The breeze that blows through my destiny will never allow me to be whole.
This is a painful realization that hits me on this Saturday morning as Yvonne and I watch a documentary about Cuba on PBS.
The winds of October (or rather the perpetual heat, this year, remnants of a never ending Indian summer) remind me of the upcoming anniversary of my family’s arrival in this country forty-nine years ago. Each of them entering this country with a different history to tell and me with the barely constructed, fragmented story of the baby born in Cuba whose feet never, ever touched Cuban soil.
On this morning where I listen to the stories of our diaspora, pillars and leaders in our communities who speak about their cubanality (my word and my word alone) I am engulfed with this profound grief that emanates from a very reserved place in my soul. I will forever not truly understand the feeling of home.
Yes, I have established roots in all those places where formative events documented the course that would be my life’s trajectory, but unlike Dorothy Gale, another wind challenged individual, I will never be able to say ‘there’s no place like home’ with any definitive certainty.
I don’t know what home is because I left home before it ever became home. The home I knew was the picture depicted in my head drawn from the recollections of my parents, my aunts, my uncles and my grandparents who spoke about a ‘beautiful Cuba’ that was perhaps altered with a Cinerama brilliance that absence tends to skew. I don’t know if they necessarily had a desire to return, but I do know that they spoke of beaches far more beautiful than the ones I knew, architecture far more intricate than the buildings I had ever entered and about a ‘human chispa’ or spark far more vibrant than what I saw on their tired and at times inconsolable exiled faces.
But the winds of adaptation never steered me clear from my ethnicity and nationality for I was forever reminded of my indelible cubanness (again my word) and the mixture of Taino and Spanish blood that defined my Afro-Caribbean DNA markers.
I will forever be Cuban and I will forever remember that my first steps in life were taken outside of my homeland on soil that would inevitably claim me as its own. I would find home, I would find a place, but it would be on specks of borrowed earth where I could never deny my origins as I welcomed new generations into the melting pot that I had helped perpetuate.
There is a tiny bit of my history that was forever stolen away from me by the designs of destiny and an ill conceived revolution. There is no one to blame and there are many on whom I should exude my gratitude for giving me access to freedom of expression and thought. But I will forever be incomplete because that part of me, the defining essence of whom I might have been destined to become in a parallel course of history, that defining essence is gone – never to reconnect with my soul.
It is gone with time, gone with assimilation, gone with adaptation, gone with exile and like the breeze that blows through my destiny, it is gone with the wind, never to return.