30 December 2007

The Sigh Bomb

Cuban gatherings, especially my family holiday gatherings, are LOUD.

My family gatherings are smaller now, and a lot quieter.

But, back when all my aunts and uncles were still alive, and before my cousins and their kids had scattered to the four corners, they were deafeningly loud. Inevitably the din reached a collective “sigh” at one point causing a strange uncomfortable quietness. Usually an elderly aunt or uncle, who was sitting innocuously smiling tucked away in a corner chair, would give out a deep heartfelt sigh.

Sometimes the sigh was accompanied by a “bueno…….” that trailed off. Then everybody would just sit there and stare at the floor in silence as if watching where the “o” in the bueno had trailed off too.

I always noticed this “bummer” of a sigh when I was younger. It was unnerving, unsettling.

People would nervously scatter from the epicenter of the sigh bomb and eventually, led by the kids, everything would be back to normal with everybody trying to scream over each other.

This year right after dinner, between the meal and the flan and the turrones, I let out the sigh. I can’t really describe it, though I’ve experienced it many times before. It’s like a something deep inside of me aligned with another part of me very, very far and for a split second became whole again. And then the sigh.

Cuban melodrama, rum induced nostalgia, mojo generated heartburn? I don’t know.

And I know I’m really disappointed in her right now…but this happened to start playing right after the sigh bomb ….

De mi tierra bella, de mi tierra santa,
oigo ese grito de los tambores y los timbales al
cumbanchar.
Y ese pregón que canta un hermano,
que de su tierra vive lejano
y que el recuerdo le hace llorar,
una canción que vive entonando
de su dolor, de su propio llanto,
y se le escucha penar.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

La tierra donde naciste
no la puedes olvidar
porque tiene tus raíces
y lo que dejas atrás.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.

Siguen los pregones, la melancolía.
Y cada noche junto a la luna sigue el guajiro entonando
el son.
Y cada calle que va a mi pueblo,
tiene un quejido, tiene un lamento,
tiene nostalgia como su voz.
Y esa canción que sigue entonando
corre en la sangre y sigue llegando con más fuerza al
corazón.

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da
en medio del alma cuando tú no estás.
La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal.
La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

That's it:

La tierra te duele, la tierra te da en medio del alma cuando tú no estás. La tierra te empuja de raíz y cal. La tierra suspira si no te ve más.

And the words turned the sigh into a tear and when I heard the silence being broken by “Daddy are you OK?” , I coughed and pretended I was chocking on the sidra.

And I said "That's bitter"..."Que amargura"..to be exact.

2 comments:

Juan Cuellar said...

That's our drama Gusano. La tierra te duele cuando poco a poco se muere porque ya no estas. Y es que aunque muera, dentro de nosotros siempre vivira.

Don't forget that.

This year is the year of the resurection, tierra adentro.

Best wishes,

Juan

Marta said...

Se me salieron las lagrimas.
Japi Niulliar, my friend. =D