It’s a very bittersweet goodbye. I really did go out with a bang. In many different ways. Remember the rum induced evening? Well, turns out I was a bit flirtatious with Elio’s friend, to the point I gave the, “What happens in Vegas…” line. Oops! Anyway, my totally innocent meeting with him the next day to exchange contact information was quickly enlightened with this behaviour. It’s no wonder he waited in the same spot for two hours after I left because he was late!!
After I explained to him that this is exactly the reason why I normally don’t drink that quantity of alcohol, he proceeded to try and make a move on me. Of course he assured me Ben would never find out and come on, it would be fun. I said no because it would break Ben’s heart and he is too nice of a guy. Yes, it took a lot of will power to do that because his friend is hot, in my preferred age group and there really is no future with Ben. Luckily, I was born with a big heart so Ben only needs to be heart broken that I am leaving.
The three of us went out that night, as Ben had to work my last night. I don’t like to drink before I sail anyway. We went to watch one of Ben’s favourite reggaeton bands. It was incredible!! There were two singers and about eleven people with a variety of instruments. It was amazing!
We danced the night away. Neither of us drank, but his friend was happy with a bottle of rum. Of course he was trying to feed me with it to loosen me up. As he drank more rum, I felt like I was in the middle of some love triangle. He would wink at me as I danced with Ben, grab my hand as Ben was walking in front with my other hand. Let’s just say I was well protected that night! Sometimes I was in the middle of them dancing, so that was fun. I mean come on, life is short and I’m only young once!! My time with boy toys could be limited!!
The last night I was there all my favourite marina workers were working. It was great! An off duty customs officer even came by with my favourite Cuban desert, pudin, as a farewell gift. And probably an apology for locking me in his office one day and trying to convince me that we should run away together… I chatted with everyone for a bit, but I was exhausted.
They gave Ben and I our privacy as it was the last night. We sat at the end of the dock looking at the moon and the stars. He was whispering sweet nothings in my ear, made even more romantic because, well, it always is in Spanish. Then he asked me if I ever thought about getting married. I said only if it was because I needed to in order to be in the same country with someone I love. I don’t believe in traditional marriage. Then he said he wanted to ask me to marry him but he knew I would say no because my true love is the sea. That almost made me want to marry him! I thanked him and said if things in Cuba ever change, maybe I will come back and bring him on my boat so we can sail away together. He liked that idea. We said a passionate goodbye and he brought me to my boat for the last time.
In the morning, all the guys came over when they saw I was awake. They were teasing Ben and one told me that he had been sat all night crying. Ben just smiled and looked down as they teased him. I gave him a kiss which made them cheer. They wished me a safe journey and then left us alone. The border control left the boat and Ben gave me one last kiss which causes an eruption of cheers from his friends and a laugh from Captain America. I felt like I was in a romance movie.
The staff all lined up to say goodbye, even the grumpy dock master who last night asked what I did because there were 7 or 8 guys that were upset that I was leaving. In the two weeks we were there, I’ve never seen them send anyone off. They waved us off with smiles and requests for me to come back soon.
As I sit on the deck watching Cienfuegos fade away, I have a huge mix of emotions. Cuba and the people in it have taught me more than any other country. We opened out hearts to each other which probably explains the heartfelt farewell. For you see, I was one of them. They offered me coffee when they made it, they offered their food, they always made sure I was ok and that I was smiling. Many times they told me “Eres una Cubana,” you are a Cuban. It’s because they were so open with their hearts and willing to share and so was I.
I have tears of heartbreak rolling down my cheeks. Maybe not for the reasons you think. I am sad to leave Ben, we spent a lot of time together and laughed a lot. I am more sad for him because I still have the heartache of loving someone so much but not being able to be with them because of wanting different things. I don’t like people to hurt, so I wouldn’t wish this on him. Leaving has just reminded me that it still hurts, it just went away for a little bit.
My heart also aches that I have to go back to reality. Here I hardly went on the Internet, hardly anyone has phones so it’s all house calls. Like the good old days. I liked being unaware of who was messaging me and what was happening outside of my world. There’s something about reality that I just can’t cope with. It’s probably why I have fallen so in love with sailing!
I will just take my time in adjusting back to the normal and hold my month in Cuba very near and dear to me. I will work on ingraining those life lessons into reality. Maybe it won’t be so hard!
Goodbye Cienfuegos, goodbye Cuba. I don’t know when or if I will ever return, but you and your beautiful people will forever remain strong in my heart.