Life of Sisyphus – Part Eight

The car passes without stopping and she turns her eyes straight ahead, to the deserted road.  She begins to raise her arm to look at her watch, but stops herself.  Knowing what time it is will only make her worry more.  And the worries age her.  Her ex used to say that the you had to look out for the worries more than for the creditors, because you can run from the latter, but you always take the worries with you.  Particularly if it’s about the inevitable necessities, like food, clothing and transportation.  She half smiles and waves her hand in front of her face, as if her cares were a kind of insect and she could drive them away.

Between her place and the wall, spaced prudently apart, others like her are waiting under the sun for some car to pick them up.  There are some pairs, they’re all young girls, friends for sure.  She looks at them with the envy of those who are over twenty.  “Youth, divine treasure, you go and don’t return.”  While watching the line of girls that flank the road she thinks that asking for a lift can be considered a simple form of prostitution.  They need to travel and the boys, whether to be a gentleman or a conquistador, decide based on appearance.  She smiled while remembering the words of a male friend: “The ugly ones, I let them down.”  She knows very well that it helps to have a good figure when it’s time to hitchhike.  With sixteen splendid years nearly lived, in the company of her two best girlfriends, they went everywhere without paying money pay the ride.   And wherever they went they turned the heads of the most indifferent men.  Beautiful, inseparable, co-conspirators.  In the village they were christened the Holy Trinity.  Some said it was for their beauty and others for the exclamations of Blessed Virgin Mary showered on them by the old men in the cafes on Main Street.  Who knows?

A boring Saturday morning, while catching up with the village gossip in the manicure salon, they heard that in the Central Market on Galiano Street in Havana they sold very delicious and fine sweets, which were the sensation of the time.  The manicurist went on painting nails and spreading gossip until lunch time.  After a nap she got up to continue the job.  When the church bell struck four, she saw them come, smiling.  They sat in the same places they’d occupied in the morning, each one with a cardboard box in her hand.  They opened the lids and offered the sweets to her, “Try them, they’re even better than they say.”  The manicurist couldn’t believe that they had been and come back from Havana in the same day.  She asked them to tell her a good story about the trip, thinking to have a new tale to entertain tomorrow’s customers.  She ate a sweet, looked at the three of them and told them, very moved, “You know chicas, to tell you the truth… you’re crazy!”