February 20, 2010
I am retired now. I have more time on my hands to think. I’ve said this before, but it’s such a raw feeling for me that I have to revisit it. I have genuinely resigned myself to the fact that I will die with anger and regret in my heart. I envy the other women my age who seem content. Maybe their fading memories have tricked them into being complacent and nostalgic, but not mine. My memory is sharp and biting. It gnaws at my mind at night and keeps me up. All the bad thoughts or moments I wish I could take back, boil in my brain and bubble over like an unwatched pot. The moments when I want to relax the most seem to feel the most tense. Any time I have to myself to think inevitably brings me to a bad place. I think about Alicia’s ransacked apartment when we were young, the look on her face when she returned. The look of paralyzing fear of what had taken place, but pained gratitude for surviving. I think of how I should have fled Argentina then. I should have quit teaching, packed up, and taken my mother with me. I think about the last few times I saw my mother, she was younger than I am now. What a strange thought, to live longer than your mother- someone who is irrevocably older than you. I feel sorry for all the times we bickered and all the times I was ashamed of her. Looking back, I’m happy she wasn’t a “normal” mother with a regular job. I’m happy that she had an exciting life as a dancer. She truly made people smile and laugh. I regret resenting the amount of fun she had, and never having any myself. I should have spent less time being embarrassed that all of our money was in coins and just enjoyed life with her. I regret seeking out a quiet life to balance my mother’s. I wish I could go back and appreciate her more. What I wouldn’t give to have the chance to go back and save her. I knew what was coming, and I tried to warn her. She was stubborn, but I should have tried harder. I know that it isn’t my fault that she was taken away, but I can’t help but assume all of the guilt. I regret never leaving Cordoba. I regret staying a teacher my whole life. I regret never marrying or having children. I never let myself fall in love with anyone or anything. I remember the days when I was truly passionate about teaching, but the stress and the fear stole that from me. I am angry that I do not know what happened to my mother, and I am angry at how the nation is trying to rehabilitate.