An Important Birthday

Tomorrow, December 5th, would have been my Tia’s birthday. Never mind how old she would have been. My Tia is still alive; I have never forgotten her. I can see her now wearing her black and white hounds tooth wool skirt and her lime green 100% acrylic cardigan, the one with the big white buttons. I see her waiting on the corner of our neighbor in Greater Buenos Aires. Her right hand is touching her chin and the tiny wrinkles around her eyes are more pronounced. A neighbor walks by and they talk. The neighbor is like family and she’s keeping my aunt company until I come back from my errand. It is probably a mild day in early October, spring in Argentina. My Tia looks down at her black leather moccasin shoes. I have to polish them after lunch, she tells the neighbor. She sees me before I see her. What kept you so long? she asks me. I kiss her on the cheek first, and then I greet the neighbor. Nothing, I shrug, blushing. I dare not mention that I have just run into the man I love; she wouldn’t approve. We walk the half block to our house. My Tia invites the neighbor up, but she declines. My Tia opens the white door and we go in. This is so clear to me after all these years that it might as well have happened yesterday or today.

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