Birthday Yellows

This piece was originally published on April 4th, 2020 via

My mother says that when I was born, I was born yellow. No doctor could tell her what my gender would be, so she ignored the pinks and blues and bundled me in my first yellow cloth.

Twenty-four years pass to the day, and I’m clothed in my darkest apparel, fretting over the isolation and the melancholy of having a birthday over the screen. I want the day to be over.

The sun perches just over the stone wall my window faces and I nearly let my blinds topple the light when my mom knocks at my door. She starts singing a pitch too high, with a cake dressed in chocolate and a litter of flaming candles so many shades of bright I wonder if my eyes will melt before the wax.

“Make a wish,” she says, the light glittering along her glasses. A laugh bubbles from my throat, and I close my eyes, lean forward, and push out my breath to extinguish the flames. She promises to return with a slice for me, and when she does, I feel a mist shroud my vision.

Yellow cake.

The bite crumbles in my mouth while the frosting sticks to my tongue and the sprinkles crunch against my teeth. As I watch her walk out with a triumphant beam, and the sweets fill my stomach, I realize I have much to be grateful for with all of the necessary ingredients for my life right at home.

I stretch onto my bed, my skin paling as I’m drenched in the hot glow of the setting sun. I close my eyes and chuckle, my lips stretching along my cheeks at the welcomed warmth. I wish for nobody to feel blue. Because, right now, it’s best to feel yellow.


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