July 1, 1978
Today marks one year since my father did not return home from his office. My mother bounces back and forth between a furious drive to find him and a quiet resignation that he is gone. There is an aching that fills me in a way I do not quite understand. When Mother demands to know his whereabouts, government officials respond that he probably went into hiding or perhaps was disappeared by Montoneros or some other guerilla group. When she responds that in their 40 years of marriage he has never once been a part of any terrorist action or even attended a meeting of any of these groups, they merely shrug and say, “Subversives are very good liars.” She is exhausted by the not-knowing. It drives anxiety which often manifests in the form of a seemingly constant furrowed brow. The shape of her face has changed.
In the months before he was abducted, he was very active on the picket line. I mean, he has always been but as he moved up in the ranks of organized labor there just haven’t been enough hours in the day for him to be out in the streets as much as he used to. To Father, the right to strike is one of the most fundamental sources of power of an organized workforce. In January, 1976, Father joined the electricity company workers on strike even after the military passed new legislation penalizing striking workers with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. In the countless conversations Mother and Julio and I have had, going over every detail that could possibly shed light on Father’s whereabouts or even begin to explain his disappearance, she tells us that he only attended that strike in solidarity for several days. Why would the military choose to track him down because of this? Was being at this strike even significant, or has someone been looking to abduct him regardless of this action?
It is difficult to be surrounded by the patriotism that is so alive here since Argentina won the World Cup last week. I feel rather lonely in contemplating these questions. Lucas asks me questions too, but he is able to turn off his confusion and go out exploring with friends, all so excited about Argentina’s victory. I cannot imagine taking part in the fervor that infects the street. The phrase “Los argentinos somos derechos y humanos” is everywhere and it makes me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t know how to move forward so I stick to my routine as much as possible and avoid these misplaced festivities.