Soap Bubbles

March 11th, 1990

Do you remember when I complained about Allende? When I accused him of being weak or not listening? Hilarious. Cruelly hilarious. I thought that when I had the right to vote I would have a voice. Now that’s funny too. We have this democracy, all this infrastructure and we have been silenced for so long. But today Patricio Aylwin was sworn in and we will see what he can do. We will see if he stands at the barrells of their machine guns like Allende, and if he takes the bullets, how gracefully will it be? He has big shoes to fill. He falls so far short of what my choice would be, a nice old gentleman, plump and rosy cheeked. Where is the fight I have been longing for all these years?

Ramon is learning about democracy in school. And his textbooks are so watered down. So I tell him, as I wash dishes in my mother’s kitchen on the poorer side of Rancangua. I tell him about the people in the streets and the banners and the slogans and the energy. I tell him about Allende, and he’s still small, so I try to leave out the part about the Moneda, but he knows, and he fills in that part for me. He and the other boys used to play Moneda in the school yard, until Senor Sebastien scolded them for it. How history has changed this half century. When he tells me this I start laughing. I start laughing and I just can’t stop. Its so funny! Its rib-crackingly, tear-jerkingly, earth-shatteringly funny, and I laugh and laugh, and Ramon doesn’t know what to do, so he goes and gets his Abuela and she finds me nearly on the floor, and starts laughing uncontrollably herself, and we laugh ourselves under the kitchen table, where we begin to cry, and laugh and hold each other until we have no more breath.

Do you hear my voice, Democracy?! Do you hear it?! Its in this kitchen filling the room with soap bubbles and I dare you to silence this laughter.

1 thought on “Soap Bubbles

  1. ssvolk says:

    You’re absolutely right – Aylwin has some very big shoes to fill; there are a lot of expectations, and not much belief that he can make a difference.

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