January 16, 1980: “Ya no puedo”

January 16, 1980.

Today marks the second anniversary of the date Cristina and Daniel first disappeared. No one really talks about it anymore, but someone would have to be crazy to think that we will one day see Cristina again.

A few weeks after I last wrote to you all, I started heading to the Plaza de Mayo to observe the demonstrations that have been going on there. When I first started going, I’d just sit on a bench and watch “las locas” (as the military calls them) as they marched silently with their white handkerchiefs and disturbing photos of their missing children. I wonder if my mother would have joined these protests had she been alive when they took Cristina. I doubt it—she was too concerned her image to be seen among these lower- and middle-class women.

Surprisingly, things have remained pretty close to normal at work. Kids come in every day, just as sick as ever, and I do my job as I have done for the past 15 years. But something has been different since Cristina has been gone. As much as I try to push out all thoughts of her, Cristina’s disappearance really has affected my day to day existence.

And while I may not say this to most people, I think that what I really want, above all, is closure. I want to find out where Cristina is, if she really is dead, what they did to her, what she may have done. These unanswered questions are driving me mad! I have found that it’s impossible to talk to my family about these things, even Nico. It’s just too hard to acknowledge these horrors. I still go to the marches occasionally, though much less than I used to. I know these mothers want closure just as much, if not more, than I do. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be one of the abuelas. To not have any idea of what happened to your son or daughter is one thing, but your grandchildren, too? Ay, ya no puedo. See, it’s these times when I try to think about these things where I get most depressed. When things are as hidden and murky as they are in Argentina, it’s easy to go about your life without any idea that things may not be as they should. It’s easy to see the junta and their determination to reorganize an “amoral” Argentina, without connecting these actions to the disappearances all around us. I’m not even sure of the connection, yet.

Anyways—till next time,



1 thought on “January 16, 1980: “Ya no puedo”

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Manuel. It’s been a long time since I’ve written. As you write I’m struck by what you say is so true of all of us. Our lives are “pretty close to normal,” except that they’re not. Somehow we navigate between silences and the everyday chatter that keeps us going. How can a whole society live like that?

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