I saw the Lost City with my parents this weekend. Before the movie began, I warned both my Mom and my Dad that it would be a difficult movie for them to watch. I was more worried about my mother than my father, as my Mom has cardiac issues and while she is the prototypical strong and sometimes unbending Cuban woman, she has a sentimental streak. It’s probably where I got it from. And while my old man is a big softie sometimes, I’ve only seen him in tears two, maybe three times in his life.
“Tu tambien vas a llorar,” I told my dad right as the movie began. “You’re gonna cry as well.” I said it more in jest than anything else.
“Me?” he said with a smile on his face. “Nah. I wont cry.”
As we sat there watching the movie, I learned much from my parents.
In the scene where the University students attack the presidential palace, my Mom and Dad recited names:
“That’s where so and so, so and so’s son was killed,” Mom said through tears.
“And so and so’s nephew,” Dad replied. “And Aida’s brother was killed there as well.”
“Remember how we went to tal y tal’s house in Holguin? When they found out their son had been captured after the attacks?”
I’ve read much about the attack on Batista and the Palacio Presidencial before, but hearing my parents name people they knew, sons and nephews and brothers of family and friends, brought it home. Made that event all the more human for me.
During the scene where castro has already usurped power and people on the streets are chanting his name, my old man puts his hand on my arm, looks me right in the eye and says “Your father never once chanted that man’s name. Nunca.”
I heard the story of the bombing of the hotel where my parents were living. “Por poco pierdo a tu padre ese dia,” my mom said. I almost lost your dad that day.
Or the time los Barbudos came to my grandparents house in Bayamo and forced my mother to make cafe for them.
I could go on and on. My parents relived perhaps the most heartbreaking moments of their lives while watching the Lost City. Everything they seemed to have forgotten, everything they had suppressed for years, memories they had long ago hidden away somewhere to mend their souls, all came back as they watched the movie.
“I remember it like it was just yesterday,” my mom kept saying through tears. Como si fuera ayer mismo.
At the end of the movie, as Andy recites Marti with Cuba Linda playing in the back ground, I look over at my Dad and ask “Well, what did you think?”
Dad takes off his glasses and bows his head for a second. His rough from years of hard work herculean fingers gingerly wipe away tears. He once again looks right at me, his eyes are almost blood red.
Then he clenches his lips together, takes a deep breath and says:
“Andy Garcia se la comio pa’l carajo.”