Broken Ribs and Hearts

May 2nd, 1978

I’m trying to learn the guitar, but to no avail. I remember Ramon tried to teach me as a child but I was always too impatient. Running around sword fighting my brother with sticks, invading imaginary countries and otherwise getting into mischief. How perverse it seems now, that children play at violence while their parents carry it out on other people’s children. Now that I’m capable of sitting still I no longer have a teacher. No one has seen Ramon in seven years.

Old Ramon that is. Little Ramon is nearly two now. I did get married after all, my younger self would be relieved to know. I am Matias’s second wife. His first was a psychiatry student in Santiago. She was abducted only a year before Ramon. He misses her I see, and he finds her in the face of Beatriz, my step daughter. She is brilliant, and nearly my own. Since she was only three when her mother was taken, I don’t think it unreasonable to say that I’m the only mother she’s ever really known… But not the only mother her father has ever known…. It’s not a perfect fit.

But aren’t they precocious! Beatriz is teaching Ramon to read, even though she can only just stumble through the letters herself. I caught him mimicking with one of his father’s medical textbooks upside down.

Abuela would be proud of me. I married better than Mama did. But she had a heart attack not long after Tio Ramon disappeared.

I think I did too, but Matias says that’s not medically accurate. A heart attack brought on by heart break. I don’t see what’s so far fetched about that.

That’s how we met, my pragmatic Matias and I. It was during the prayer service that the military came for us. Not even the Church protected us. Not even God. Ramon grabbed me and tried to push me out of danger. Somewhere I was smacked down. A club maybe? A frantic arm in the crowd. I don’t remember. I couldn’t say. But I’m certain that Tio Ramon fought back. I woke up very much appeared. Alive. Present. And to this day I don’t know what to do with that. Only a concussion, some broken ribs where fleeing feet stepped not lightly, and a heart attack.

Matias was there to stitch me up. Beatriz needed arms to hold her and mine were empty. When I became pregnant, Felipe wed us right away. I don’t appear to be the proper kind of woman. I wonder if they know that. I wonder if they put that in their file.


1 thought on “Broken Ribs and Hearts

  1. ssvolk says:

    So many changes, so much suffering, Leonor. I’m happy that you’re married, but grieve for your losses.

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