Making an Appearance / Miriam Celaya

My dear friend Marta Cortiza, married to my other friend, the blogger Eugenio Leal, often used the phrase in the title of this brief posting whenever she called me: “Hello Miriam!, How are you? I’m calling just to make an appearance”. And after the usual introduction we would often get entangled in long conversations that covered topics as varied and contradictory as the sociopolitical situation in Cuba and the world, the minutiae of our families, or the exchange of recipes. I found speaking with Martha as easily natural and spontaneous as if we had been born and raised together, and as if we could read each other’s thoughts.

Just a few years were enough to enhance our extraordinary friendship, forged in the toils and blows that being part of the demonized group of dissidents implies in Cuba, running the same risks and having common interests and shared hopes. Marta’s rare personality combines both a strong will and permanent appeal. She is one of those people who, almost without being noticed, with unmatched candor, becomes essential and close in her affections.

Almost a year ago Little Martha, as I call her in jest, left Cuba. She reunited with her children and grandchildren in Miami and left her many friends here part of her cheerful spirit that still accompanies us in our bustle and blogger meetings. She is cofounder of the blogosphere but never started her own blog. She encouraged our work and supported us from its very inception, and I know that she is linked with our destinies so all the alternative Cuban blogs are thus a little bit hers too.

For this reason and because this is the first time that I cannot congratulate her personally on her birthday this September 26th, I wanted to dedicate this small note as a poor present. If any readers walking the streets of Miami recognize this lady with her warm smile, her honest eyes and her white hair, let it be known that she is a friend of the Cuban free bloggers, that she is a part of us, and that we love her dearly. Here’s to your health, Little Martha! May you have many more, and that I will soon be able to hear your voice on the phone often, uttering that phrase, so nice and familiar: “hello, Miriam, just making an appearance!”

Translated by Norma Whiting

September 26 2011