Missed Connection

21st de novembre 1979

Dear Diary,

Victoria and I met today after class and started talking about the summer. Her parents used to take her and her brother to Valparaiso each decembre to go stay in a their house by the sea. Victoria claims that she could maneuver a 10-meter yatch by herself before she was 15. I think she was surprised to hear that I had never even left the country. Victoria knows that my mother owns a hardware store, but I think she forgets what that meant. I remember my childhood summers very well. I would help Mamá in the hardware store in the morning until we went home for lunch. After that, I was allowed to do what I wanted. My friends and I were very curious back then and we would explore the neighborhood for fun. We used to play a game in the plaza Irlanda. You had to sneak into the enemy’s castle and steal their gold without them seeing you and then bring it back to your castle. The game was difficult and we would often spend hours getting nowhere. Eventually, we figured out that and you could sneak onto crowded buses on the far side of the park and hop off at the side without being noticed. I vividly remember running back from the opposing team’s side. I was the first one to try the bus trick and I felt so clever that I didn’t notice a boy named Emanuel standing at the front of our castle. Emanuel was a strange. He did not talk very much and I distinctly remember other boys making fun of him. We weren’t particularly close and I don’t know what happened to him after escuela secundaria. I told Victoria about all this and she said Emanuel probably got disappeared because he stood out. Sometimes, I wonder if she understands what she says. Just because he was a strange boy it doesn’t mean he has to be dead. Of course, if I told her this she’d accuse me of being naïve and that thinking that way is exactly what the junta wants.
I decided to take the colectivo home because it was getting late. I was tired and felt alone after talking with Victoria. A woman came running onto the bus as we were about to leave. She looked very stressed was but was remarkably put together. She wore white gloves and a faux-camel coat and assumed that she must have been wealthy. She even looked a little familiar. I wondered if she had ever come to Mamá’s shop or if I had she was a friend’s mother. But then I realized why she seemed familiar. She looked like Isabel Perón. And, not just that she looked like Perón. She was actively trying to look like her. She had giant blonde hair styled up and grotesque pearl earrings. I’m not sure why but I immediately became infuriated with her. Maybe it was that dressing like Perón somehow invalidated all that we’ve been enduring. Maybe it was that she seemed unaware of what she was embodying. Maybe it was that her attempt looked half-hearted now that I was comparing her to Perón.
I stared at her the whole way home and got off one stop early because I was becoming so mad. I suppose I should try to relax. I know people dress more like that now. I’ve seen the hair on European and American Women. And in truth, Perón isn’t really responsible like Videla. I still cannot figure why someone would want to dress like her. I wonder if she lost anyone in the fighting. If men came to her house at night and tore her children away from her. I wonder if her husband is in the military and she thinks that she is removed from all the death. I suppose she cannot be that wealthy; she was on the colectivo. I hate feeling so mad at someone who may be completely innocent. Perhaps Victoria is correct and everything is either for or against the dictatorship. I wonder where I fit into her worldview. I hope she does not see the same way I saw that woman.

1 thought on “Missed Connection

  1. ssvolk says:

    What an interesting memory about Emanuel. Why do you think you were remembering it?

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