No more than 21, pretty and restrained, fresh skin, clean eyes. She was out of place, a struggling flower in a cement yard, tending the food counter at the tiny gulag inspired airport. Her tiny face heavy on her fist, staring at a spot on the floor counting the tiles, everyone having already purchased their puffy ham-flavored chips and second rate cola.
I sat in my broken plastic chair, aching to see her smile, to know it was possible. I wanted to ask her if she was in love, my fingers crossed for that gift. A hope that the melancholy was boredom of a young girl who, at the worker’s bell, would shake off the armor of loneliness and uninspired surroundings and run to the parking lot where her Romeo sits waiting on his 87’ Czech cafe racer, hugging and grinning like fools as they speed off into the muggy Havana night.
I hoped it, as our plane number squawked through the blown out ceiling speaker and the clanky Americanos fussed and burped their way onto the plane. Rihanna’s dancin’ club song beating through the windowless fluorescent room trying desperately to convince us that love is possible even in the most hopeless of places. Toe-tapping glittery glam and the impossibility of a hollywood kind of love, feeling farther away than ever.