Life has been going on like something that feels settled. Raúl and I laugh about how suddenly and unexpectedly we became sixty-year-old men, and how, despite everything that has happened in the last half-century, we can still smell his childhood kitchen when we close our eyes – the sage his mother burned, and the meat always roasting in the oven. Raúl comes to mine and Miguel’s apartment for dinner on Saturdays – sometimes with Ariana, depending on how she feels – and we jointly own and manage La Paloma. We see a lot of each other. In some ways, I feel like our lives are more separate than they have ever been. He spends a lot of time taking care of Ariana’s lupus, and I spend a lot of time at home with Miguel. But still, he is one of my earliest memories, and I feel a kind of protective attachment to him that I think developed from the grief I felt when he disappeared.
I think he is under a lot of stress related to Ariana’s illness, but he tells me that he is grateful every day that he was able to find a life for himself again. He says that the trauma will never go away – he finally went to some doctors in 2000 and they gave him a name for it – PTSD – but that he feels settled, and often safe.
Today, Adolfo Scilingo was found guilty on counts of murder, terrorism, and torture. Raúl asked me to get drinks with him when he found out. At the bar, a few drinks in, he said to me that he does not know what it feels like for justice to be served. He can’t imagine a world in which justice exists. What happened to him, and tens of thousands of others, will always have happened. There is no taking it away, there is no justice for scars. He told me that he was thinking of going back into teaching.