The revolution came to me muffled at first, sounding from five stories below outside a closed patio door. The rhythmic
BOOM! Boom! BOOM! Boom!
beckoned me out to the balcony. No sooner had I slid the screen aside than the drums, in honest and brutal clarity, attacked me entirely. Pounding in my ears, echoing in my brain, vibrating up my shins, their bursts scattered into every particle of frigid air and settled into every crevice of brick. I had emerged from the box of the apartment into a world of shouted symphony, of tribal roar.
There must have been a thousand marching, clustered and organized, eyes on fire and voices projected in song. The masses, each led by a single amplified voice, were separated into distinct ballads of equality and great, shining banners:
CONFEDERACIÓN GENERAL DEL TRABAJO
UNIÓN SINDICAL ARGENTINA
CONFEDERACIÓN OBRERA ARGENTINA
Forward they marched: a colony of whites and morochos, of mothers and children, of leaders, of pot-bangers, of tambourine-thumpers – the working Argentina – toward their lady Cristina along La Avenida de Mayo.
Though the wintry August air drew my arms across my chest, I stayed rooted to the balcony’s edge and leaned out as far as the railing allowed. Transfixed, I watched, I absorbed, I dissolved into this union march.
I snapped moments through a slim Nikon until I forfeited the effort to capture a magic elusive. I recorded a segment of blaring war cry that I later discovered rendered choppy and incoherent. I watched until my eyes pooled with tears in combat against the cold.
It was one of many, this march; but be as it may a mere line in a book, I’ll exist behind the words. This march raged below me on this evening as I stood, melding into it outside an old apartment on that avenue. I am there in the part you will never read – in the part indescribable – leaning out over the rail of a balcony five stories up, eager not to miss a blink of history in the making.
Featured in Medium Weight Forks, a Northwest Missouri State University student publication, spring 2014.