The Cigarette Case
By Waldo Leyva
…she must know or she wouldn’t have looked at me like that, with those eyes, like she was reading my thoughts. His hand went involuntarily to the false packet of cigarettes in his breast pocket. The woman’s eyes followed his movement, just for a second, or at least he thought they did and the packet burnt into his chest and he gasped for air. He controlled his hands and flicked through the records on the shelf without taking his eyes off her for a second but she turned and was gone. If she didn’t want the record why did she ask me for it, calm down, man, calm down, nobody, not even SHE can find out about this. He tried to concentrate on a new client that came towards him. She looked like Rosita Fornés, all blonde women looked like Rosita to him. The blonde women asked for a Lucho Gatica record, they always want Lucho Gatica records even if they don’t have dark eyes, it’s like a fever. The girl stroked the photo- graph on the cover, carefully tracing the singer’s lips. She’d look just like Rosita if she weren’t so thin. I won’t get to see the premier of the ‘Merry Widow’, I bet she’ll be splendid, just like the paper said. Or was it sumptuous? No, splendid, as Pinelli said on television. Rosita had been into the Record Shop a few times, but she only came up to me once. I don’t even remember what record she wanted, she was right here in front of me; I could see her lips as she spoke, her hair, it gave off sparks of heat just like I’d always imagined, and her scent, unlike any perfume somewhere between wild and delicate, or at least that’s what I thought. He can’t remember her voice, but he knows it wasn’t like the Rosita he’d heard on television, or on the radio. He closed his eyes to remember her voice, her real voice. When he opened them Rosita was still there and she laughed in his face, he blushed and lowered his head, pretending to fill in an order form. He’d always wanted to be near her and now he wished she would go away. I have a problem with blondes. When I was a kid I dreamt about Marilyn Monroe every night, always the same dream; I would fly into a city and there she was, looking out of the window of a tall building, she would walk to the bathroom, nude, or in a towel that sometimes looked like a coat of feathers, sometimes like a nightgown my mother used to wear that’s still there at home. Every time I see it I stroke it and feel like I`m touching her skin, in the dream. Marilyn always wore lipstick and high heels, red ones, they say we don’t dream in colors but those were red, bright red; the rest was in black and white, or gray, but her lips and her shoes were bright red.
On April 13th 1961, the largest department store in Cuba was destroyed with two packets of incendiary explosives brought in from the United States by terrorists of Cuban origin working for the CIA.