“I thought I knew so many things that I know nothing of. I wish there was more time.”
– Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls
1932, Amdos Mundos Hotel, Havana, Cuba, Room 511
Opening the floor-to-ceiling white louvered shutters, he looks out over the rooftops to the sea. It’s been six years since the young author wrote about Jake and Lady Brett, three years since he introduced us to Lt. Henry and Catherine Barkley.
He lights his pipe, sits at his small desk, and spins the roller on the Remington. The man with the dark mustache, types:
“He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.”
And, so begins, “For Whom the Bell Tolls. “
2008, Amdos Mundos Hotel, Havana, Cuba, Room 511
The shutters are open. I look out over the rooftops to the sea. I turn to the left. There’s a single bed with matching nightstands. On one, a phone. On the other, a metal water pitcher. Antlers on one wall. Photos on another wall. A model of Pilar, his 38’ fishing boat, sitting on top of a credenza.
All very interesting. And, certainly, inspiring.
Then, I glance—I stare—at the typewriter sitting on the small desk.
Papa was here. And, so was I.