"Where are you going at this time of night, mi cariño," asked the old mans wife.
"I’ve got one last delivery for the day. I must ride into the city. I’m going to the house my friend, Gustavo. I’ll be late coming home to you, mi amor, but I’ll come home to you," answered the old man.
He pedaled down the main highway from San Antonio de Baño toward Havana. The night breeze felt good on his face. His calves and arms loosened with each kilometer he passed. His heart beat in rhythm with his feet as he made his way to the capital.
"My life is good," he thought. "My wife and I have passed forty years together. We still make love as we did when we were young, with the same hunger for each others bodies. My children are good to me. I love to see the smiles of my grandchildren, to feel their arms around my neck."
His father had been a doctor in San Antonio de Baño, and he had followed in his footsteps and become a doctor, too. He was thankful for his work, for it had allowed him to provide his family with all of the things they needed and even many of the things they wanted. He had driven a car. He had been able to buy ice cream for his children.
He had become conscious of a need for revolution one day as he was driving through the countryside around San Antonio de Baño. As he was passing a plantation, a small girl, the size of his own daughter, though two years older, he would later discover, because of hunger and disease, the small girl was running toward the road, weeping and waving her hands in the air. He stopped the car and rolled down the window. "What is wrong, my child?" he had asked. "Mi Mama...mi Mama," groaned the child again and again.
At that moment he made a decision that would forever change his life. He stepped out of the car, retrieved his medical bag from the back seat, and followed the little girl, who led him by the hand and sobbed her way back to her familys shack.
He walked through the door. He did not move move for a moment as his eyes adjusted from the light of the afternoon sun to the darkness of the windowless shack. An oil lantern burned beside the bed of a woman giving birth to a child. An old woman was at the foot of the bed, tugging on the little feet of the new baby, who was breached because she did not turn before labor began. He knelt beside the old woman, his knees upon the dirt floor, as if he were at prayer, and gently and deftly moved the baby until she came loose from the umbilical cord that held her and came out into the arms of the doctor. She let out a cry. Was it a cry of joy at being alive? Did she know that if her sister had not run to the road, that if the doctor had not stopped his car, that she would be dead?
He gently washed the baby with a pitcher of river water, wrapped her in a tattered blanket, and handed her to her Mother. The little girl held his hand again, not out of fear and sadness but this time out of kindness and love. He knew. From that time on he would dedicate his life and work to make sure there were no more guajiros giving birth in shacks with no medical care. From that time on he would work to make the world a more human place for everyone...especially for the smallest and most forgotten ones in the world.
So here was the old man, still a doctor, still offering his gifts and talents to help and to heal the sick in San Antonio de Baño. And here was the old man, working his off hours as a friend of the revolution.