Stories of My Neighbors (IV) / Ángel Santiesteban

Photo: Rómulo Sánz

HE WILL BE LOOKING FOR “residence” in the Czech Republic to achieve the dreams of a better life. She will travel, for “family reunification” to Miami. They have been a couple for four years. And in love. Their eyes shine just looking at each other. They have seen reflected in others so many who have left and know the dirty tricks that fate plays. But now they intend to cheat it. She needs, she pleads, that when she arrives at the airport he will no longer be on the island: she doesn’t have the strength to go first and leave him behind. He wants — he needs — to please her, so he took passage a day before her trip.

When they have managed to get out, then they will re-unite.

She will join her mother and sister waiting for her in Florida. He has two sons in Italy. Who denies that a man with money can not but love! His ex-wife broke off their marriage and dragged the children along on her adventure. Now he looks at photos while they play on the playground in Milan. He says he will not continue to collect photos as if his chest was an album. His sister is in Slovenia. His niece in Madrid. Friends everywhere.

Now he’s tired, and those who are abroad have joined together to pay for a marriage with an ancient Czech woman who has no money to pay for heating. The old woman has a son in Argentina and a grandson in Turkey. She wonders where her great-grandson will live.

The old woman is unaware that her great-grandson is already growing in the womb of a Kazakh raised in Russia, where she doesn’t want to return, where her parents would continue to mistreat her. Nor does she have the money to go anywhere. She doesn’t remember whom she slept with the night she got pregnant, but she suspects she will have a child who will never know. An old Icelandic has offered the Kazakh and her son a peaceful life on his island of ice.

This child who carries Kazakh and Czech blood will meet, in Sydney, the granddaughter of the man who lives in the Czech Republic. The dream of these two young people will be to go to live on an island in the Caribbean, called Cuba. To elope with his fiancée, the old woman’s great-grandson will need to steal a car to get to the port from where a boat will sail to Europe, and later another one to the Caribbean.

The two young people, a little stoned behind the wheel of the fleeing car, will not see the man from the Czech republic, now living in Sydney, crossing the street to get to the store. When the old woman’s great-grandson notices his silhouette it will be too late, the crash will throw him to the asphalt, his last thoughts will be of that girl with the sparkle in her eyes whom he lost touch with, shortly after arriving in Europe.

Meanwhile, those young people try to reach a port to get to the island of their dreams.

October 1, 2010