A Lyft with Daysmel: Day 42 of the Portrait Project

My brother gave me a ride back to John Wayne airport after Thanksgiving, it's only about 15 minutes from his house.  The plan was to hop on a United flight back to SF, have the afternoon at home, then return to work that night for a redeye to Newark.  Two hours before my flight, there were twenty seats open, so I wasn't worried... I was already dreaming of the delicious dinner that was being conjured up for me by my good friend who was going to pick me up from the airport so that we could have some QT together. But United had different plans.  It decided to toy with me and fill its 20 seats, then raise me another 20 for the standby list.  I was stranded.  My only hope was to get to LAX and catch a Virgin flight, which would not only cost me a pretty penny, but I'd lose my nice, relaxing dinner at home.  We have Lyft in San Francisco, a ride sharing company where every day people use their own cars as taxis.  I'd never used it before, but figured it might be the most economical way to get me where I needed to go.  Not more than five minutes after pressing 'send' on my handy dandy app, Daysmel shows up.  It's a little awkward getting in the front seat of a 'cab', not knowing this person, and wondering if you'll have anything to chat about for 45 minutes.  I was pleasantly surprised that we got along like peas and carrots, there was not a gap in the conversation for even a minute.  I learned all about how Daysmel's family hid in a boat and crossed over from Cuba when he was only nine years old, and how they were kept at Guantanamo for five months in a camp with thousands of others.  They had communal showers, army rations for food, and there were gambling rings formed out of the sheer need for something to do.  I asked him if he or his family had the desire to go back, especially since Cuba is on its way to opening up soon.  He tells me he'd like to visit, but for his father there's more to it. The way I saw it, he is stuck in a limbo of sorts;   His heart is Cuba, he has built his home is America.  In my mind's eye, I see his father returning to his homeland one day, a swirl of nostalgia, sadness, and joy, walking along the shore remembering the time he left everything and stepped foot on a boat, tears in his eyes, holding his breath...

Daysmel. 

Daysmel.