Real

Ofelia lived in two worlds. One was the ordinary level of ration lines and bus lines, of streets of rubble, of the blue trickle of electricity that allowed Fidel to flicker on the santrealiatelevision screen, of oppressive heat that made her two daughters spread like butterflies on the cool tiles of the floor. The other was a deeper universe as real as the veins beneath the skin, of the voluptuous Oshun, maternal Yemaya, thundering Chango, spirits good and bad that brought blood to the face, taste to the mouth, color to the eye and dwelled in everyone if they were evoked. Just as drums carried a kola seed that was the soul of the drum, that only spoke when the drum was played, every person carried a spirit that spoke through their own heartbeat if they would only listen. So Ofelia Osorio carried the fire of the sun hidden behind her dark mask and saw with a penetrating light the double worlds of Havana.

—Martin Cruz Smith, Havana Bay

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2 Responses to “Real”


  1. 1 Alexa November 3, 2013 at 12:33 am

    you’re a brave one, sir . . . all credit where it’s due. i don’t know many who are wiling to invoke the deity of thunder as you have done.


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