Author: Gladys Ruacho

Photo Illustration

Not The Way I Once Believed

The airport in Havana is a collection of small, hot buildings, about a quarter mile apart and surrounded by large fields. Our little group is standing outside the Jose Martí Airport, which is reserved for family visiting from the United States. We’re all trying hard not to cry as we joke about whether it’s possible to pack my sister and her kids into our suitcases for the flight home. She’s joked during this trip that being in Cuba as a tourist is the only way it’s tolerable. Cubans aren’t allowed in the airport, so every time the sliding doors open the crowd huddled together in the suffocating humidity screams out their loved ones’ names as they catch a glimpse of them. Sweat trickles down my back as I try to fight the thought that I’m abandoning my family here. I look into my sister’s red eyes and the guilt chokes me, although her face is free of resentment. Nioly is a product of my father’s first marriage and was only three years old in 1980 …