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Contemporary Adventure Drama

Six months earlier:


Ahhhh, let's talk about a virus that shut the entire world down, just like that, it seemed. No large crowds, no going out to restaurants, nothing, get what you need and go home and stay home. That was the message the Government laid out for everybody. The one thing that was allowed at the beginning, was travelling. It was a time of panic, a time of fear. Julian decided to go on a little family holiday. He and his soon to be ex wife Vivian decided on joint custody - between themselves to save the expense of lawyers and their fees. It was difficult enough. The year was long and non-promising of what lay ahead. He made the travel arrangements.


Julian sat out on the veranda, after trying for weeks to get home from Cuba, deciding on a short winter vacation during the pandemic. Not a good idea. He realized now the consequences of his choices. After the schools shut down, he brought his two kids with him, deciding on a week holiday by the sea. Landing in Havana, then off to Santa Monica, a small isolated village with few tourists and - even less with a virus going around and lockdowns.


The kids, his daughter Blaine 12, and his son Locke off school now, his ex giving him permission. they were both doing well in their grades, had friends, but the separation was difficult for them too. Now, here they were, stuck in Cuba, after weeks turning to months, trying to get home. Canada was shut down for travellers, 14-day isolation periods and hotel stays. Out of pocket. Julian couldn't afford the money for that, and even if he could, try to get a flight directly home to Ottawa. Impossible. Havana was in the red, Santa Clara had break outs now too. Luckily, a nice family took them in, they had a farm just outside the village there. It was comfortable, close to the local markets, but food was scarce, government handouts scimpy. Stale bread and vegetables if they were not bug eaten were expensive. They all lost weight. Rice was plentiful, and somehow the mother managed to get pork, she fried plantation banana's outside in the back yard on the makeshift grill. While the pigs rolling in mud next door looked as bored as they were.


"I want to go home." Locke cried, but even he knew it was fruitless, his tears wasted on the old pillows he slept on. He was afraid of spiders, and a gecco crawled on the ceiling, watching him with beady eyes. Locke hated it here, missing the luxuries of a hot bath in a clean tub. Oh, there was a tub beside the house, rusted, that had to be filled with boiling water from the kitchen. Lucianna worked hard, she did all the cleaning and cooking, and providing food for her family. Born and raised Cuban she knew how to survive the island and its poverty. Her own kids were tough, Miguel and Samantha, a little older than his own. Her big arms and stocky waist were signs of her age, and her long black hair was kept tied back. Her husband died in an accident, a bus hitting his rickshaw one day, two years before. Every day she prayed, someday being back with him, the Cubans had their own idea's and mythologies, while they were Christians, studied the Bible, they had strange custom's and fears.


*******


"As long as it's only for the week, bring them back here right after you land." Vivian ordered. She did not approve of them going.

"Ok, no problem, it will be okay, don't worry." He'd promised her, times were harder now they had shared custody. It was a verbal agreement between them, they had decided not to involve lawyers. Lawyers cost money.


"Daddy, when are we going home, I miss school." Nine year old Locke asked him, the child was a beauty. A pretty boy, an angelic face with strawberry blond hair and big bright blue eyes that shone with life. Julian was the reserved one, he loved to read and play with his lego sets. He had the talent to put together things and would sit for hours making monsters, or building shopping malls with the small colorful pieces. Blain on the other hand, was the more sociable one of the two. She enjoyed her friends and the school activities. She begged to join Girl Guide's, and thrived in all they offered, earning her badge's that were sewn on her uniform. They were night and day, as different as lemon and chocolate these two.


*****


"Is there nothing going to Canada at all?" Julian was able to call the airport in Havana from a house phone. Sometimes it worked. He was beyond exhausted, bored, everyday scratching out ideas to get his kids home. A boat to Florida keys? Then the borders were closed too. If they did get through, then there was the hotel quarantine and the 14-day isolation period. Even that wasn't the difficult part. It was the hotel stay. He'd have to borrow the money. His copy editing job at the newspaper barely kept him going. He sighed.

