Background: summer 1958 in
just before the fall of the Bautista regime. Thomas Hudson, a 20 year old American from Miami, takes a summer off from college to live in Havana, Cuba working days on pleasure boats and nights as a back-up guitarist at the Club Dolphin Azul. Thomas' strict Merchant Marine dad and doting Cuban mother were not happy with his decision but he wanted adventure! Cuba
That summer Thomas meets Nadja, a dancer at the club, and is immediately captivated by her charm, beauty, and elegance. She is Cuban but owes her name and blond hair to her Hungarian mother. Nadja is intrigued by Thomas for his passion for music, his love of life, and his innocents which is a welcome deviation from her current emotionally exhausting love life.
This sets up a love-quadrangle. Previous to meeting Thomas, Nadja was romantically linked to 2 powerful men on opposite ends of the Cuban political spectrum.
Nadja is known in town to be the mistress of General Juan Antonio de Silva a very influential man in the Cuban military. But her true love these past few years has been Andres, a revolutionary and close confidant to the Cuban guerilla leader Che Gavara. Nadja and Andres
fell in love a few years prior in their small farming town in Central Cuba. They came to the big city together and their paths have intertwined ever since.
A year ago Nadja met the General at the request of “the movement.” But the man whose world she was to infiltrate became her benefactor. He introduced her to some influential club owners and got her the current “gig” as the lead dancer at el Dolphin Azul. The General, although brutal with revolutionaries, is always kind to her. She has discovered a warm side to him that can be comforting. Of course if he knew the real truth she was hiding, her relationship with Andres, then his warmth would turn cold in an instant like a tropical storm.
Additionally, Nadja’s love of Andres has been put to a test. Andres’ fanatical passion for the revolution has now surpassed his love for Nadja. He can no longer separate himself from “the movement” and has alienated Nadja. And that has left Nadja lonely and torn between her 2 worlds.
Thus enters Thomas, her guitarist and newfound friend and potential lover. Over the summer they form a bond based on a shared passion for music and Nadja's desire to escape the political intrigue of her current life. On one beautiful August weekend Thomas suggests they run away from it all to an island adventure by hitching a ride with one of his friends to Cayo Largo.
And so on a sunny late afternoon their boat pulled into that beautiful port. Nadja was so happy to be in the fresh salty air and the gentle breeze. Thomas pulled out his guitar and played a lively salsa tune. Nadja moved and twirled to the music. All was happy, no revolution, no past, no future, no commitments – just the now!
As they got to the dock sailors, fisherman, and anyone else stopped to hear the music and gasp at the beautiful woman whose hair was kissed by the sun. After they got off board, Thomas hailed a cab and gave the address of the little
Inn his friend George had suggested. Thomas had saved just enough tip money for the room and perhaps a nice dinner. The little Inn was right on the water and the bellman walked them to their Cabana – it had a gorgeous view. The bellman let them know dinner would be ready by 6 pm if they planned on eating there.
Now Thomas speaks…..
Nadja then changed for dinner in the bathroom. My mind focused on the bed for the first time and it hit me what I hoped would be happing later that evening. I was not a virgin. My first experience was last fall with my girlfriend at school, Lola. It was a bit underwhelming. Lola was cute but born of privileged. I felt getting into her pants was a riddle to solve not a sharing of passion. Sex with Lola was mechanical, as if I was performing a service and Lola was just dutifully on for the ride. And by year end I did find out that I was a toy that she played with for a time but had to put away when daddy decided it was time to meet Mr. Ivy League.
But what would it be like with Nadja?
Well first was a lovely dinner. The inn had a beautiful Sofrito of Seafood, Chorizo Sausage, rice, black beans and fried plantains. We enjoyed ourselves and drank in the
Caribbean view along with our Mojitos! There was no war, no politics, just us and the warm sea air – this was delight, like a Hemingway novel or at least in the early part of the novel when everyone is happy.
After dinner we walked on the beach. We found a secluded inlet and sat and enjoyed the sunset. Nadja sat behind me, her chest leaning against my back and her legs and arms around mine. As we enjoyed the view she tenderly kissed the back of my neck and ran her hands through my hair. And as the sun set she said “oh my little Thomas you are going to remember this for the rest of your life, my dear.”
And on that beach Nadja and I made love for the first time. And I do mean love for this was not simply sex – this was two passionate souls joining in the desire to pleasure and enjoy one another. Over that evening, at first on the beach and later in our Cabana we were at one with each other – bodies moving in tandem, sweat seeping together forming rivers over our bodies.
And after a time when our bodies no longer had the strength to move we just lay there next to one another (Nadja’s head on my chest) on that bed, in that Cabana, next to that sea. And for a moment time was frozen. I have lived a wonderful life and have many memories but if in death I could ever go back to a moment in time that moment with Nadja would be it.
By Monday we were back in
and back to the life and the paradox of Nadja’s world. A month later I was back at U of Havana at Nadja’s insistence. She said she would try to find a way to come to the states if things went badly in Miami . Cuba
In fact it was just a month later that Andres was discovered. He tried to protect Nadja but the government already knew everything. I was devastated. A few years later I found out Nadja was able to retreat back to her village and disappear into the chaos of the revolution.
But I never heard from Nadja again until last month. My grandson signed me up for this new computer thing called Facebook. And then a few weeks later a homemaker from
named Nadia Mitchell sent me a note. The moment I saw those eyes I knew it was her and when I read the note my heart leapt. Iowa
“My Darling Little Thomas how I have missed you. Do you still remember our weekend together so many years ago….”
An elderly Thomas walking to baggage claim, a sign above says
. Des Moins International Airport
Thomas Hudson, Jr. A Young Antonio Bandaras
Nadja Jessica Alba
Gen. Juan Antonio de Salva Raul Julia
Thomas Hudson (father) Kris Kristofferson
Maria Hudson (mother) Rita Moreno