The Straits of Liberty

By Hudson Saffell

Sometime in the autumn of 2036

I remember the way it used to be, distinctly. I remember foremost the automobiles and when they first began to arrive on the island. They had been built in the forties and fifties. I remember the way they soon became to look on the outside body: rusted, some only painted with primer. But on the inside, let me tell you, running like a top. As a boy I would sit and watch my father create many of the repair parts for these very automobiles. He was a self-employed machinist and worked out of a small shed behind our apartment building. My family struggled then. Ma & Pa never lived to see the new Cuba. But about the automobiles, there came to be nearly 60,000 of these on our island! Now they still can be found but many have sold to collectors on the mainland. Well, I guess it wasn’t called the mainland back in those hardship-shaped days. Heh, it almost seems now as if Cuba has always been a United States territory.

How can I forget about the food rationings? Of course a young boy likes to eat, you know, and hearing about the overflowing cornucopia of foods about ninety miles north of my hometown of Habana, well, this would infuriate me! Of course my love of baseball outweighed all my grips and gripes. Baseball was much our pastime just as the mainland’s. A very proud sport for us, you know? I do not forget much of my childhood. Maybe I should forget some things but one cannot pick and choose. But I am indebted to God for enabling me passage to United States as young vital man, and citizenship with individual freedom. And I am proud to say that now, in this beautiful season, and the six seasons before it, my Cuban brothers and sisters have too experienced true individual freedom. And the country is at peace, as an island in the sea should be. I have been in United States so long, and have waited so long, and now, I can visit La Habana, and proudly say that I am still standing on U.S. soil.

“Grandpa, will we see the bridge soon?”

“Yes, Torger. It is there. You can see the entrance approaching–we are at the tippy-toe of Key West.”

The Estrecho de Libertad Bridge was modeled similarly to The Bay Bridge that spans The Chesapeake Estuary within the Atlantic coastal region of the United States. Taking nearly five years to complete, the newly constructed bridge is now a standing symbol to the belated, logical union of Cuba and the U.S. Its architecture is magnificently strong, hulking and reinforced to specifications of Naval architects. The six lane bridge crosses 20 miles of water with two dual ports and spacious parking areas, all flanked by public pit stop venues. High speed watercrafts ferry passengers of all nationalities and vehicles of all shapes and sizes to and from Havana in style. And as trade with the U.S. continues to flourish, the bridge enables Cuba to maintain New Growth communities, educational facilities, and most importantly, a massive boom in the economy.

“I can’t wait to get on the boats, Grandpa!”

“Patience Torger, sit in your seat, we’re still on bridge. You’re making me feel like I am watching last inning of seven game World Series.”

“I see them! I see them!”

“Okay, we are here now. Now we wait for our turn. I know how much you like to wait.”

“Grandpa they’re waving us on! We don’t have to wait!”

“It is your lucky day son, here we go. Get ready to hit the waves like water skier, eh?”

The automobile advanced over the ramp and was guided into chocking position. The high speed watercraft soon lunged south into the Straits of Liberty, the water whizzing by, translucent and glistening under the burning sun. The seventy miles seemed to disappear very quickly, although several hours had passed and the sky was darkening orange—the water black and blue.

“I see it Grandpa! I see it! Is that Cuba?”

“Yes Torger. But we have not left home.”