1979

My dear family,

I regret that my letter today comes bearing sad news. I could not tell you until now, but Esteban has been fighting the good fight with me almost since the beginning. However, today, the military found our base and opened fire without warning. We were all lined up and those pendejos shot him in the back of the head like the cowards that they are. Our friends managed to come back and fight them off, but they did not some quickly enough. I’ll never forget the look on his face; the look of surrender as he understood his fate and seemed to accept it. I’ll never understand how these soldiers can continue to torture their own citizens and continue to cut us to the ground…we weren’t even the soldiers. The whole raid, they kept screaming “for the Admiral!” For the admiral? They look at one fucking bombing and they think that they are under attack? We are under attack! How many of us have they killed in their terror squads? How many women and children were killed in their “collateral damage?” The only good news is that the people are starting to speak up more. It depresses me more than words can say to see that it takes a bad economy for people to give a shit about the people in power, but at least the opposition is taking place outside of the shadows for a change. I find it hard to hold my head up high when the government is so vicious. I don’t think they’ll last forever, but I wonder how many they’ll kill before we can have peace.

I find it difficult to keep my hand steady as I write this, but I have to finish this letter with love, not hate or frustration. So I decided to write this segment to Esteban, the best friend that I ever had.

From the moment we met in primary school, I knew that we would be friends for life. You were such a staple at our family dinners that my Mom would be sure to have extra food for you. I know that my parents loved you as much as they loved Pablo and me, and it was well deserved, because you were one of the kindest souls that this world could ever offer. In a world where boys tease each other and call each other names, you were never anything but amazing to the world around you, and especially to me when I needed it the most. One of the happiest days of my life was when we were both accepted to the Universidad de Buenos Aires and I knew that my journey with you could continue. I had no doubt in my mind that you would drop out with me to start this struggle and I wish that you were here right now, because at the time when I need you most, you aren’t here with me. I miss you so much and I hope that you find eternal peace where you are going, because no one deserves it more than you. I love you and I can’t wait to see you in the afterlife. God knows that you deserve a better writer than me to write this, but I hope that one day, I find the proper words to describe the way I’m feeling.

 I love all of you more than I could ever express; please stay safe. You all know to burn my letters, but please keep Esteban in your hearts.

Love,

Roberto Rodriguez Clemente

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