My Monday Night Vigil / Yoani Sánchez

I won’t go to sleep, better I stay awake, listen for the phone to ring, waiting for the other end to tell me it’s Spanish National Radio and I’ll be in the air in a few minutes. I lean over the balcony to wake myself up and at this hour I see a city of lights, shadows and silence. A dumpster diver searches through the bin on the corner and the cats fight with him over some can, the remnants of a meal. The flame of the Nico Lopez refinery shines over us and a police car makes its rounds. Not even Rancho Boyeros is awake yet and the few lights of the Plaza of the Revolution make the tower look like a strange and lacy silhouette. It’s almost 4:30 in the morning, soon the distance between Madrid, Ciudad Juarez and Havana will seem very short.

Every Monday I share stories, apprehensions and dreams with Judith Torrea and Juan Ramón Lucas on the radio program “On Days Like Today.” We talk as if we are in a living room, without sipping coffee but with great familiarity. We try to address a topic from the different points of view sparked by living in Mexico, the Caribbean or in Spain. Judith has a sweet voice, but her anecdotes tell of murdered journalists, people killed by gunfire in the streets, missing women. This Spanish journalist, based for several years in Juaritos, has a blog where she denounces the uncontrolled violence in this area bordering on the United States, risking every day being silenced in the worst way.

Juanra, for his part, throws out questions and weaves together a dialog from the contrasts. He is a patient host, knows what he’s talking about and says it well. And I, from here, from my real and figurative early morning hours, try to relate what happened in the last week on this Island. Some events sound surrealistic, as if I am narrating something from a remote past, from a time none of them can now understand. At times we laugh, venturing some optimistic prognostication before saying goodbye. When our chat ends it is already 10:40 in the morning in Spain, but Judith and I are still in darkness. I hang up the phone, turn to distinguish, again, the little red flame of the refinery, and look at the trash bin on the corner to see if, finally, the dumpster diver shared his snack with the cats.

19 September 2011