Friday, August 3, 2012

Say Queso!

I didn't expect this. I was not prepared! This was not part of the thousand and one scenarios cooked up in my head! I needed to stay calm. I needed to appear as cool as a cucumber.

"Oh my God, it's you!" I exclaimed.

"Oh my God, it's me!" he replied laughing.

I quickly lifted up my sunglasses and his expression changed from confusion and amusement to a genuine look of surprise.

"You're back! You came back!"

He seemed flustered and excited. I felt immense joy at the sight of his agitation. I had hoped for a reaction and this was even more than I had imagined. Yet, things weren't exactly the same as they had been a month ago. I had read so many things online that now the voice of all those people echoed in my mind. I was filled with worry and apprehension.

Red flags!

 This was the popular term for the warning signs of things that would go wrong. I could hear the voice that I imagined for these people. An angry woman with a stern voice:

Oh he's excited, huh? That's a red flag. This is part of his entrapment! He  barely knows you! Why would he be so happy?

                                       Shut up! Let me enjoy this!

"How long are you staying? When did you get here? How are you? Did you have a nice flight?" he bombarded me with questions.

"Two weeks and I arrived last night. The flight was fine. I'm good. I'm really good!" I grinned and as we stared at each other happily, inattentive to everyone and everything around us.

More after the jump...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Un Cafecito y Mi Corazón.

I vaguely remembered his schedule. Or at least the one he'd had for that one week a month or so ago! I didn't expect him to be there that day. Still, my eyes were wide open and exploring every visible space around me. We managed to arrive at the buffet before closing time. I anticipated a surprise but he was nowhere to be found. Every male that I heard, my brain quickly scanned for voice recognition.

He wasn't there. I had to accept that. He would surely be there the following night!

I proudly showed my mom around, as if I were a regular, as if I'd been here a million times before, even if I'd only been there once and for a total of seven days while my body was ravaged by mysterious deformities no less, and my brain buzzing due to injections and primal lust.

"I can't wait to see the ocean!" my dolphin mother repeated a few times that evening.

We headed back to our room after the evening show. I had carefully unpacked all of my shiny new clothes (I wasn't going to wear that yellow dress everyday!) and had picked an outfit for tomorrow night. I couldn't sleep. My mother had no problems in that department. I could already hear the purring of her snoring.

I'm being kind. It sounded like a Cuban muffler.

I grabbed my ipod, slipped on my sandals and headed out for a walk. I was just too full of excitement and nervous energy and I needed to unwind. I also really needed a Cuba Libre. I selected my very cherished summer playlist and chose the song, that for some peculiar reason, empowered me. I didn't want to listen to the music that I usually preferred like Muse, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, and The Black Keys. No! That was way too depressing! I wanted fun, upbeat pop, and Jennifer Lopez is Puerto Rican so, close enough, right? I could switch to Celia Cruz later.

Oh yeah, this was working! I felt tingles run up and down my arms. Maybe it was my endorphin rush or maybe it was the mosquitoes, but I was feeling good.

More after the jump...

Monday, July 30, 2012


I'm currently working on the upcoming chapters and I've also created a trailer for my blog. Movies do it, books now also do it, so I thought - why not?

Pass it around if you'd like. :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012


This is how you convince my mom to go to Cuba:

Mom: How was your trip?

Me: It was fabulous!

Mom: That's nice. What was it like in Cayo Coco?

Me: Paradise. I'm not exaggerating, it's just that gorgeous. It's a secluded island off the mainland that is virtually untouched, breathtakingly beautiful and serene, and the beach...oh my God, the beach it's...

Mom: It's better than Varadero?

Me: Better? It's what I imagine Heaven to look li—

Mom: Hand me my purse! I'm booking a ticket now!

So it's not really that difficult. My mom loves Cuba. She's been going there since the early 90s, when the country really started to attract foreigners for all-inclusive vacations, following the special period when they were barely surviving on fried banana and grapefruit skins, or whatever else they could eat to stay alive. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba faced some severe shortages in energy resources and lost 80% of its imports. It was a time of absolute despair for many. Attracting tourists was one of the ways that Cuba saved itself from a complete collapse.

She's one of those tourists that thrives on giving to the Cubans and a favourite of all the hotel maids. She'll pack a suitcase overflowing with gifts of all kinds, and speak a mix of Spanish, French and Portuguese (sometimes even Latin...) to the locals who struggle to understand her, but love her nonetheless (maybe even more so because of her effort). She'll spend 85% of her time on the beach and in the water, hence the reason I sometimes call her The Dolphin Lady.

