I couldn’t believe it! How dare she! I was her best friend, I left the party early for her! Its not my fault that her father was stupid enough to try hiding valuables from La Revolución. “La llevo a casa y luego ella me culpa … ¿quién se cree que es?” I mumbled. “Who does she think she is?”
“No te preocupes cariño, todo estará bien. Esos gusanos obtuvieron lo que se merecen,” my mother stated. “They made their choice and now they are suffering the consequences,” Mama looked at me. “Mi hija quirrida, you should be focused on Monday. I know you and your brother will do great things for La Revolución.” She smiled at me. “Olvídate de Lucía, forget about her, you’ll make new-loyal-friends while you are deployed, No te preocupes.”
“De acuerdo mama,” I said. How was I supposed to forget about Lucia, she is my best friend…I hope she still is.
“Que?” I yawned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
“We’re here,” my brother pointed out the window. I looked out. I saw a small town and a few children looked out from their porches at us. They seemed to be curious and excited.
“¿Estás listo para hacer tu parte en el crecimiento de la revolución?”
“Claro que si!” Everyone on the bus cheered.
“Perfecto, we set up and hopefully start classes tomorrow. Let’s move out!”
“There is nothing better than supporting your country, right Ivette?”
“Nada,” I replied. My brother was right, nothing was better than serving one’s country, and that is exactly what I going to do. I just hope Lucia will come to realize this to…and soon.
As time passed my hopes of Lucia began to fade. In her letters she has been telling me that Fidel was wrong about America; that is wasn’t as bad as he made it sound. She even began defending los Americanos. I couldn’t believe it. Lucia my best friend in the whole world, was calling Fidel Castor a liar. She was betraying her country, her people, me, by siding with los Americanos. I don’t know if my telling her that I was…raped…by a brigadier made her hate La Revolución, I told her- Le dije que no era culpa de Revolution que un tipo pensara que ella podía hacer lo que él me hizo. ¡Le dije que no culpara a la Revolución! ¡Le dije!
“Estas bien Ivette?” My brother asked me.
“Si, si, estoy bien,” I replied. I guess I wasn’t convincing enough because mi hermano sat down next to me, clearing waiting for me to tell him the truth. I turned away from him, watching a few of the children. They were playing, running and screeching, having the time of their lives. It reminded me of how Lucia and I used to play. I remember believing that we would be best friends no matter what…I never thought that-
“Pensando en ella?”
“De quien?” I pretended I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Hermana, yo no soy estupido. I know you are thinking of Lucia. You really need to forget about her. She is a gusano, just like her parents,” he sighed. “I know the two you were very close at one point…but, Ivette, that point has passed, the two of you cannot be friends as long as she is in Los Estados Unidos, y her parents stand against el Revolución… Lo siento.”
“I know. I know. It’s just that…we’ve been friends for so long, I never thought that it would end this way.”
“Lucia and her family are traitors! You shouldn’t worry or feel bad for them; esos gusanos obtuvieron lo que se merecen,” he stated. Placing a hand on my slouched shoulder.
That was the same thing mamá had told me the day Lucia’s papí was arrested. They were getting what they deserved. But Lucia didn’t want to be sent to America, her parents made her. Lucia wasn’t a traitor, her parents where, and she was just caught in the middle. But, now she was defending the Americans and their capitalist government. She had even implied that she agreed with her parents. Or I thought she did. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe, maybe I missed read what she wrote. There was no way my friend Lucia was a traitor, was there?
My brother patted my back before reentering our house. I looked at Lucia’s house. I could see her mother sitting on her porch. You could tell from her position that she was in anguish. It didn’t take long for word to spread that her husband had been badly injured in an accident. She sat there all alone, light from the moon washing over her like a spot light. I could tell if she was crying or not, but either way it was clear she wanted to. I had no idea if Lucia knew about her father or not, but I was pretty sure if she did know she would blame it on el Revolución. “Los padres poisoned her,” I whispered to myself, not taking my eyes off of Mrs. Alverez. “They filled her head with lies, lies that I am trying to reveal to her! This is all their fault-gusanos! I will save Lucia from the lies of her parents! I will!”
Lucia and I continued to write-and to be frank-I could not believe what I was reading. She sounded less and less like Lucia and more and more like an Anit-Federalist. She even wrote that she liked life there in America! “Que que! No puede ser! Lucia …” I thought carefully how I was going to respond to this. I didn’t want to lose my friend, but it seemed that this was what was going to happen no matter what I did… Its time. I told myself. Es hora de que me levante. Lucia tiene que elegir. Ella tiene que volver a casa y unirse a las brigadas. Ella necesita regresar a Cuba y apoyar a el Revolución. Y si ella no lo hace-and if she doesn’t then our friendship will be over, simple as that. I wrote these words on the paper: “Lucia, you have to come home. You never should have left. You need to pledge you allegiance to your country and people-to El Revolución, if you don’t…” I breathed deep, but continued writing, “-If you don’t, you and I cannot and will no longer be friends.”
The moment that letter was sent I felt a sense of relief, an odd sense of peace. Now, it was all up to Lucia.
I never heard back from her. This is when I truly began to believe the words of my parents and brother, Lucia and her family…were Anti-Revolutionaries…and my enemies. MY growing suspicion was only feed when news got out that Lucia’s parents were trying to get out of the country. ¡Cobardes estúpidos! Ni siquiera puedo quedarme para obtener lo que merecen. Gusanos! ¡Los odio! Not only did they not support their country, but they took away my best friend! Because of them Lucia was gone. Because of them she thought el Revolución was some sort of great evil! “Espero que ninguno de ellos tenga permiso para irse,” I stated at the dinner table.
“La madre ya tiene permiso para salir de Cuba. Pero no a su esposo, y él nunca lo hará,” Papí replied.
“Que que?!” I exclaimed. “Why? They shouldn’t be able to leave, they’re traitors! They should rot in jail!”
“Si mi hija, they should be…but it is not our place to question the government,” he said.
“But nothing Ivette!” My mother said in a stern voice. “You father is right! You never question the government! Do you understand?!”
I woke early that morning, I decided to spy on Lucia’s parents to see what they were up to, but what I saw was worse than catching them breaking the law. I saw that the house was empty. There was no sign of Lucia’s mother, who was usually awake at this time working away in the kitchen. There was also no sign of her father, who would usually try to walk-to no avail-against his wife’s wishes.
“Jesús!” I whispered, trying to wake my brother up.
“Caramba Ivette, do you know how early it is?!” He grumbled.
“The Alverez family is gone!”
“What?!” He questioned, jumping out of bed.
“Where did they-” We looked at each other.
“They’re gone…for good.”
“Esos cobardes fueron a los Estados Unidos!” My brother hissed.
My face fell. Lucia wasn’t coming home. She wasn’t join el Revolución, and she was no longer my friend. I knew from a fact that from this point on Lucia and I would be ex-best friends, and would never see each other again.