The days passed quietly, sometimes almost wordlessly.
I’d usually wake before my mother. I didn’t sleep well in Cuba, it was hot; my mother can’t tolerate air conditioning; I’d toss in sweaty sheets as my personal black box of voices spun its tedious reels.
I’d wake, tangled in sheets, to the relief of a delicate sepia filigree of light coming in from the patio.
Slip into capri pants, a light cotton shirt, sandals. Write a note for my ma, emerge into luscious Caribbean colour: purple and pink bouganvilla; the lime green tracery of palms; pale blue sky.
I’d walk, slowly, carefully, to the hotel bar, savouring the citrus scent of the air. Uno cappucinno por favor. Cuban coffee: thick, sweet and bitter.
Ignore the tourists ordering pina coladas at eight in the morning, and their jocular, awkward speech. Sit on the patio and watch the lemon light turn to deep gold, sipping coffee, writing in my journal.
Wait for my mother, dressed in newly purchased cruise wear, finding her slow, ceremonious way to where I’m sitting.
The day would unfold, like the slow-motion opening of a flower, temporary and grace-filled.