Writer Kebir Mustafa Ammi takes a trip to Cuba, where he finds an old sewing machine in a hotel that throws him into childhood and reminds him of a job his father did not really know. This machine, which he does not mourn, is capable of weaving a moving frame.
In April last year, I had a disturbing story in Santa Clara, about three hundred kilometers southwest of Havana. It was a long time when I wanted to go to Cuba. I wasn't there for Guevara. But for the country – the music, Hemingway …
I took an old taxi, owned by its owner, Buick, in red, leather interior, like in the old Capra or Hawks films. It should have been no less than one million kilometers away, but its chassis was strong, promising to run a second round of the clock. I stopped in Santa Clara before ordering any further. I was thinking about Hamza, who spent his early years in Trotskinism before finally turning to politics, becoming a wise businessman, and who sits somewhere between Miami and Vancouver. He kept saying that I don't understand politics.
I arrived in Santa Clara on April 23 at about 2 pm There were emperors in the sky. Not the city. It's not hard to think back to October 67 when we heard about death commander, We were fourteen or fifteen years old. Guevara's death brought us good news. We didn't know he had blood on his hands. He had the purity of a saint in our eyes. Pig episode in the Gulf, the old ones remember it in Taza. The Cubans showing with the Americans, we were happy.
The end of Guevara was the end of something, but it undeniably added to this young leader's aura. When Richard Fleischer's film with Omar Sharif was shown in Coliseum, Hamza beat the recollection of the troops to explain that it was a historic day and that we had to reunite, in every imaginable way, 1DH 15 centuries to rush us to the big hall and see. The film didn't leave me with an unforgettable memory. But it's a different story.
Fifty years later in Santa Clara, I thought about it. I had the opportunity to visit a friend's Guevara Museum, which I owe as a tribute to our young years. One young student wanted to know if I liked Cuba and what it means to be a friend of the Guevara of Morocco. I communicated, quite skillfully, so as not to disturb him. He didn't let go, and he asked me directly about my interest in the Castro revolution. I don't know how I came to tell him about the rich and the poor. I had no intention of lecturing him, making fun of Mars. But I probably had, as Hamza would say, a bad choice. The young student was mistaken. He shook me with an arsenal of shocking resolutions, before interrupting me, saying that he had not come here to hear my nonsense. He believed I didn't know why I wanted to encourage him to give up his exile. What made him think about it? If he had read in my mind and heard that I, the prophetic words of Bethel, would have repeated, in particular: Leave it if you need to leave; stay where necessary, It must have hurt him deeply. I couldn't find words to apologize for. He was furious. I was confused. I wondered what my friend Hamza would say to this young man. But Hamza today has a gold watch and little time to waste. He was sending the young man his favorite studies to learn to have long teeth and to become a dragon.
After that I walked around the city. I returned to my hotel. I was living in a dormitory at another time, on the narrow street, Maestra Nicolosa. Everything was from another era. The furniture, the objects, the least curiosity … It was an old colonial home run by a man in his fifties, most welcome. He was a former doctor. He was smiling, but he was hiding the deep wound. He wanted to write and paint. But all this, he told me, was not a form of art transformation. He also traveled a lot. He inherited this Moorish style house with a pyramid where beautiful lush plants grew, and lupins, azaleas, clematis, hydrangeas … It was a small piece of paradise in the trees with red, green and blue birds. There were old carved oak tables, objects, cars, radio from other times, pickups, jokes.
We talked for a long time. The owner of the house told me his life. It was his wife who decided to make this beautiful building a guest house. He showed me two black and white photos of this woman. He was sweet. He was tall, elegant and brown, wide open to the world and at the same time keeping him at a distance. I thought about Ava Gardner Hairdresser with bare feetHe died in 1993. Loyal to this woman, whom she passionately loved, the homeowner continued to receive visitors from all over the world.
