Friday, July 27, 2012

Meeting The Family

The next morning I woke up without Juan beside me which already felt unnatural. He had gone home for the night to avoid being caught sneaking into my room by security. I hated the idea of being in Cuba and not with him, even for one night, but I understood the gravity of the situation. I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to ask him to defy authority and responsibility to be with me. But I also recognized that asking him to throw away everything for one night 4 hours of sleep with me was over the top, even for me.

He called around 6am to tell me his brother was on the way to pick me up to bring me back to their house. I hastily threw my messy piles of clothes and shoes and makeup into my suitcase and crawled around on the floor checking under the beds and tables to ensure I hadn't missed anything. As I left the room I encountered my first sunrise of the trip. The vibrant pinks and oranges and purples painted across the sky were like a beautiful omen telling me that things were going to get easier...or at least shinier and more colourful.

After the darkness comes the dawn...and after the resort comes the road trip!

Juan's brother, Javier, arrived in a rented car he'd borrowed from some tourists he was working for. Through Juan's and his work at the resort, he had acquired a network of male tourists who would hire him as a driver and local 'fixer' every time they came to Cuba. There was enough of them making repeat visits throughout the year to ensure he almost always had a car on hand to drive us around with. Especially during the day since his clients/friends rarely rose before dinner-time.

I knew that these guys were coming to Cuba to pay for sex. And Javier, despite just barely scraping 5'2" and 100 pounds, was always surrounded by drop-dead gorgeous women. I figured I knew what was what here. I had tried asking him and Juan, in both subtle and blunt ways, if he was a pimp but they assured me it wasn't like that, he was just a driver...and, despite his small stature, extremely popular with women. I wasn't convinced but decided to drop it for the time being. If my free rides were a result of a bit of pimping, who was I to complain?

Their house was only a five minute drive away from the resort, a real town but, by nature of its proximity, home to many of the employees of the four resorts in the area. I'd passed by it on the bus and with Juan several times before but had never actually been over yet. Javier walked me down the little dirt path and opened the gate for me, pushing away their pitbull Rambo who was trying his best to jump up, over and through my body to lick my face. Despite the two strikes of breed and name he had going against him, this leaping and licking did seem to be generally a friendly, un-menacing affair.

A woman who was hanging laundry beside their house seemed very happy to see me when I finally disentangled myself from Rambo. She told me, in English, that Juan was inside and to head in. She looked vaguely familiar to me, and definitely had a family resemblance to Juan and Javier, but I couldn't place her. I found Juan inside and asked him who she was. He looked surprised by the question.

'What do you mean who is she? She's my mom! Don't you recognize her from the resort?'

I stared at him in shock, my mind attempting to organize several thoughts at once. How old is she?!!!! She looks like she could be your sister!! What do you mean she works at the resort?!! Have I met her?!! What? She's a bartender?!!! Was she working during my first trip? She's been working there for 20 years?!! Does she remember me from December?!!! Oh no oh no oh no, has she seen me drunk?!!! Does she think I'm a stupid drunk slutty tourist?!! Does she think I'm nice?!!! Have I given her good tips?!!!!

I knew that Juan was a momma's boy, he'd already told me many stories about his mom and expressed his deep love and respect for her several times. I had been looking forward, albeit nervously, to meeting her and planned to be on my best behavior for that meeting. I was not happy to learn that that first impression had already come and gone several times over drink orders. I peeked my head out the door again to see if any memories of her would flood back now that I knew who she was. Nothing. She smiled another friendly smile at me though and asked if I wanted a coffee...which seemed positive.

Unless, of course, she was planning on poisoning the coffee before I could steal her baby away to Havana. I decided to take a chance. It was really early, I could possibly survive a poisoning but there was no way I could survive this morning without caffeine.

No comments:

Post a Comment