I know that I have not written in a while. It seems that life got away with me. Everything changed once Luisa arrived. I met her while completing my postgraduate law studies at the University of Chile. Her beauty and sharpness quickly grabbed me. She has auburn colored hair that flows down past her shoulders and a smile to which you can’t help smiling back every time you see it. Not only that but she holds an intelligence and dynamism that proves irresistible to ignore. She never held back from challenging professors in our classes and asking the tough questions about international human rights law that they would often be hesitant to answer fully. We instantly hit it off. What started as nights spent studying together in the library became nights spent at each other’s apartments, with us occasionally going to the bars and cinema when we could afford to. After 11 months of dating, we decided to go all in and get married. For the ceremony, Isabella accompanied Mama down from Valparaiso, and Luisa’s extended family was in attendance as well. We had the wedding in a Catholic Church in Santiago to please Mama, although neither Luisa nor I consider ourselves particularly devout. Now, shortly after our first anniversary, I am thrilled to say that Luisa is pregnant! I cannot imagine a better mother for my children.
Ay me! The way Luisa makes me feel! Her passion and energy make me feel alive, as if I can do anything as long as she is there beside me. After the wrenching loss of Sofia, I feared that I would not find someone else. The burden of her disappearance clouded my days and made me vengeful and dispirited. It was hard to make a lasting connection with another woman for many years after that. But Luisa…Luisa changed all that. She similarly came from a damaged past. Her older brother Sergio was disappeared as a journalist who tried to cover the crackdown on protests in ’83. It was partly due to this that she decided to become a lawyer, in order to help ensure that the law could not be abused in such a way again. Her drive and determination never ceases to amaze me. Just two weeks ago, she was appointed as a judge on an appellate court in Santiago, which is highly unusual for someone this early in her career.
Pinochet’s return from London today has refocused people’s minds on law and the pursuit of justice. The spectacle of his house arrest and then release and subsequent return to Chile was like watching a farce. Medically unfit to stand trial? Please. Wouldn’t anyone in his position fake dementia rather than face the full extent of his crimes? When I talked to Isabella on the phone, she likened it to a perverse game of catch and release, in which the British fisherman gave up the prize fish once it was finally within his grasp. The images in the newspaper of the military welcoming him back at the airport were sickening. At this point, he seems like a fat, old cow that is blocking the road of justice. I almost wish that he had died in London so that we could have been rid of him once and for all.
Luisa is more hopeful. She is confident that Judge Guzman’s precedent of “ongoing crime” and the changing shape of Chile’s judiciary will allow him to finally be prosecuted. She encourages me to keep pressing on with these human rights cases that my law firm has been picking up. There is still much work to be done; thousands of cases are still pending in the courts. “I won’t be able to handle them all while I’m on maternity leave. It’ll be your turn to carry that weight!” she jokes with me (Ay! I do hope she takes enough time off). Luisa’s dedication to this cause continues to inspire me. I am lucky to have someone as committed and tireless as her. Mama calls her my locomotive train. When I am feeling exhausted by things, she is still churning along, ready to pick me back up and keep me moving. I try to return the favor, whether by cleaning the house or going out and getting her favorite foods while she is pregnant. I cannot wait for the day when our baby is born and can start learning from this incredible woman.