*****

The weeks were turning into months now. Summer came and went. Still no change as far as the travelling went. The kids were dark now, tanned deep from the sun's ray's, it was always hot here, except when the rains came.


"We are stuck here forever aren't we dad?" His daughter held her dinner of beans and rice, boiled together with spices in her hands, her fingers thin and browned. She looked older. Her birthday was coming up, he would have to have a party for her.


"Yes, we will go home, I know it's a hard time now, it seems like we won't but this will end trust me." He'd stared hard at her. She was growing up, turning into a beautiful lady. And so protective of Locke!!!! He was proud of both of them. They had the reality of not coming home to deal with, they missed their mom too.

"I heard on the radio the government said another 3 more weeks and we can go home if things continue like they are. I hope so." He told them, several days later, after hearing the news. His heart lifted, his ears hardly believing the words.

"I am going to make the arrangements as soon as I can, we are going to be the first on that plane."


"Now you all are saying my hospitable generosity isn't good enough here?" Lucianna cried, in pretense of being upset.

"Oh noooo. You are like our second mother. And I love your fried plantanons" Blaine replied in exaggerated tone.


"Ahh, so you just like my buena comido? She continued teasingly, she loved them all, they were a nice family and hoped they would get home to their real lives. But for now, they were her guests. Of course he gave her money, to pay for food and what other little necessities they were able to get. Cuba was she could sense the little one was frustrated and lonely. They needed to be with their mother. Vivianne felt so sad for them all. Even she - who had her connections here could do nothing against a government order like this virus had, the impact everyone knew was there, in their faces, every single waking moment. This island was no exception.


She pulled out her cooking pots, and began to prepare the boiled rice and pork for dinner. Outside the parrots called out, a wind picked up, it was going to be a rainy night.........


"Stuck here forever, until the life is sucked out of us." Julian told the palm tree - he enjoyed sitting under it, the shade a comforting relief in the heat. He wanted to feel cold again, missed the season change's.


"I hope we are not stuck here forever." Blaine heard him. She sat down next to him, cuddling, the big tree trunk offering some support. The mosquito's were hungry, she checked for the ugly red ants that often hovered around, waiting to bite anything in their path's. She really hated those ants.


"I miss having pizza night's, and my friends." She told her father. He put his arm around her. He wished he could just snap his fingers and off they went, over the vast ocean and going home.


"I know honey, I honestly never should have brought you two here, that was a huge mistake on my part. I just thought it would be okay." He said sadly, the tiredness evident in his voice. He felt so old then, helpless in his guts.


"Well, we are so lucky to have Vivann take care of us though arent we? At least we are not stuck on the streets in Havana, ugg." Blaine shuddered, he could feel her stress and her hot little body as they sat there together.


"I am doing everything I can. In the meantime, we have to make the best of things here. Were you able to talk to your mom?" He knew they had been trying to get some phone connection, sometimes the wind made that difficult here.


"Yeah, she is pissed you know, I doubt she will ever forgive you." Blaine informed him.

"I bet she won't, time will tell." He answered his now so grown up daughter. Seemed like yesterday she was a child, learning to ride her bike and swimming lessons.

"Hey, want to go to the beach? I can get Henrico to take us?" He asked her.


"Sure, that would be fun, maybe we can swim with the dolphins too?" Blaine loved animals. She would save them all if she could. She was the sensitive child of the two.

"We'll see about that. Not sure if we can afford it."


He told her honestly. He was worried about that too. He barely had enough left now to get them home at all. Of course he had their return tickets, but still needed some left in his account. The office he worked for started him on EI, but that just covered their stay here. He felt the tension yet again, the worries and stress of not being able to get home. Never again would he make a whimsical decision like this. He would be more careful, but then, nobody expected a pandemic either to happen. None of this was the norm.



June 13, 2021 13:29

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2 comments

Tricia Shulist
19:37 Jun 19, 2021

Interesting take on not being able to get home. I like that both the kids are sure that they are NEVER going to get home. Thanks.

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Marianna Mills
22:37 Jun 19, 2021

so glad you liked it, it is actually based on true facts, but alas, they are coming home, some friends of mine, its a story. cheers

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