In the mirror, I notice the blue veins under my discolored skin, like unexpected rivers running through an unfamiliar desert landscape. I feel uncomfortable with my reflection but I can’t shed my skin, and tanning under a lamp is a cheap way to avoid the essence of my factual distress. I am not who I was anymore. The image in the mirror is undeniable proof that I am changed, that I have become a man that my past cannot reconcile.
I close my eyes and summon the boy I used to be, sunbathing on the sand of a crowded beach in Havana, joining the alluring voices of rum-fueled friends flirting with copper-tanned girls walking along in miniscule bikinis. In the background, a Russian radio blasts rock music broadcasted by the northern enemy, the forbidden radio waves tempting us with its deceptive promise of gold-paved roads, top-model girlfriends and the sport car of the year. That boy was supposed to become something of importance to the human race. I had dreams then.
I open my eyes at the spectacle of the boy’s dreams. It terrifies me to admit how easy it was to give them up. The road to relevance was hard and plagued with distractions and armchairs. I got distracted, rested more than I should, took a shortcut to avoid the hard work and lost sight of the boy. Now I need desperately to reclaim the sunbather’s dreams to keep on inhabiting the man in the mirror.