City Life

21/11/1979

Hi. Are you okay? I’ll keep this brief, because there isn’t much to say. Or at least there isn’t much my words can really do any justice for. Our leaders and their tools of terror still continue to disappear Argentina’s people, and no one seems to be doing anything about it. Perhaps that is because no one can do anything about it.

Enough about that, at least for now. I am well into my first year of university here in Buenos Aires. The History and Politics faculties here are very strong, I can already tell. Full of very bright and learned minds and lots of fascinating professors to engage with. I am handling my workload and schedule surprisingly well, perhaps because I am finding that there is much less to do in the city than I had anticipated. Maybe that is a given, considering the the earlier and simpler times during which I began to romanticize my future in Buenos Aires. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated today’s situation back then, let alone a starry eyed provincial lad such as myself.

What grips me the most here are the new friends and acquaintances I have made. Most of them coincidentally happen to be from the city itself and they have done a stellar job at showing me the light. That is: how things were before the coup, how they are now, and maybe some ideas as to why everything is the way it is. Most of these conversations and discussions happen very much in passing, as we take utmost care not to congregate in particularly large groups in our dormitories. We would most likely be fine, but no one wants to take the risk. Furthermore, I am still getting to know these folks – who knows what their pasts may actually hold.

The family is doing well, a given situation in my life that always seems to be doing okay. I am truly very lucky for that. Mama has taken up painting as she finds herself with increasingly little to do at home now that Rosario is nearing the end of her schooling career. Crazy, how fast Rosario has grown up, by the way. Mama’s new hobby is probably for the best, though, as I feel that my parents are starting to show their age. I don’t want them to strain themselves, so it’s nice to see mama taking it easy. Papa, on the other hand, continues to work and has started to complain of back and knee pains. This makes me worry, so I do my best to hitch a ride out back home on the weekends or find a bus to check up on them. I wish he would stop working, retire, or something, but he is the only breadwinner around after all (as he continuously reminds me). I feel guilty now, so I better start looking for a job. Maybe at a café or restaurant somewhere nearby.

Remember that new, young worker that joined papa at work on the estancia? The one whose leg was nearly broken by that wretched police officer over a year ago? Paolo, I recently found out, is his name. He has not come to work for more than two weeks now. We all, especially papa, fear the worst. He was always a silent type, but when he spoke he always had something divisive but gripping to say. I hate to say that it all makes sense – that he has disappeared that is. But it sort of does. Our leaders seem to fear those who have the best things to say these days. A damn shame. So many bright lights extinguished without any trace.

Well, so much for keeping this brief. I guess I got carried away. Time to go grab a beer with a new friend a couple of blocks away. Time to, once again, walk these empty, all too neat and silent streets that I’m sure used to be colored in activity, laughter and life. There must have been a better, truer version of Buenos Aires before this. Surely, there must have.

1 thought on “City Life

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Nacho. Now that you’re here in the city, we should grab a beer some time. It would be fun to meet you in person! I’m sorry to hear about Paolo – there’s been all too much of that going on and we’re all wondering what we can do to change things. One thing I have noticed: My bus takes me past the Plaza de Mayo on my way home each night. I’ve noticed, once a week, this group of women with white pañuelos on their heads, just walking around the places I use to sit when I had nothing else to do. I’ve asked some people who they are and they tell me that they are mothers who have had children who have disappeared, just like Paolo. I still haven’t gotten up the courage to talk with them, but will try to, soon.

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