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I Once Loved a Cuban Mafia Princess

September 3, 2009

The Jataka Tales are a collection of stories about the Buddha’s previous incarnations. Although I cannot remember my previous incarnations, it sometimes seems like I have already lived many lives within this one. As I have shared these with friends, it has been suggested that I write them down. These stories are true to the best of my memory and imagination. To protect the innocent, and for pure amusement, names and places may have or may have not been changed. I might also add that this was a long, long time before I ever took any precept vows. Rating: NC-17

I once loved a Cuban mafia princess. It was a long, long time ago when I was a much younger and more handsome man. I won’t say exactly how we met—that secret will die with me; and I am sure she isn’t gonna tell.  Someone (not me) once said that one of the greatest contributions of the African people was the curves they gave Cuban women. Well I don’t know much about that, but Maria certainly had those curves and wasn’t afraid to use them. Her beauty was breath-taking, all the more so considering the fact I had been in a protracted dry spell. So her beautiful curves combined with my deep need to “hook up” created quite a flammable mixture of love—lust—whatever… Now, I don’t know exactly what she saw in me—maybe it was my GQ look—nope. Maybe it was my money—HA!!! Maybe it was my cool ride—even bigger HA!!! Maybe she saw green—card! Whatever her reason, I didn’t care the night we met—nor the next—nor the next one after that!!!

When a man looks back at his life, it always helps if there are those moments to which he can look back with the amazement that he survived and that certain appendages remained attached. When Maria and I met, she had informed me that she was divorced. The problem is that she was only divorced in spirit—not as far as the law was concerned. And she certainly was not divorced as far as her husband was concerned! It didn’t help matters any that he was the reputed head of the Cuban mafia in the city where I was living. This friendly social club was responsible for the most violent crimes in a city which frequently topped the nation’s prestigious list of most violent cities. So once I found out that she was only separated from the mob kingpin, I determined that we needed to break up—someday.

So, armed with my trusty .45 (like I said, this was a long, long time ago), I would sneak into the little Cuba section of the city to pick her up. Yes, I know this was risky, but if you had met her, you might have risked your life for her as well. Besides, we all need a little excitement now and then. And nothing says aphrodisiac like having a hit put out on you…She was the kind of girl whose idea of foreplay was the phrase, “Let’s f**k!” Yes, every man’s dream. Over the course of our romance, we got to know each other very well—every nook and cranny and a few smattering details of personal biography. She learned about my past in the military, and that I had a close friend in La Eme (if you don’t know what that is, go watch American Me).

We continued our clandestine love until Mr. Mafia decided enough was enough, and put a hit out on her—or so I was told. So, she asked me if there was something I could do, like call my friend in La Eme or some—imagined—contact from my military past that could take care of him instead. At that point, I knew it was time to end things. After all, friends don’t ask friends to put hits out on people. I responded that perhaps she ought to leave town—now.

She followed my advice, and left to parts unknown. Although I breathed a sigh of relief at her departure, there was a part of me that didn’t want her to go—not that part!!! From time to time, she would call me up greeting me with her standard, “Es tu Cubana!!!” We would talk for as long as we could, and we would remember the good times—and they were good times. While she was gone, I reflected on how I felt about her. It was a strange mixture of fear, danger, desire, and perhaps—love? I never could quite tell if she really loved me or if she just had some use for me.

I began to wonder what things would have been like had I given her a chance. Time not only has the potential to heal all wounds, but it also has the potential to fuzzy up our memory banks. I seemed to have forgotten already about that mafia guy, the whole thing about the hit, etc. All that my memory seemed to retain was the enraptured vision of Maria exclaiming, “Ah, mi amor, mi vida!!!”  So, one evening when Maria called me up, I wondered out loud what things might have been like had she not left. I wondered out loud that perhaps we could actually have a go at—a relationship. Maria seemed to concur in this mutual wondering and so called me again the next morning—from the bus station. It seems that she had immediately left and hopped on a bus. She was calling for me to pick her up. She was there with all her belongings ready to move in!

At this point a whole new set of fears hit me. Although I was interested in possibly pursuing a relationship, I wasn’t ready for her to move in. The old fear of what she saw in me began to creep in. Did she really love me? Or did she love my American citizenship? And knowing her background, I feared what our life might be like with all those friends from the criminal underground (Maria was no angel herself it had turned out). I had to be sure that she wanted me for me and not for some other purpose…I wasn’t above being used, but it had to be on my terms.

I told her that I wasn’t prepared for us to live together. I had never suggested it, and wasn’t ready for this gigantic leap. So, I helped her find a place to live, and determined to help her stand on her own two feet. I wanted to see if she was still interested in me once she no longer needed anything. Little by little, she was able to stand on her own two feet. I wish I could say that things worked out. But, I couldn’t shake the fear that she didn’t really love me. Also, the drama of the dangerous romance that we shared wore thin—I called it off.

Maria finally found someone who would take care of her…She found her sugar daddy that could offer her that elusive green card, and married him. And occasionally she would still call me up—to talk. It seems that she did care for me, and that my lack of trust coupled with concerns about a bullet penetrating my skull had simply gotten in the way.

==In Peace, Love, and a Bullet-free Head,
Xian Tan Ju Shi

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