of fun raining. Like any child that age, we enjoyed not going to school and, most adventurously, going out to get wet and catching fighting fish in the streams, lagoons and waterloyed roads, as long as it wasn’t browning. Only in my mother’s eyes and skins could the sad beginning of the nineties, that particularly cruel Cuban period, of which so many scars remain to be counted, can be clearly read – turbion after turbion.
If something good had that wooden house, at kilometer 13 of the pine forest Carretera a La Coloma, it was that at least we had our own artesian well: with turbine and everything precisely installed by my father, and supplier – high tank by – three keys or batteries: one in the sink, one in the kitchen, and the bathroom , a bent tube that we affectionately called a shower. The peasants of the area, for the most part, loaded the essential liquid of large and old wells, with their immense brocales.
So did my relatives for the maternal branch, in the municipality Of Honda Bay, 115 kilometers from us, until a reckless and bonachón great-uncle discovered that he had “current” in his body to identify groundwater and began pointing out “veins” to build wells throughout the area. He marked one exactly in my grandmother’s yard. And since then she, my aunt and my cripple grandfather Jesus, had the supply closer. By the way, the pocero and two of my grandmother’s eight other brothers crossed the ninety miles of saloon blue that separate us from the North and, thanks to them, we were able – and we can still – to alleviate with fewer scourings the drought of so many resources, which seems not to be camping through these lares. Someday we will have to make a monument to those who departed – for whatever reason – and have not let so much water through them dilute the connection with their blood. In an impressive generational relay, the children of the children of those who made their lives there and aculla have continued to support the children of the children here. “Family, ” one often says and everything is explained.
And because of that sense of “throwing away” the family, my mother pushed into the unspeakable so that we could get out of that “casuchita” and move to an urban cast in Vueltabajo, already under brick construction. With unspeakable sacrifices, she, my dad, then my stepfather and finally my brother and I, brick on brick and cabilla on cabilla, managed to assemble the concrete that protects us today.
First, with ribbed fibrocement cover. After Hurricane Gustav, who drilled it through several places, with iron beams and zinc plates, which is not the best thing in the universe, but looks wonderful compared to the rotten cardboard of the country past. In Montequín, the new distribution, which as urban only has the name, because its largest area is a long and sharp road planted with housing on both sides, we have also had to solve water problems (or best say aqueous?). The village, at the arrival of the crisis of the 1990s, remained in the project of what it was supposed to be. Therefore, its Aqueduct and Sewerage system has become what popular tenacity and inventiveness have been able to achieve.
Drilling over here, draining over there, building tanks beyond and, at worst, paying unscrupulous tank-tank drivers to solve what the provincial Aqueduct sometimes takes months to resolve. So as long as it rains as it is raining, my neighbors and I are concerned not so much about that water, like two others: the albañal, which now overflows and there are not many places to evacuate it, and the drinking one, whose reserves are running out of us and we will have to go out and “fight it”. My wife sleeps with her beautifully swelled belly of vital fluid that envelops our little one. My mother, a veteran of a thousand battles, also tries to fall asleep, after cleaning the kitchen with a bucket that was filled under the sledgehammer himself. The family’s boat, even sweeping so many rocks, has not yet made water. With that sweet certainty, I look at the ceiling and breathe. Yes, there’s still room for poetry.