The Cargo Literary magazine today published my essay, “The Land of Lost Time,” in which I reflect on the greatest accomplishment of Cuba’s Revolution.
Pico Iyer has called Cuba “the island of waiting”: Cubans wait for Fidel Castro to die, for an exit visa to leave the country, for goods to arrive to stores.
The check-in line for the 8:45 a.m. flight from Mexico City to Havana wends around large suitcases, shrink-wrapped luggage bales, and a lectern where a handling agent sells Cuban tourist cards and informs passengers the departure is delayed. She is uncertain until when, but probably around nine o’clock—this evening.
“Operational reasons.” She motions for the next in line. I shuffle forward with nostalgia in tow: growing up in the 1980’s socialist Czechoslovakia I must have heard such non-explanations daily. But only now, a quarter-century on, do I register the absurdity. Cubana de Aviación’s check-in attendant confirms the flight will depart at “twenty-one sero-sero.”