Pajama Party: Cuban Style

In Natalia’s house we are playing musical beds. It is a small apartment. One large bedroom and a smaller one carved out of the living room. The only bathroom is accessed through the large bedroom. The living room has been made smaller by the boxes that line the edges, precious household items waiting to be moved to the apartment upstairs when the construction is finished. My goddaughter Aurora, Rori, has given over her small room to me and is staying with her boyfriend in his parent’s house. She arrives every morning, moves my stuff aside, and checks her email and Facebook on her computer VERY SLOWLY (dial-up connection). Natalia usually sleeps in a double bed with her mother, Maria del Carmen, in the big bedroom but she has a boyfriend now and he lives four blocks away so last night she went there. But in the middle of the night, Iris arrived—a niece from Holguin, a province in the center of the island who is here to do some official business with her passport. I tiptoed through the bedroom in the night to pee and there were two little gray heads in the bed, side by side, where I expected to see one.

Privacy? Throw it out the window. The door to my bedroom doesn’t close all the way, neighbors and family stop by day and night without calling ahead. People sleep wherever there is a slice of bed and blanket. And I love it!

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