#4 – A Self-Assigned Fate

So, this is mostly a character play thing. I really love the setting of pre revolution Cuba, and this was just one ex-pat idea that COULD work there. Who knows. Kinda convoluted, but not too bad. Enjoy!

 

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Feverishly writing at the end of the Havana bar, Christopher Street was nursing a whiskey on the rocks and trying to beat the summer heat. His wardrobe fit in with those around him – a loose fitting short sleeve collared shirt, khaki pants, and a hat nestled on his head. The air was filled with soft latin music coming from a radio behind the counter. Street had learned to understand it for the most part, but unless he was really focusing, he couldn’t make the words out. However, the music was the last thing on his mind.

 

The bar has become his second home during his time in Cuba, and he made it routine to be there every day from 7pm to 2am during the week, and 11 to 11 on weekends. The owner and bartenders had become family, and in exchange, he had taught their whole families English for free. It’s partially why he was there so often.

 

You see, in the Summer of ‘38, a recent graduate of Brown, Street spent what he called his “last ever” family vacation down in Cuba, where his grandfather had some business interests. However, he fell in love. Not with a girl, but with the whole country, especially a little bar a few blocks away from their hotel. Now, Street was American, but not exactly a patriot. His father died in The Great War, leaving him, his older brother, and young mother to fend for themselves. Since then, he hated war, and ended up taking it out his country. The Depression didn’t help. To be in a tropical, easy going country instead? Easy decision for him.

 

He was writing a book, what he called the “sum of his existence”, a project he began on that summer vacation, and one he has continued to work on, nearly seven years later. As he continued to write and rewrite, edit and scrap, he spent his days as a private English tutor, earning enough to maintain a small room in a boarding house where he slept. He didn’t need many things, and living a low maintenance lifestyle suited him. His energy focused was focused on writing anyway.

 

As he whisked his pen like a maestro down the pages of his manuscript, he noticed a rare interruption in the music. He paused for the a second, took a sip of his drink, and listening closely heard the following:

 

La guerra ha terminado. Repito, la guerra ha terminado. Japón se ha rendido. Repito, la guerra ha terminado.

 

Oye”, came the call of a regular named Ramón, sitting in a table in the corner playing cards with some of his old friends. “This mean you leaving us? Going back to Uncle Sam?”
Christopher Street, for the first time that day, smiled. He called back to Ramón, “As soon as Uncle Sam can make a mojito like Domingo, I’m stuck here.” Laughter erupted across the bar, and by the time they all settled down, the music had too returned, bringing back a sense of normalcy. Street exhaled, thinking briefly of home, before returning to his writing. He looked at the title again. “To Live and Die in Havana.” It seemed appropriate, in more ways than one.

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