Waking in Havana on my second morning here and I am aware of the absence of things: Water (for some random reason there is none this morning in Natalia’s apartment), Hot water (there never is any, they heat water on the stove in a large blackened aluminum pot for everything that needs it—dish washing, body washing, clothes washing, my hairbrush that I left in Brooklyn (oh well, the tousled look is in), all the things I went to buy in the PanoAmerican store a block away that they didn’t have (bubbly water, tomato paste, olives, diet cola—really the shelves were almost bare in the food section, but there was plenty of shampoo and conditioner in the toiletry section—it’s completely random what there is and isn’t).
But the most important and welcome absence is that feeling in the pit of my stomach—a mix of dread and resignation—as I await the news of what HE might have said, done or tweeted since whatever the latest horror was. It’s gone and good riddance. No more tension, anxiety, hand-wringing, outrage–no decisions to make about which of the many protests about all of the issues that need protesting I should choose to respond to today. It’s all still there, I know, and I will go back to it. But for now, I am happy to be in a place where the sun shines in the windows, the roosters crow early, the cold front that has moved in brings temperatures in the 60’s, and if I wait a bit the water will surely come back on.