There are several proverbs that refer to actions that need to be done at the right time and not let it go, among the sayings is: “Where the donkey falls, the sticks are given” or “Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today”. Not having given the clubs to the donkey at the time cost me to lose an interview that could be interesting.
In Armando Mestre neighborhood in Matanzas city lived a man who because of certain characteristics I realized that there was something in him worth knowing and telling. One day I approached him to get interested in an inconsequential matter, a ruse that I used to approach him, since my purpose was to introduce myself to his world.
This gentleman was always accompanied by a cane made from a root of a tree; the support was varnished and showed some elegant sprains. Now I remember, the cane was the reason for the approach. He told me how he acquired it, the name of the tree and other details.
Immediately I wanted to know more about his life and try to get to what I thought was hidden at first glance. I did not say he was black skinned. Then I deduced that if he was black and had lived his youth in capitalism he had a lot to tell.
In the course of the conversation he told me that he had been a rural guard in the government of Fulgencio Batista, immediately I said to myself: “That’s what I wanted to know and I had no prior information.” And more in confidence I released “Casquito” “… Yes, but I did not do anything wrong, that’s why I’m calm”, was his response.
In the conversation I learned that he was of very humble origin, so he thought that by joining the army he would have a means of support and being able to help his family, although the salary he received was miserable. He told me that on one occasion they sent him to the Sierra Maestra. The conversation became interesting.
At that time I did not have a tape recorder at hand, the cell phone had stayed at home and I had nothing to write with me, so I agreed to a new meeting to formalize the conversation that would be in my home.The days passed and the meeting was not held. One morning I woke up with the purpose of looking for him to talk about the unfinished subject. I inquired with some people who occasionally talked with him to tell me about his whereabouts. How painful the news was when he learned that he had died a few days ago.
Then I felt for him, for his family and for not having been able to learn more about that sad episode that many young people dressed in the bloodthirsty yellow uniform that caused so much pain to the Cuban people, even sadder because they saw in the army a way to earn a few pesos, because there was no place to work.