It’s hard to say, but my earliest memory would probably involve salty water rushing up my nose. I was probably three or four then. We were celebrating my birthday (and the heat of summer, hurray!) at the black-sanded beach two hours away from my hometown. I had a cake — vanilla with white and pink frosting. And I had donned on a tiny red bathing suit. Well, at least that’s what the pictures of the old photo albums show.
I don’t remember the birthday songs. Nor do I remember the presents or how the cake must have tasted on my tongue. I only remember the rush of the current trying to pull me down and warm sand flying, billowing about.
Someone must have saved me. I will never know who. My father? My mother? An aunt? An uncle? One of my cousins, maybe? Or myself? Did I just stop splashing about and find myself washed up ashore, breathing in the grace of a second life?
What I do know is this. I am alive. Each breath that I take is precious. Every gulp of air is as costly as diamonds and gold. I will not dare to squander it.
Yes. I am alive.