The dinner party that will never happen


Editor’s Note: This post is part of a 28 day blogging challenge from The goal is to develop your blogging voice. To learn more, click here. 

Who would you invite to dinner (living or not)? What would the conversation be like?

That’s the assignment for today’s Imperfect Blogging. Since this is a writing blog, I thought it’d be easy to pick my favorite writers and maybe write a scene about how dinner would go. I’d write about what I would serve and the phenomenal, creative, inspirational conversation that would happen around my table.

But that’s not the dinner I want to happen.

The dinner I really want to happen will never happen. Because Death, the bastard that it is, is permanent and everlasting. Also because, just as bad and semi-everlasting, is Fidel Castro.

The dinner I want to have is with my family — my dad, my sister, my long lost brother, and my half sister and brother in Cuba.

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I’ve not written about my long lost brother, well, ever. I never thought we would find him. I was right. Last year, he found us. The thing about blogging is that everyone and anyone can look for you if they really wanted to find you, you just have to put yourself out there. I did. I wrote about my dad on one of the anniversaries. And then suddenly I get an email through while I was watching a movie that was so ridiculously boring that I couldn’t recall it even if I tried.

My brother. He emailed. He’d been looking. It took a good 10 minutes before I could react.

When I finally saw a picture, I could see dad in his face. Mr. Fernandez lived in the face of a 40 year old man from Arizona. Dad died wanting to know his son, to hug him, to talk to him, to explain so many things. He wanted to explain to him that life did what it did and that was why they didn’t grow up together. He wanted to ask him about his life. He wanted to tell his son about his (there’s so much to tell). Simply, dad wanted to be a dad to his son.

But that didn’t happen. No matter how much we search and tried, we never could find him. I’m glad that he found us.

So, it was up to me to tell him everything daddy couldn’t. I was able to tell my brother that he had another sister here, in the US and another brother and sister in Cuba. He told me I had three nieces and a nephew. And darn it if one of my nieces doesn’t have the same facial expressions that I do, which I learned from dad.

My sister in Cuba and my sister in Texas were stunned to hear that we had found him. They want to get to know him, embrace him into the Fernandez family. They wanted to welcome him home.

But the Castros being who they are and the sticky red tape being, well, sticky, that’s a long way off. Way off. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but we’re not there yet.

I’m recalling all this because today is dad’s birthday. He was a spring baby and it seemed fitting because he was a person of constant renewal.  “No te aogas en un baso de agua” (don’t drown yourself in a glass of water) he’d say. That’s because there were an infinite amount of ways to move, or solve a problem, or do whatever.

I wonder sometimes how that dinner party would go. It would be a long one (the family tends to be long winded). There would be plenty of tears, some yelling, laughing, anger, and love. Above all love. I’d serve roasted pork. Dad would watch me make it and give me some tips and then I’d hand him a beer and tell him to go watch the game. My blood sister would arrive late and she’d make a bee-line to the rice and beans and ask me when dinner would be done. I’d slap her hand away from grabbing a mouth full and tell her to go sit with dad. My Cuban brother and sister would put on music and dance and that’s when the party would start. Loud talking would sound like yelling. The trio would teach my blood sister to dance salsa even though she’s got moves no one has seen yet (her words not mine). The smell of a wonderful dinner would wrap itself around this moment. That’s when I would wish and pray that the smell of pork and yucca would just keep this moment going forever and that time would be my friend again.  My long lost brother would arrive and that’s when I would emerge from the kitchen, to watch the moment I’ve always wanted to see, the reunion of the Fernandez children with their father.

Then, the healing begins….