November 6th, 1980
I don’t know how much longer I have here. No. I am not paranoid. But yes, I am afraid. And I should be. Every time I look around, someone else is gone. Perhaps gone forever. Malena was the first, but since Malena, more and more people in my life have disappeared. At work one day and no where to be found the next… just gone. To where? Why? How? No one knows. But I know they’re gone. We all do. Aqui en el campo sabemos menos que los en la cuidad, pero aún así, sabemos. In the cafe today, I heard that even people outside of Argentina know. When one older woman paid for her coffee, she instructed the cashier to smile and plan for the future, because now the world knows of our suffering.
I wanted to ask her how she knew that, or rather what made her think that. At this point (several hours later), I think the whole thing could’ve been a creation in my imagination. I find myself so overcome with fear, as of late, that I almost expect to be hallucinating. Fear and grief. I lost Malena to the war, the one between this government and the people who once put their faith in it. One month later, I lost one of my closest compañeros de trabajo, Eduardo. I don’t know very much about what he did outside of work, but I know he was often very secretive about his whereabouts later in the night. He lived 3 miles away from me and yet I never saw him around in Cordoba, except at the cafe from time to time. He definitely did not agree with many of Videla’s policies, but I don’t know that he ever acted on that dissent. But then again, here, you don’t have to. I had told him to be careful after I decided what had happened to Malena, and I think he listened, but perhaps it was too late. They had already made their decision. So I lost him too. A couple of other guys from the job went missing in the proceeding months. And there was talk around the neighborhood of the neighbors also going missing, some vigils held too.
One by one, people disappeared from around me. But the biggest hit didn’t come until a few months ago. Mi papa murió. A couple of weeks before, he complained about chest pains and difficulty breathing. We left work early that day. I wanted to carry him back to the house as if he were my own child, but he protested. With all of the pride and strength he could muster, we journeyed back home. After a couple of hours of rest, he proclaimed that he was back in perfect health. Twelve days later, I learned that was untrue. We came home from a long day of work and went almost immediately to sleep. I woke up in the morning to get ready for work. He never did. What was I supposed to do?
I’ve seen too much loss recently. Some have loss the freedom to exist and think under this dictatorship. My father lost the freedom to live. Maybe people are disappearing to their death. Either way, I need to be prepared for it. I need to understand how temporary life can be. No. I am not paranoid. But yes, I am afraid. I’d be a fool not to be.
And oh. Felicidades a mí! Que ironico.