11 September 1978
The military has now been in power for five years. Life, it turns out, is not terribly different from how it was before. I know I am lucky that my family has always been too involved in themselves to be involved in political organizing. Not everyone that eats at the restaurant has been so lucky. Many have family members and close friends that have been arrested, in Rancagua, Santiago, and elsewhere in Chile. It is silly how people I so admired for their passion and influence just a few years ago are now being punished for it.
I suppose the main difference is that life just feels less lively. People no longer smile and chat in the street. This is particularly apparent in Ramon, who has lost his passion and liveliness. Last year, Ramon’s friend Pablo offered him a part time job. Ramon and Pablo have known each other since childhood, and now Pablo is a policeman. Pablo said that the police needed someone who is good with words and numbers to work a part-time job, and Ramon was the man they wanted. Ramon and I both knew there was not really a choice. It would have been impolite for Ramon to say no to his friend, and this is not the time to say no to the police. Plus, we could use the extra money. For the first month or so Ramon was happy, he enjoys an intellectual challenge. But soon after that he started coming home depressed after work. I don’t know if it is because he works too much, if it is the nature of the second job. He clearly doesn’t want me to ask.
I am also worried about Marco. He keeps getting into fistfights at school. He also tells me that they are learning about the evils of communism, and asks me questions about why Chile has terrorists, and if Ramon and I know anyone who is a terrorist. Of course I say no. But I don’t know the right way to answer his questions. I don’t want him to grow up suspicious that everyone around him is the enemy.
At least the twins have started school, so I can pick up more shifts at the restaurant. Mama is getting too old to be on her feet so much. She keeps giving me more and more responsibilities and tells me it is time for me to take over for her.