Today, I’m having mixed feelings about my country, my pride, and celebration. This afternoon, Argentina won the World Cup final at the Estadio Monumental. The game was playing on the television in the restaurant I’ve been working at, and I couldn’t help but remember the time I went to see River Plate play there with my father when I was about eight or nine. That day was one of the best of my young life, but today I hardly feel like celebrating. There are cheers echoing across the city, from bars and restaurants, family homes, and the stadium. I wonder, can those imprisoned in the detention centers and jails hear the cheers? Can they hear the triumphant announcer in the Estadio? Today is supposed to be a happy day for Argentina, and I want so badly to feel pride for my country again.
I’m still living with Eduardo, and he told me that the World Cup logo reminds people of Perón’s two-handed salute that he always gestured towards his people. I’m surprised the junta hasn’t canceled the tournament over such a presumption. Remembering Perón makes me long for when life seemed much more normal. Then again, my life now is strangely normal. I go to work at the restaurant, I see my friends, I visit my family every few months. I’m not being captured in the dead of night, or fruitlessly searching for a loved one behind the tinted window of a passing Ford Falcon. I’m just living with the constant anxiety that it will happen to me, someone in my family, or another friend of mine. Will this ever end? Will I have to leave Argentina to gain my freedom from this constant fear? Even though the restaurant customers were laughing and cheering, I could see the fear in their eyes, too.