"It isn’t true, Saul, don’t repeat it. I know, other people are saying it too, but it isn’t true. There is pain in Carmen’s voice when she answers the telephone, but it can’t be true.
You will tell me it’s true, that old friends have called you and others have come from far away to see you, that your own body is shouting it at you, that the honors have already begun… It doesn’t matter, I know it isn’t true. How can it be true, with so many people who admire and love you? Every time we speak, Adriana [Gerardo’s wife] asks me to call you again. (And if this doesn’t mean much to you, that’s because you don’t know how she defends every one of our telephone minutes tooth and nail.) Everyone is asking her about you, everyone, but they know it’s only a journey, that the other isn’t true.
A journey to where? I don’t really know. In this, as in baseball, it’s very difficult to come to an agreement. It is a journey from which many do not return, but you will, you are one of the privileged. You will be here every time Danny [Glover] visits me, in Cuba when we Five are reunited. You will come back every time something is read from your books, or at screenings of your documentaries. How can you not be here when someone asks who filmed those images of Fidel pushing the jeep stuck in the mud of that road? Or the many others when you toured half of Cuba with him in ’68? Do you believe you can be absent when someone sees Will the Real terrorist Please Stand Up, and finally understands the case of the Five? Don’t even talk about that, compadre. You will always be here when the interview with Salvador Allende is seen, perhaps the only or the most important one to be made in English, and when someone discovers those still unpublished images of Fidel, talking in his house with Harry Belafonte.
It is just a journey, Saul, the other isn’t true. You will come when someone wants to know everything about the car bomb which killed Letelier and Moffitt right in the middle of Washington DC. When they want to understand about Chiapas, or about the maquiladoras. When they read your poems, or your always accurate articles. When they mention your Friendship Medal from Cuba, your Bernardo O’Higgins from Chile, your Emmy, and your many other prizes and
decorations. You will always come when I tell someone how I had the privilege of knowing you, of learning with you, of enjoying your sense of humor, and when they ask me to whom I owe my brotherhood with Danny Glover. You will always be with your family, with your friends, with your students.
Of course it isn’t true, Saul, I know it’s just a journey. What I do not know is if then we will be able to communicate, and for that I don’t want to wait until you leave to say to you, Thank you for everything, my brother, it was an honor to spend time with you. In the name of the Five, of our family members, and of so many good Cubans: Thank you!
I am not going to deny that we are sad, but at the same time happy to know that, in your case, when it is, it will only be a journey, because you were able to earn that privilege.
I am going to call you again very soon, but now you know, don’t repeat the other to me, because it isn’t true, Saul. It isn’t true that you are going to die.
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo •