3 March 2000

Life in Chile was just getting back to normal when Pinochet was arrested a year and a half ago in London. I thought that we had healed from the time of the military, but everyone has been talking about it again. And now Pinochet is returning to Chile to be put on trial, so we must all remember those dark years.

During the dictatorship, I think my children did not really understand what was happening. That Chile was their reality, the only Chile they had ever known. But now that they are older (the twins are 27) they are learning more about our history. Rosa has become furious at me for not joining the resistance and fighting against the dictatorship. She asks how I could accept a job with the police, who were destroying our country, how I could betray my people like that. I tell her how we did not have much of a choice. It was dangerous to be in the resistance. And I took the job with the police because no one else was hiring, and I needed to put food on the table. I tell her that when she has children, she will understand. But deep down I know that Rosa is right. I am guilty of being an accomplice to murder and torture because I agreed to fill out paperwork and answer phones. I did not think it was wrong at the time, but I feel guilty now.

Luckily, Marco and Miguel are not angry with me. Marco and his wife live in Rancagua now. It is wonderful because I get to see my grandson, Ramon, almost every day. Ramon is four years old and is the perfect little memorial to my husband. Yes, I am an abuelita now. Where did the time go? Miguel is a journalist. He travels the world reporting on news stories. I miss Miguel, of course, but he certainly thrives in his work.

As for me, I have been working as a receptionist in a dentist’s office. I got the job because of my experience working for the police. My boss is reasonable and the customers are kind, but I still miss the community of the restaurant I worked in so many years ago. I have also been dating a man, named Antonio. His parents were immigrants from Italy, and he promises to take me to Rome one day where we will drink wine and eat spaghetti. We have only been dating a few months, but Antonio makes me very happy, which I did not think would be possible at my age. But it feels almost as if I am living a new life.

1 thought on “3 March 2000

  1. ssvolk says:

    Que bueno, Catalina – you’ve got a new pololo! And you deserve some happiness in your life. Don’t be too hard on yourself – what you told your kids is right: the choices that we make aren’t easy ones, and they rarely are determined by what people like to call “free choice.” We do the best with what we have. So, now, enjoy your Antonio and your grandchild. Be happy.

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