I’m frequently thinking about one image that I describe like this: a home where the grandmother, grandfather, a young married couple and their little child are living together. The young couple is getting ready to go to work, in a hurry because they are late; the child is still sleeping; the grandma and the grandpa get up at five and something in the morning following their old habits; they go hastily to the kitchen and prepare the coffee pot, and while the coffee strains they put something on the bread for the snack of the child, and for the mother of the child and her husband, to avoid them going out without having breakfast.
Dammit! A little coffee has been spilt on the tablecloth because of the hurry! Think about it! The sheerest tablecloth! The young woman grumbles warning her mother to be more careful next time.
They go to the garage almost running; they take the car out, and go away swiftly. The grandparents and the boy remain at home; the grandparents know perfectly well that a very hard, but normal day is before them. However they are familiar with this situation.
The old woman in my image, a slight-looking woman, suffers from arthritis and hypertension, so she has to go almost every day to the doctor’s office; her small hands are showing clear signs of deformity. The old man can barely walk. He has a spinal problem. However, he is sturdier than her. This is confirmed by his big hands that used to carry enormous weights.
The grandma will go to the bedroom with the sweetest words to wake up the child who is a third-grade student; the child is a little reluctant to wake up, so, he receives a new stream of love. She gave the child his breakfast, dressed him and gave him to her husband: Let’s go old man it’s getting late for morning activity at the school!
And the old man took the little hand of the child, resigned himself to the habit, and they both go out to go to school. The child feels shelter and protection in that very big hand. They arrive at school. He kisses the child and tells him the same phrase: Be good my little son, and give a little kiss to the teacher as soon as you see her.
The old man comes back home with great difficulty. He feels that his back is screaming with the pain. However, when he finally arrives home, he has to help the old woman.
It’s 9:00 o’clock in the evening. The soap opera will begin soon. The grandchild is already sleeping after the usual kiss. And then, the young couple arrives home.
She says that she is very tired and her husband says that he is overwhelmed by meetings and reports. They both inquire about the food that the grandma has prepared and now she has to put on the table for them, interrupting the beginning of the soap opera that she was waiting for so much. Then, the couple stick their head in the bedroom where their child is sleeping. Of course, they only stick their heads in; they don’t go to the child’s side because it’s not necessary.
Before going to the couple’s bedroom, she asked her mother if she has removed the spot that the poor old woman got on the tablecloth when she spilt the coffee in the morning. She received a Yes, and the awaited kiss is forgotten, however, it doesn’t matter because they are used to that!
And, once in the bedroom, the young couple, after some kisses and everything else, talk about the following day, about the things that are expecting for them, the next holidays that they will enjoy, without the child, of course, because if they take the child with them, it would be a torment and they could not rest or anything else.
Meanwhile, in the bedroom of the old couple there is an atmosphere of tenderness; he caresses her delicate hands and he receives a kiss in compensation. They talk about their memories, not only those delightful memories of the time when they met each other and they decided to live together. They cannot forget those hard working years: he, carrying out those heavy bales on his back; she, with the unnumbered hours of working as a servant in the house of the rich people.
And, the only worry for them was that belly that was growing; and the uncertainty from the possibility of being incapable of facing up to the birth of the baby girl if one of them would lose their job.
And, they are going to sleep little by little surrounded by those memories. He holds her hand as if avoiding that she could ever abandon him. And a tear is running over her wrinkles. And at the end of my image, a furious question arises: What can we do to avoid my adorable elderly people any suffering, so that they can enjoy their rest in peace. The family has the floor, and must answer.
Silvio J Blanco, Radio Cubana
October 22, 2015