The other day I was at the home of a neighbor sharing a cafecito and helping to catch up on the housework and care for a sick family member—very stressful tasks for a first-timer. The neighbor woman lives alone and is accustomed to having the television on to “kill the silence” and she didn’t turn it off during our entire visit, so our tasting of the black nectar passed pleasantly, brightened by the sound of the Cubavision channel (the style and phrases are totally intentional). In the midst of our trivial conversation, hearing familiar music, I went to the television to see if I was hearing what didn’t seem possible, and to my surprise it was true, pictures and sound of Gema Corredera and Pável Urquiza* singing, “I would like to stop smoking.” I don’t remember precisely how many years it’s been since such a fun song “stuck” and was played to the point of boredom on the radio and TV. Nor do I remember the exact moment, later, when they were “lost” like Lucas and Lucía and moved on to form part of that legion, silent and invisible, of “gone,” “left” or “aterciopelados” that are so common these days.

Translator’s note:
Gema Corredera and Pável Urquiza are a Cuban duet that started singing together in Havana the 1980s.  They moved to Spain in 1993 and are still together.  YouTube has a video of them singing “
Yo quisiera para de fumar.” Lucas and Lucía is a song by another artist about two young people who steal an airplane…