24.3.1982

Querido Papá,

It’s hard to believe that it’s been six years since the military came into power. I can’t decide if it feels like the time has gone by too quickly or too slowly. On one hand, I have grown up so much in that time period and it feels like just a couple days ago that I was still a kid who didn’t know much about the world. On the other hand, times have been stressful, and when times are stressful the days pass by slowly. I look at those six years as a percentage of my life, and I realize that not much time has passed at all, even for how long it feels. I still have many years left to live.

Enrique tells me that things go faster once you hit your mid-twenties. You start to settle into a rhythm and then sometimes you forget that time passes. I hope he is right. I could use a chance to just let the world move past me for a while.

We’ve had to sell the hardware store. It was one of the hardest decisions that I think we’ve ever had to make, and Mamá and I both cried when she handed the keys to the new owner. I don’t know what will become of it. There are so many other stores that have had to close up, and the numbers of people who are out of work are rising. Thankfully, the money that we made while selling the store is enough for now. Enrique has not had to move out yet, in part because Gabriel is still managing to find work. I have also found some work, as a secretary in an office building that belongs to a shipping company not too far away by bus. The work is fairly tedious – a lot of writing memos between the departments and filing reports about what was ordered and what was delivered, but at least it is a paying job.. The other people in the office are friendly enough, but they are a bit older than I am.

There is a lot of tension in the air these days. A lot of people are angry with the government because they have not helped solve the economic crisis. A new junta came into power recently, but the only thing they seem to be doing is talk about our claim to the Falkland Islands, as though we care about land that is so far away when we are trying to hold onto our spaces here. They say recently something happened in South Georgia to increase tensions and that we must be prepared for war, but then again they’ve been saying that we should be prepared to go to war with Chile over some other islands for two years. Some people have been whispering that the government is grasping at straws to produce something positive, when the economy is so bad and it is still fielding complaints by many people about missing relatives. But they don’t whisper this very loudly. The government still makes us nervous sometimes.

In other news, Enrique has proposed to Sofía and will be marrying her in a couple of weeks, but he is worried that he will not have enough money to support her if they want to move out and live on their own. So for now, she will come to live with us after the ceremony and he is working for Gabriel doing handyman’s work until he can earn enough. Mamá seems to be excited to plan a wedding – it helps take her mind off of the fact that she is not working. I’m sure that it will end up being a beautiful ceremony.

Much love,

Malena

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