As the ship approached Castillo del Morro, the stalwart guardian of Havana Harbor, passengers coordinated their backpacks for the day’s tours, and scrambled topside to gaze at the sun rising over their destination. Thirty hours from their Miami departure and ready to enter a Communist country, many were anxious and more than a few were fearful. Past El Morro was Jesus de la Habana, the twin to the more famous statue that casts hope and peace above Rio de Janiero.
Dr. Fitz and Francisco finished their juice and silently thanked St. Christopher for the bounty of this journey. As they approached Sierra Maestra Terminal–neglected, majestic and under renovation –Francisco thanked his chaperone again for this homecoming. In Boston the year before, Dr. Fitz had successfully repaired the 12-year old’s heart.
Dr. Fitz needed the change of scenery as much as the boy needed his mother’s embrace. His wife had died during Francisco’s stay in Boston, and he accepted the suggestion of his adult children to accompany the boy who had become part of his family. Having forgotten most of his Spanish, the good doctor travelled with a bi-lingual dictionary and an app on his phone that he hoped he would not use. Francisco helped him with the adjectives and pronouns of his native language.
Francisco looked forward to giving his grandmother the cupcakes from the North End, a place the boy embraced for its family atmosphere and sweet smells, and more than enough sugar to contribute to the acne on his smooth cheeks. Dr. Fitz smiled when he considered the facial expressions on Francisco’s family members when they heard his changing voice and saw his growing feet.
As Dr. Fitz and Francisco walked down the gangplank, a dockworker dropped a twenty-pound wrench that rang like a bell as it tumbled onto the pier–not unlike a church bell announcing Francisco’s return.
Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service. She says she “hails from Woosta–educated at BOLLI.”