God, it’s just so crazy to see you here in front of me in a completely different city. Thank you for sending me that letter. I’m glad that our timing worked out so well, and of course that you were accepted into your graduate program at Columbia! You’ll have a great time here in New York – I can feel it. You are definitely suited for this place. Let’s walk.
Right. But what am I doing here?
I guess I should have told more people my plan before leaving. I know it was all in such a rush but I was simply dying to get out of Buenos Aires. Out of Argentina, really. The regime, with its violence, hypocrisies and recent failures – it just got to me so much that it all somehow became tragically amusing. All the blatant lies, the propaganda just reminded me of some sort of absurdist nightmare. I just can’t help but laugh to myself sometimes, and also weep, of course, at the lengths to which the junta went to consolidate themselves, only to get to this. This: our economy almost collapsing and now our surrender to the U.K. Did you hear? Yes. Such a pointless conflict where now all we have to show for it are lost Argentinian lives and the humiliation that will now ensue.
So I had to get out. I just did. Even if it meant abandoning my studies. It’s not like I was learning much anyway as I had to constantly re-teach myself everything that was actually true and not tainted by the regime’s touch. Therefore when I heard that this Spanish-language zine here in New York was looking for contributors, I jumped at it. Manuel was the one who told me about it. No, you never met him I think. He was a friend I made through the bar in Buenos Aires and I would see him at many of our ‘meets’. He supported this the whole way through, they all did, hence why I had to stay so quiet and vague about where I was always running off to.
Anyway, the zine is fantastic – everyone is so enthusiastic and creative and, well, crazy. Full of crazy but new ideas. Zine is just what they call a magazine here in America, by the way, one that is independently put out. We don’t rely on any publishers, no no. They welcome my writing with open arms, so I’m using this platform to ridicule the junta. To ridicule the Argentina of the better part of my life, of our lives, for I know underneath it all there is the real Argentina. It is just wounded, maimed, and needs time and healing to bounce back. I guess I use a lot of satire, irony, the rhetoric of the regime in my pieces, to point out how ridiculous it all is. Sometimes I illustrate, too. For as intense as it gets here in New York I can see why it is also so inspiring. So many people to bounce ideas off of and also be influenced by.
I was lucky that the bartender job allowed me to save up enough money to get here but even luckier that my parents are helping me with rent. So I need a job. Don’t worry, I’ll find one, for it is easy to start low here in America. Because I am going to return to Argentina. I really am. Just once Videla and his dogs are out. I feel like that might be soon, though. So I just need some money to get back there as well as some to leave with my family. I sometimes regret leaving them behind as I miss them dearly. But we’ve been in correspondence and I know they are well. Soon we will see each other again and catch up. I look forward to it.
So that has been more for the last couple of months. How are you?