In the room I occupied in this splendid hotel, when the old Singer car drew my attention, I thought for a moment that none of them were true, real, and that tiredness made me see things that didn't exist. In his office in Taza, my father had "Singer" sewing machines that looked like what was there. I accompanied him once to Chez to buy one of those cars. We made our way through both the black Citroëns. I should have been eight years old.
This machine in Santa Clara was a perfect replica of everything my father had in his studio, and it had the serial number in two letters that matched the initials of his name. Is it possible that he decided to pay his respects? I thought back to my father. He seemed like a cruel teacher. That's how I remember him. She wore dark blue suits, often with yellow or white stripes. She was always dressed in nine. He lived in Paris for a while. In the late 20's. She had her diploma cast, Place Vendome, on October 8, 1931, before opening her sewing workshop in Taza. He knew the beautiful era of Paris. I liked to think that he had met authors I liked, like Alejo Carpentier, who had come in the footsteps of his ancestors living in Cuba. Paris shook with all its fires. The capital of France was creative, bright …
I don't know what my father thought about all of this, and did he realize that he was living in Paris at a crucial moment. I didn't know him well, I often tried to rebuild it afterwards. That's why, and especially so, this novel, which is becoming a writer, needs to be rebuilt. We use the slightest hint, we leave nothing to rotate. He had small turtle glass that made him look serious. He didn't laugh much. It is from my mother that I inherited the taste of jokes. He had a lot of humor. That was what allowed us to go through difficult times when my father died suddenly, overcome by the troubles of 1962. I was going to my tenth anniversary, it was one day when it fell, I remember we were helpless. He had to sell his sewing workshop and his cars as quickly as possible. She was nine years old, but I was mostly attached to one of them. He was near the entrance to the workshop. He gave me a piece of thread, a piece of cloth, and I was ready to work, I wanted to believe that the art of sewing was no secret to me. It's a peculiar noise that drives the car, it sounds like no one else.
I remember one person, I will never forget, the man who bought the car and took it on the hand car he had to rent on that occasion. He was magnificent, he had the appearance of a general on the battlefield, whom nothing could resist, he was vindictive and conqueror, a rabbit's beak was casting a shadow on his glory. I was watching her holding her fists and not allowing her to show any tears. I knew his face wholeheartedly. I wanted to find him someday. I saw my father's car depart from the grief, silent pain. He disappeared abruptly at the end of the street, ending at the slope, where his childhood horizon began to break.
I wanted so much to become a teacher like my dad. I felt that I was being deprived of something essential in my profession and that I could never be the person I dreamed of. That's why I have a disproportionate passion for clothes. I like to write clothes in the smallest detail, up to … frame.
I've never lamented this car. I grew up and was constantly thinking about this machine. I don't know why I convinced myself that one day I would find her. I was there, in my thoughts, in my room, in Santa Clara, when the owner of the house knocked on my door and told me that there was someone out there asking to see me. It was the young student I volunteered at the Guevara Museum. He was looking for me all over town and found me at a hotel.
He was giving a stamp. There was joy in his face. He had changed. It was for the occasion. She wore a white shirt and shiny leather with her old leather shoes to give it a slight look. He allowed me to hear, as if sending me, but very kindly that his favorite desire was to live in an imperialist state. I didn't tell her that she was perfectly free to do what she wanted and that she didn't need my blessing.
He left as if he had won a cup he had long wanted. He thought that he had dropped me off, and that had given him endless joy. He quietly closed the door.
I heard he was dying away.
A light step, like the move of exiles.
All this deeply moved me.
The homeowner came to see if everything was OK. He gave me a bottle of water for the night. He left. I didn't lock the door of my room. I went to bed: There was music everywhere in the city. Shadows, like unmolested soldiers, ran to the ceiling and the walls until dawn. Leaving Santa Claus, I had a hard time. I wanted to believe with all my heart that I had found my father's car, which we had sold at the same time as his shop was in ruins.
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