And then it happened. Like all momentous things occur. As you are about to make coffee or go to the loo. Someone puts on the TV and it is there. The day you start to get over the flu. A couple of news bulletins before your birthday. Early spring or late summer. Moments after the rain stops or hours after an indigestion. Events have no conscience. No timescale. They have no regard for your state of mind or the particular innings of the day. Tragedies and miracles alike. They just occur and we are left there with our bewilderment to gather the destructive or restoring remains of its consequences. Miracles and tragedies are not dissimilar in their surprise. They are conniving and tyrannical and can even happen simultaneously: the same intruding event causing opposing pain and joy to a varying range of recipients. Just as it happened on 16th of October 1998. A date which would have had no relevance in Jeremy’s life if he had not decided to take that university exchange program to the other side of the world. To a country he knew almost nothing about. He would have flicked through the item of news with utmost indifference. Like a flood in Tahiti or a revolution in Ethiopia. Who the fuck cares, right? When you are in London about to get wasted in the pub with your friends the trials and tribulations of the planet seem so far away and irrelevant that you might as well be watching the History Channel as a form of passing time. But Jeremy was in Chile when he found out and for Chileans this was one of the most significant historical events in decades. Jeremy walked into the living room at nine twenty nine in the morning and saw Juan sitting on the blue sofa with his hands buried in his head. At first Jeremy thought someone had died but for Juan it was worse. Far worse. He opened the shutters of his fat hands and turned to Jeremy in despair.
-Bastardos. Your traitor government. They arrested him –he whined.
He had tears running down his cheeks. Juan looked like shit. He was wearing underpants and an old beige vest which was covered in sweat and tears. His unwavering convictions had abandoned him and though Jeremy sensed a potential explosion of rage in his demeanour there was nothing but disappointment and pain at the stage in Juan’s energy fields.
-Who? –asked Jeremy cautiously tiptoeing into his proximity.
-Augusto Pinochet weón. Our holy General treated like a chucha criminal!