Guantanamera, a travel memoir, describes a trip with my mother to her birthplace, Guantanamo, Cuba. Upon arrival the romantic vision of Cuba I had since childhood, quickly melted away as I found myself in a military state.
“Why did I decide to take this trip?” I thought to myself as I walked past soldiers wearing surgical masks and carrying semi-automatic weapons.
“Guilt!” I realized.
She had pleaded with me. “Ay Rebecca, I want to show you where I was born before I die.”
She probably assumed I would never go by myself or that this would be another opportunity for a magical mother/daughter bonding experience.
By day two, a walk through downtown Santiago has my mother thinking she is on a death march, while I’m happily exploring the disintegrating colonial architecture. When I decline taking a taxi with her the half-mile back to the hotel, she erupts, thinking I just told her that I don’t love her.
Throughout the trip I find myself playing travel guide or camp counselor, when all I want to do is just experience Cuba. By the end of the trip and multiple “adventures” I realize how my mother’s history has influenced who she is and how it has affected our relationship.
Let me know what you think… I have to pitch this next week! Stay tuned to find out if I hit a line drive out of the ball field!