Today, our dream has become a new reality, for Presidente Aylwin has been sworn in, unhindered by Pinochet or the military! This last year and a half has been a whirlwind of campaigns and publicity. With my now steady job, I saved up to buy my mother and I a second-hand TV, and now we watch the news everyday. It is so incredible that all of this can be happening at all, when not two years ago, Pinochet was still firmly a dictator.
Speaking of Pinochet, I am still furious that there doesn’t seem to be any way to charge him for his many crimes of death and destruction against the people of this country. I was painting the outside of a nicer house in one of the suburbs (here in Santiago), and while I was working the owner, a lawyer, was explained the situation to me. He told me that Pinochet had made himself ‘Senator-for-life’, which gave him immunity from the courts, or at least something like that. I was a little unclear, but the conclusion is very clear. Pinochet is going to get away with his crimes without any kind of punishment, and from what he’s been saying on television, without any kind of repentance either. I don’t think I could ever understand a man like that, who brings such misery into the lives of others and doesn’t show any sign of regret.
In other news, my mother’s sessions have grown larger and larger, to the point where they need to use the local church for meetings instead of our cramped apartment. The couple of times that I haven’t had work in the afternoons, I have visited them, standing in the back of the church and simply listening. Listening to the weeping, the laughter, the trembling voices and the murmurs of encouragement and support. My mother has taken the death of father and transformed it’s trauma into a strength of will that she uses to heal the wounds of others. She has channeled her anguish into a guardian spirit of comfort that I never knew she possessed.
So I guess in general, everything is looking up, getting better. I don’t know how to do justice to my love of painting. It’s not only about the satisfaction of finishing a wall, transforming it from cracked and peeling plaster to a bright, inviting surface, covering up the scars of the last 17 years and giving the houses of Santiago a new life. But it’s more than that. I love the feeling of fresh paint on my fingers, the smell enveloping me, the worn wood of the brush resting gently in my hand. This is also the first job that I’ve kept for more than two years, and now that I have the money for it, I started taking a class at La Universidad Central de Chile in microeconomics. I’m lucky that the classes are in the evening and that I don’t have to miss work to attend them. The homework is hard, but rewarding, and the teacher know his economics.
I’ve somehow still found time for Anita, and the two of us have been dating now for almost 3 years. I think I might propose to her sometime in the next couple of months. I haven’t talked to anyone about it yet, not even Victor, but I think I’m really in love with her. I swore to myself that I wouldn’t bring any children into the world in a Chile ruled by Pinochet, and now that Aylwin is president, I think that I can take that step and start a family. I think my mother will be pleased. She always wanted a second child, but a mining accident made my father infertile (something I only learned about recently), and so she never could. I think she will love having grandchildren.
So despite all my anger and frustration about Pinochet and the fact that we are just playing into his hands by accepting this Senator-for-life business, I can’t help thinking that the future is bright. Chile is now free, I might become a husband soon, and everything seems to be improving. I have a satisfying job, am continuing my education, and mother has recovered greatly. Now I must go to sleep, and see what wonders tomorrow holds for me.