Día de mi Amor


Alejandra looking upon the scene of Dia de Los Muertos. Photo from UPR.org

It’s been almost a year since her life stopped–well, for her at least. In the beginning, everyone around her put their lives on pause, allowing her all the space from society she desired. However, as time passed, and she stayed absent from mankind, people resumed their lives while she wallowed in misery, mourning the death of Esteban.


October 31st has arrived, and for the first time in 364 days, Alejandra takes a breath. She opens her front door into the afternoon-lit streets. They were alive with orange lanterns, papel picado, vibrant marigolds, tantalizing calaveras and dripping candles; and yet no joy sparked in her dull heart. She used to love the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos. As a child, she would cherish the two days of remembrance and honor. Relishing in the fruitful celebration of life through her culture that meant so much to her. Born to two loving parents in Taxco, Mexico, enriched by their constant teachings on the importance of her heritage and worth. Her adoration for the holiday only skyrocketed as she grew older; especially on her seventeenth Dia de Los Muertos. Where she met the future love of her life, Esteban. 


A handsome young man hanging papel picado for his abuelita, smiling charmingly at his surroundings. Alejandra’s eyes caught upon him, severing her previous thoughts. Orange hues hug the structure of his face, leaning with every contour. His gaze catches hers, and for the first time in 6,185 days, Alejandra understands what it means to love. An evening spent surrounded by the warmth of the night and the ongoing festivities. Hand in hand, the conversation never seems to lull. They find themselves on the sacred steps of the Santa Prisca Church. The rosy walls illuminate the blush on her cheeks as she is pulled in for a holy kiss. She pulls back slowly, her belly full of contentment, and asks the man for his name. He smiles, that wicked smile, and says, “Esteban.”


For the next 6 years, life was perfect. A perfect home, a perfect wedding and a perfect love. Perfection, cut short. On October 31st, 364 days ago, Alejandra kissed her husband. The doctors were stunned that she made it out alive, let alone in one piece. The town said they could hear her cries for hours. Painful, screaming shouts of pure anguish. All calling out for one name, Esteban. 


Alejandra holds tightly to her basket of assortments for her husband’s grave. Pan de muertos, candles, marigolds  and his favorite foods: calabaza en tacha and chile con carne. She looks upon her memories in the streets. Late evening walks in the moonlight, anniversary dinners at his abuelita’s restaurant, and signature costumes for the Dia de Los Muertos festival every year. Alejandra reaches her husband’s grave, already adorned with offerings from his family members. She places her gifts, lights her candles and calls out to her husband. She calls out in her heart, eyes squeezed shut, with the same love she felt when she kissed him on the church steps. The same devotion she used when she said her hallowed vows. Air catches in Alejandra’s lungs as she feels a cool pressure on her shoulder, a feeling akin to that of a hand. Without a moment’s thought, she whirls around. Despite the empty space, she still feels herself calling out, “Esteban?”