My birthday

What is birth? We could define it as the first day in the creation and the life of every creature on earth, as in the birth of a star, a flower or a butterfly, and the birth of hope in a world full of despair. The birth of a child in a foreign land…

I am a girl who was born in a foreign land, an immigrant. I am therefore a foreigner. It takes a lot of courage to be born in a foreign land. It takes a lot of courage to pretend you don’t hear or see a lot of things, to deny or never find out others. And it is tough being alone. Every time all those things that you never said or saw overcome you, and every time those bitter days deny you any tranquility, you become unhappy remembering stories from the past. Then you ask yourself why did I have to be born?

My birth is a question mark in my life, an unknown feeling. My birthday should be a day of joy for me. I ought to be able to forget this niggling loneliness. The truth is that I am totally alone, but I actually want to be alone. In the last couple of years, I have spent my birthday in loneliness and silence with all these difficulties.

I grew one year older without realising it. I grew older, I learnt to be patient and now I am able to wait without complaining and to live in a world without any dreams, in a world full of nostalgia.

My birthday is my special day! I always loved it. Every year I would blow out one extra candle and make a wish. But this year I didn’t feel like blowing out any candles, quite the opposite, I wanted to light several candles for all those wishes that never came true. So many candles have been blown out, but there is no trace of any wish, as if I have been lost in a whirlpool. With no goals, no dreams, uneasy, desperate.

The year that just passed was not a good one. On the contrary, it was painful and peculiar, but everything that happened is now over. I do not blame anyone for my lonely birthday. I want to begin at the beginning, to make a new start for my lonely days and myself. My birthday ought to be a good day for me. I must forget my loneliness, my nostalgia and I must laugh wholeheartedly, and I must smile at all those people who came into my life by chance, and then became my friends and fellow travelers…

I have made many new friends over the past years. Some of them taught me to be good and to remain good. There were others who shared sorrows with me. Yet I am sure that the images of the past will never fade from my memory, a past full of experiences, laughter, tears, fear and worry.

In any case, the past is over, for better or for worse. I may be afraid of the days still to come but I know that they will be full of surprises. Right now the candles in front of me are lit. I turn off the lights. I don’t want the wind to extinguish the light of my wishes. I must concentrate before blowing out my candles. And now, just as I am about to blow, I am overcome by sorrow… I miss you, the memory of you, your smile and your tears… I miss you, o beloved. Wish me “happy birthday” one more time.

This article was originally published in the third issue of ‘Migratory Birds’. The third issue of ‘Migratory Birds’ was produced by the Network for Children’s Rights, with support from UNICEF and the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation and the Foreign Federal Office of Germany, and published in Greece’s Efsyn newspaper on September 30, 2017.

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