I was actually born on September 11, but I feel an intense connection to January 6. In Mexico, in offices and homes all over, people are stuffing themselves with thick slices of rosca de reyes, a normally oval-shaped roll with dried fruit and sugar on top. Several little plastic figures of the baby Jesus are baked into it and whoever gets one has to buy the tamales for February 2, the day of the Candelaria. It is also like a second Christmas for kids here in Mexico, where parents normally buy their kid’s first bike.
But I’m not celebrating with a slice of bread: I’m celebrating with a candle.
I say this is the day of my birth because on this day, 20 years ago, a girl I knew was driving home to the dorms with her friend when she was hit by a drunk driver and killed.
“You give the best hugs! You hug like you mean it!” were her last words to me and those words told me so many things.
They said that love is something that needs to fly and you need to let it free at every moment you are able to. They said that life is incredibly short and my list of things to do was incredibly long. They said that youth is something to be cherished because before you know it, it can be gone for good. They said that you are beautiful and kind and don’t let nobody tell you different.
They told me to live like every day was the last day. They told me never, ever defraud myself because it isn’t an option.
And to the best of my ability, and to the best of my circumstances, I have done so. And I am proud.
So I light a candle and remember.
Happy birthday to me.