Cuba: An American History

“Such sentiments exemplified the long-standing impasse in Cubans’ and Americans’ understanding of their shared history.  And the two interpretations could not have been more at odds.  What Americans saw as an act of selfless benevolence, Cubans saw as an act of colonial imposition.  That antagonism mattered now more than ever, for it was precisely the colonial relationship between the United States and Cuba that the revolution was beginning to challenge.  Unable to perceive that relationship as a colonial one, Americans were at a loss to understand what was happening in Cuba and quick to perceive all of it as naive ingratitude, at best, and outright communism, at worst.”

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Black Bear Lake

“A symphony of crying toddlers, barking dogs, suitcase zippers, and children calling in search of misplaced swimsuits floated out from the various cabins I passed while running to the top of the blue stone pathway.  I did not stop to greet my extended family.  I would have time later to answer questions about my schoolwork, my growth spurt, and whether I’d found a girlfriend.”

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Mary Jane

“My mother, who had known everything about me since birth- what I ate, when I slept, who my friends were, what music I listened to, and what books I read- suddenly had a stranger at her table.  But I was the only one who was aware of the change.”

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French Braid

“That’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”

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The Swimmers

“There is no ‘meaning’ or ‘higher purpose’ to your affliction. It is not a ‘gift’ or a ‘test’ or an opportunity for personal growth or transformation. It will not heal your angry, wounded soul or make you a kinder, more compassionate person who is less judgmental of others. It will not ennoble your paid carers (‘She’s a saint’) or enrich the lives of those around you who have always loved and adored you. It will just make them sad.”

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Vladimir

“At one point we would have called these affairs consensual, for they were. … Now, however, young women have apparently lost all agency in romantic entanglements. Now my husband was abusing his power, never mind that power is the reason they desired him in the first place….”

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