Like I mentioned earlier, it had been a tough year. We had all experienced the hardships of loving and living with someone who had an undetermined death sentence. We had weathered his rage, his fears, his many attempts to cure himself with the aid of chemicals, or naturally, with his macrobiotic diet, to the very end when he had started to let go and just accepted his fate. All this while trying to live our lives as best as we could and to overcome all the additional challenges that destiny throws your way.

I think that this was part of the reason that she got so ill, afterwards. It was, in a way, her body just letting go of everything, including its self-defense mechanism. Much like the country that had barely survived a rush of misfortunes, she would find an alternative way of persevering without what she had grown familiar to, and begin a new life. A different life, but a sustainable one nonetheless.

More after the jump...

Friday, July 27, 2012


Hello lovely readers! I hope you're enjoying the story so far! It makes me feel better about my insomnia, missing someone like crazy, and surviving on a diet of Campbell soups and gummy bears!

I've created a Facebook page and I hope you'll follow. See you there!

More chapters are coming soon. There is plenty more to tell, oh yes!

SC xx

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Internet, Land of Knowledge and Wisdom.

What happens to 95% of the packing tape.

I hate moving. Hate, hate, hate moving.

Maybe it's because I've moved more times than I can remember? Maybe because I fail to see the logic behind carefully packing all of your belongings and the almost immediately unpacking them. It's tedious. It's annoying. Can't we just invent some kind of anti-grativity box where things would just float around and when you arrived at your destination, you would just let them drop into place?

Come on technology! I'm waiting!

Or maybe you could just burn the crap out of everything and start over from scratch because I really, really hate moving. Hate it. Especially when you have to do it all alone and especially when it's during a heatwave! There's also the fact that it's only when you pack that you realize you have a ton of unnecessary junk that you've kept around for absolutely no good reason and I'm not talking about things that you can donate to charity. I'm talking about fifty lbs of People magazine, shoe boxes, those frozen fish sticks that you forgot you bought a year and a half ago, way in the back of your freezer. Empty hairspray bottles, that huge bottle of conditioner that seemed like a good investment last time you went to Costco, but that made your hair greasy and smell like rotten oranges. Those shirts that you wear when you dye your roots, the ones with huge stains, and those cargo pants that will never come back into style (I can only hope).

Only after clearing that, can you really start packing! By that time you're completely exhausted and just don't give a flying fuck anymore.

This is when I decided to take a little break. I was sweaty and I had played the Pitbull CD ten times already. I went back to my Cuban research mission. My initial search had left me a little...bewildered to say the least. According to the internet, nothing good could come out of this. People were pissed. Really pissed!

More after the jump...


I was home for approximately one month.

What seemed like the impossible (going back) was becoming more and more tangible. First, my mother, who had been wanting to go on vacation was eager to visit this paradise I spoke about and second, I am completely unrealistic at times. Sometimes. Often. All the time.

I had to move. I had known this since before the trip but as I said, I had pushed all things from my other life out of my mind. The building where I was residing was being sold, or so I had been told. I didn't have much time to search nor prepare and I had to act quickly. Most of the good apartments had already been taken and one-year leases had been signed. It took about four days for me to pop out of my fantasy bubble to start really concentrating on what needed to be done. I knew one thing. I wanted to stay in this neighbourhood. I had been living there for two years and it was, in my opinion, the perfect location. In the heart of the city but with plenty of green spaces.

 I had two choices: one apartment that was only available in the fall and another that was ready right away (and with only a three month lease). My plan was to stay temporarily in the place with the shorter lease, until I could move in the next, more desirable place. The thing is, this apartment was horrendous. It was tiny and the hallways had malfunctioning lights that flickered every so often, much like in a scary film. Everyone that resided there looked utterly depressed. It was one medium-sized complex on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Still, it was temporary. It was cheap. It would do.

My skin was healing and my feet and legs had returned to their ordinary size. I was back at work, and thankfully back then, I was working freelance which is really the reason I was able to plunge into this adventure. I needed to start packing, finish up as many projects as possible and all this while receiving no emails whatsoever. Granted, there was still a bit of hope within me, a tiny little light that flickered on and off (but not in a frightening way like in my soon-to-be home). I was curious. I needed to know if I had been the only one to come home with a heart filled with hope and a cheek moist with sweat.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to Life, Back to Reality.

Proof that I actually did leave for real that day.

This was it. We were really going this time. The day had begun and the minutes were going by much faster than I wanted them to. I was filled with a sensation of dread that turned into nausea.

