After a short coup attempt, Chavez was back in power. It was the most short-lived pleasure of my life so far. How deliriously happy we were! “We don't have to leave after all” Was the main thought going through my mind. Mere 24 hours after he was smiling to the cameras again addressing the nation reassuring his followers he was back and nothing would get in the way of this revolution.
No matter how short the pleasure I will always remember the sense of relief when he was momentarily out. I went to my balcony to hear the city joyous celebration, the whistles, the singing coming from the streets, the screaming and marching and shootings so recent in my memory it made the contrast of the festivity even more patent. That moment more than anything sealed the deal on our leaving. Not only had he stolen the country from us, our opportunities, our dreams, MY dreams, he stole that moment of sheer happiness when I thought we were staying. That morning, seeing him there again, boasting and gloating about his being back was the moment when we all realized we were going to leave... and he was here to stay.
I had dreams of Europe. After that God-awful march and strike I dreamed every night of myself walking the streets of Madrid as if I owned them. I can remember so vividly how the breeze smelled and how bright the sun shone and how cute my summer dress was. I remember the pretty sandals I was wearing and how my ankles twisted on the cobblestone streets when I hurried from train station to go to class. I remember the weight of the books in the backpack and how happy I was. I had dreams of falling passionately in love with some young Italian count (I was reading way too many Harlequin novels then) and how I would be happy living in his Vineyard. I dreamed of abandoning the place that had seen me grow up because I was weak and I refused to stay and fight. That is the truth. I was afraid to go out, afraid to stay, afraid to fail. I was selfish and I wanted for myself more than I could have.
I decided to jump ship. To say fuck it all and leave. Without looking back, without a real consideration of how hard it would be. Oh if I knew then what I knew now. I wanted to a stranger, I wanted to see new faces, new places, eat new food. I wanted people to see my face and wonder about my past, my story. I didn’t know how utterly isolated it feels when nobody knows who you are. I didn’t know how alienation felt. Silly me.