I had the pleasure of flying with and knowing a large group of Cuban’s 40+ years ago. They had all left their country after Castro took over. A couple of them stole boats; one flew his whole extended family out in a large Russian crop duster. Several left the island as crew members at the controls of a Cubana Airlines transport. They crossed into Florida, Santo Domingo, Panama, or walked off a plane during a fuel stop in Canada into an uncertain future. The ones that took a plane or commanded it were on Castro’s death list. All missed home.
The faint lights below us wink out one by one as we pass out to sea. In the coal dark sky ahead faintly a few pinpoints of lights begin to appear. I contact Miami Center and say hello. Armando is now looking aft of the wing; a faint glimmer to the west is all he can see of his Cuba; but of that he treasures like a man glimpsing his last sunrise.
He turns to me and says very quietly, “Do juu know what et iss never to go back to home, Osswald?” then he turns his head to the window and remains quiet for the next few minutes.