This March I have a good pretext for writing to you because I’ll be thirty years old, yes, thirty, and I now have one gray hair. I suppose you have a lot of memories of when we were little children just like we have childhood memories of our young parents.
Damn, my dear folks, so many years have gone by…
I miss you so much and would really like to talk to both of you, but, let’s face it, our life circumstances and decisions are keeping us apart physically even though we’re close in our feelings for each other.
Since this is the end of one year and the beginning of another, maybe I should have summed up my life in depth and talked to you about all life has taught me and all I still haven’t learned from it, but that would really be a long letter and just thinking about writing it scares me.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t thought critically about my past. I know I could have done a lot of things better; what gets me is that I’m just now realizing this—I didn’t see it at the time. I know I’ve made some mistakes and have also done some things right, but most of all, I know that everything I’ve experienced has been worthwhile and that I feel good about myself, satisfied. Right now I’m doing as much as prison permits me to do. I’d like to do a lot more but it’s not possible, so it’s better not to be banging my head against the wall for things that are impossible to change at this time.
I’ve thought a lot about both of you and two memories have been constant:
When I went to Veracruz with the youth brigade whose purpose was to contribute something to the community we were staying in, I got a letter from Mamá.
At the end of the letter were some words from Papá, saying something to the effect that what was most important was to give, that it didn’t matter if other people appreciated it or not, giving was the most important thing of all.
I remember that because, in the end, that’s what’s oriented me in my life. Of course it’s true that time and life itself have taught us not to “cast our pearls before swine,” that there are some people we can give nothing to except our deepest scorn, but that circumstance doesn’t mean that we should hold back in what we can do for other people.
The other memory I have is of Mamá reading or talking to us about the novel The Story of a Real Man. It was about a young Soviet soldier who dragged himself through the snow for days, crying over his amputated legs and struggling to dance with his prosthesis, then flying once again.
Do you remember that, my dear Mother?
And today? Today our memories urge us to struggle, to find in them the strength we need in order to face a present full of adversity; that’s why there’s nothing else that even comes close to them.
In the end, our memories can never be taken away from us; they’re ours, ours alone.
Take good care of yourselves, my dear parents. A big hug and kiss to you.
Prisoners today, forever free!
Your son, Antonio