Oscár, Get Out!

June 1973

I don’t know why I’m surprised to have caught Oscár reading my journal. When you have three brothers it only stands to reason. I was surprised to see how much he liked my writing. I’ve been trying to keep good records of what’s been happening all around, since that’s what journalists do. I remember the days when I was sure I’d be an explorer. But I see now that there are no continents left to discover, and instead what needs to be done is to explore deeper what we already know.

I’m absolutely aching to see Europe, or really just anywhere. Is that bad to wish for something so frivolous when everything is in such turmoil here? If it is I’m guilty. All I want is an escape. I’ve never been further than Temuco, and granted that’s a long way, but nothing like crossing oceans. Mamá says, “What’s so bad about Chile? Why not visit Buenos Aires? Why go so far?” But Europe has had kings and castles, and churches that are older than our whole country. “But we have democracy!” Mama says. As if she knows what that means. Women have been able to vote in Chile for nearly twenty five years, and still she votes just the way Papi tells her, if at all.

I’m trying to be sparing with my paper and pencils, since there’s such a shortage of things that I don’t know if I’ll be able to come by more if I run out of journal pages. I pretend not to see Mama in the kitchen worrying about what she’ll feed us. We are not poor, because my parents work hard, so we ought not to have to worry about feeding ourselves. I remember when the elegant ladies paraded around with pots and pans to tell him they were empty. They weren’t then, but they nearly are now. Papi voted for Allende because he believed that Allende valued to workers and respected them enough to allow them to make a decent living. So much for that. Last October the people tried to tell him. So many went on strike and out into the streets. But either he can’t hear us or he is so weak he can’t do anything for us. In August I will be eighteen, and when I can vote, I will be sure to support a more powerful president than Allende.

1 thought on “Oscár, Get Out!

  1. ssvolk says:

    These are hard time, for sure, Leonor. Do you think a stronger president will really be able to change our direction? I wonder.

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