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La Cancion De Mi Corazon

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Memories to me are songs that play over and over again in my head. My heart keeps the beat and notes fall from my breath. After awhile not even the physical self exists. My soul is squashed between bars and lines. Sometimes I'm running, other times I'm resting. I see images flash by in four-four time then three-four time then six-eight timeÐ'...there is no pattern. Erratic sharps lift me up and make me smile only to become flat again and drop me back into confusion. Confusion is the endless melody that carries on in my blood. The music stops only when I think of him, my lost harmony, my CheÐ'...

My father would hold me on his lap and tell me that the wind whispered of change. He said the sun was beginning to light the way to a new path for Cuba. He'd tell me the water was stirring in anticipation of underground action. These things bounced off me and rolled into unswept corners of my mind. When my father spoke to me each day I was too preoccupied chasing chickens (add more detail bit about chasing chickens). Now that I think back to those times I realise my father spoke more to reassure him self than me that the country would find its glory.

My mother was less optimistic about the future improvement of Cuba. Perhaps this was due to the realities of our current standard of living. My mother's bitterness splashed down upon us as she complained of the lack of a morsel of meat in the house. She complained of our scrawny chickens and how my father sold their eggs. Many times as a child I would hear her say to my father "How can I raise our children to be strong when you sell our eggs and bring home no meat?" My father would sigh and in a tired voice would reply "Tomorrow will be better." But it never seemed to be. I suppose though that no matter how destitute a child's life is one's imagination can serve as a comfort. I would stave off hunger by flipping through my recollections of life beyond the rural land of Mantanzas.

The city of Havana, despite the crime and corruption, held me firmly fixed in fascination. The last time the city came into my sight my mother was buying a new dress. She seldom bought machine made, market quality clothes. On this occasion however, she was to attend a wedding. I'd imagined how beautiful mama would look in her new dress. White lilies teased me from vendor stalls, begging me to buy them for mama's hair. I envisioned the delicate petals fastened firmly throughout her long locks, tucked slightly behind tight round curls. My reverie carried me so far away from the market place that I thought for sure I'd never come back to it againÐ'...but I was wrong. A smooth, coffee-rich voice seeped into my ears, past my nose and then finally down my throat. My feet pulled me along through the crowd past pungent-smelling sweet meats, eye-catching rhinestones, silk fans and a multitude of coloured ballpoint pens. I landed in front of a stage. Well, in actuality it was a long, overturned rectangular vegetable crate. A bit of mud-dampened lettuce clung desperately to a black travel-worn boot in front of me. I bent down and in one even motion peeled off the bit and flicked it to the ground. When I raised my eyes I found them drawn like magnets to the mesmerising speaker. I saw an old man in those eyes even though the frame and features pieced together a striking young man. He smiled at me once before I felt fingers individually wrap themselves around my skinny arms, tearing



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