June 27, 2008
Birthdays don’t happen regularly. At least not the parties. Today was Bella’s and my mother baked cake. Not the type of cake you see on display. Those with the fancy frosting that spells out your name. No. Not those with the flowers that look as if they taste good, but then they really don’t. At least that’s what I’ve heard. Bella’s is different. The frosting is spread on and you can tell that my mother did it and she won’t mind that you can if you tell her she did well.

Lots of family came for Bella. You’ve grown so much. Look how big you are. What a pretty dress. Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll make sure to bring you your gift when I can.

I have to wait by the door and let everyone in but Make sure they don’t go
into the kitchen, it’s a mess, my mother says, Oh and don’t forget to be polite, and then scurries away. They come through the door holding small bags For the birthday girl, my grandpa says. I’m Josefina, and then he remembers.

Bella’s eyes sparkle as she sees a gift. She doesn’t know what a birthday is. What it means. For her it’s the yearly present or two. Birthdays make you different. Change you. It has happened to me but that’s it. I haven’t heard others talk about them the way I do.

I never do anything, says Maria.

You don’t have to.

Magazines say we do. Parties, you know?

I don’t know but I still nod. I never understood that.

My birthdays coming up soon, Bella says a couple days before today.

You having a party? asks Maria.

Bella shrugs and looks at me and I look at her and I don’t know what to say because I don’t know what mother is doing.

You’re supposed to think when you blow out the candles. When you wish. You can’t just do it as a spur of the moment because you only get one every year. For the rest of the year you can wish for so many things to happen but they never come true because you didn’t blow out the candle with that same wish. And shooting stars are lost in a place where people don’t need them. They never come this way. They probably think we’re hopeless.

As you get older things happen. You look at things differently. I don’t know why. I don’t know how to explain it. It just is. Maybe it’s that you care more now. Maybe it’s that you take responsibility like mother says we should. Maybe you learn to listen. That’s it. Listening. You don’t do it too much when you’re like Bella. Going about your own way and not listening to mother or others or me. Bella thinks she’s right and what other people say isn’t. But I’ve grown and I’ve listened and I’ve found out that some people are smarter than you. You don’t really know life and haven’t really gone through everything. But if you think and listen hard enough you’ll realize enough things to not have to know everything to be able to get through a day. Bella doesn’t, though. But it’s not her fault that she’s not older. Because that’ll only take more birthdays.

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