Yes, yes, yes, after all that I had been through and after all that I had survived, I was now doomed to spend my last remaining hours puking. There was nothing glamorous about this trip at all! Off to the infirmary I went for another injection! So far I had spent close to $250 CDN in injections and sure, I would probably be making a few sacrifices upon my return but I didn't want to puke. I had to draw the line somewhere!

After limping back to the room one more time, we called the bell boy to help us carry the luggage back to the main building. He came over riding a golf cart. We traveled down the paths lined up with palms and bright flowers, the snow white flamingos, and tourists in various shades of loose Bermuda shorts. Once again the sweet, comforting sensation of my non-scorpion venom enveloped me and I started to wave at the people we passed.

"I am the queen of England!" I announced to all within earshot. "Long live the queen!"

Shelby started to laugh and joined along. I think she was mostly happy to be leaving as she had grown tired of all the mishaps and eating pasta every day.

We arrived in the lobby and checked out despite being unmarried to Cubans.

Alejandro was there, as expected, and he came by right away. I asked him for just a glass of water because I had been drugged and needless to say, he gave me quite the confused look. When I explained that it was an injection from the hotel doctor to quell my nausea, he finally understood. Or at least he was reassured that I wasn't a junkie.

More after the jump...

Always Beautiful.

Apparently me, in a past life, when my yellow dress was a tiny bit smaller.

This was the last night. The definite, real, honest-to-goodness last evening in Cayo Coco!

The good news is that we didn't really have to pack our bags completely. The bad news is that my chest still looked like plate of potatoes au gratin. I tried to moisturize but that made it even worse as the peeling skin began to clump and as it detached from me, I was left with bizarre spots of yellow, bright pink and light beige. I contemplated wearing something that would hide my cheesy boobies but I had packed only things that were meant for summery weather. There were no turtlenecks in sight. 

This yellow dress sure had been seen a lot in the past week but it hadn't been seen by him. I would wear it despite my persistent deformities. I'd either be the mutant with a safe outfit that could be easily forgotten or the hot mamacita with a few imperfections leaving behind a trail of hot, fiery passion!

I decided not to wear a necklace as the lumps of flesh kept getting tangled in it.

My plan was: to knock Alejandro off of his feet and leave a positive last impression (before my return), and to fill up Shelby with as many Margaritas as it took to pacify her.

I kept playing the scene of him searching for me on that bus, over and over. This was good, right? He was interested, right? Then why, oh why, hadn't he flirted with me at all? Not one single compliment, not one single request to see me outside the resort?

Evening was approaching and I waited for Shelby to finish up her plate of spaghetti in the buffet room. As we headed out towards the lobby, a Canadian couple in their sixties stopped me.

"Oh my, my! You look just like one of those vintage pin-up girls from pre-revolution Cuba! Like a real Cubanita!" said the woman, almost reaching out to touch me. I forced a smile.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Depiction of Shelby at the airport.

I've known Shelby since we were gawky teenagers with a vast collection of ripped jeans and Doc Martens. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that when she gets upset, it's pretty much like a volcano. Hot lava will start to spew high and low, completely out of control, until being close to self-destruction. She'll regurgitate all over you, all over everyone, and even all over herself. It's just one messy projectile vomit of anger.

She was clutching on to the luggage cart and staring at the screen, paralyzed by shock. I could tell that the hot lava was just bubbling and would soon burst. I went to see a travel rep and soon enough the mystery was solved. We were supposed to leave the next day. We had checked out for nothing.

I informed her of what I had just learned and her face turned from fearful to the way evil clowns smirk, when they're about to strangle someone in a horror movie.

Oh, fuck. Not this again!

"Oh, well, look at you!" she snapped.

I stood there, silent, while she looked at me.

"You're always right! Always fucking right! Well, fuck you! Faaaaaaaack youuuuuuu-hooo-hoo!",

 and her anger turned to sobbing. At first it was comprensible with a lot of the 'fuck' word and 'you' and it turned to gibberish or some long-forgotten tongue with,

"I can't fam I am not blurgh WHY again NO florg smark never, EVER, waaaaaaaaah!"


Her head began to twitch and little bits of spit spurted from her mouth like misty confetti. I didn't know if she was going to have a seizure or her skin pigmentation would eventually turn green, and she would burst out of her clothes and start banging shit.

I walked away and went outside.

I turned to look at her through the sliding doors. She was still inside the terminal and had whipped out her precious papers and was carefully inspecting them. This could take a while.

 I was ecstatic! This meant we could go back. I wanted to go back now! I really hoped her episode wouldn't last too long. It was taking long. She was still reading her damn papers! It wasn't the dead sea scrolls for heaven's sake! Come on!

More after the jump...