Will Absolve Me
ATTAINING A DEGREE FROM the university made no substantial difference in Fidel Castro's life. Though he opened an office in Havana with two recent graduates, his practice languished. The city had an abundance of lawyers, and even in the litigious metropolis there was little for him to do. Few cases came his way. In any event, he had no interest in the routine duties required of an attorney. He played baseball, talked with his comrades, at times through the night, read novels and historical works, took more courses at the university, attended political meetings, wrote articles for Alerta, a Havana liberal daily, and neglected his wife and child. He considered applying for a scholarship to study abroad, but procrastinated, and in the end did nothing about it. He was arrested and jailed briefly in Cienfuegos for inciting strikes and protests among secondary school students. Though his father continued his allowance, with no income from the law office there was never enough money. He did not mind penury, and he lived like a gypsy. He rarely ate his meals at home, preferring to throw something together at someone else's house—usually spaghetti with a butter sauce. He always insisted on doing the cooking himself.
Mirta complained to her friends about his politicking, about the trammels of their irregular life. He was seldom at home, she said, and they were always poor. Often she lacked the money to buy milk for the baby. More than once their electricity was cut off, and they usually owed the butcher and grocer. Their car was repossessed. On one occasion Universo Sánchez, a peasant from Matanzas, lent them money to pay the electric bill. On another, when Castro was out of town, Mirta telephoned Jorge Azpiazu, one of her husband's partners, and asked him to come over. She was weep