By: MaryKhon

Hola Queeridos!

I hope you are all doing well. Right now things move forward and backwards every other hour so I don’t know what’s up and what’s down. I don’t know who’s on top and who’s on the bottom. Just as I don’t know if it is my turn to play wife or husband. Oh, the life tribulations. Yet, despite such struggles, I hope you are doing well. I am topsy-turvy.

Speaking of crazy worlds, we have reached the third month of the year: March, el mes de la primavera. And it goes without saying that this is one of those months most of us wait for because, well, winter ends and spring begins.

When I was a child, and yes I know that was ions ago. And you don’t have to remind me of it, trust me, friends and family remind me of it quite often. So, stop it! Stop calling me old.

Anyway, when I was a child living in my homeland, March was an exciting month because every 21 of March we had a “desfile,” a parade. And this parade was done in honor of and to celebrate 1) the birth of Benito Juarez and 2) the start of spring. So, as soon as March arrived, we would spend one to two hours marching on the playground, practicing the different marching combinations we would execute during the desfile. For us, it wasn’t just marching to the beat of the drums, (literately). Because besides keeping the one-two, one-two as we march down the streets, we would also march in configurations, executing different patterns, and showing our skills in a unison manner. This meant that we couldn’t afford any type of misstep or lagging tempo. If we were to do that, the different routines would be screwed up. And since we were doing this in front of many people, practices were a necessity.

We all knew we were marching to honor the first president of the country but we also knew we were marching to celebrate the beginning of spring. And how we knew that? Because after the marches, which concluded with official ceremonies in the main plaza, that included official dances, speeches, and award ceremonies, many of us would run to the closest designated tent, and change from our uniforms into our “duendes and fairies” costumes.

No, really. One minute I would be wearing this official uniform, gray pants with checker lines, a short-sleeve white color shirt, a tie and a green sweater with two lines on the left arm indicating my grade standing, marching rigidly to the beat of the drum and the next I’m wearing shorts, a tank top and an unbutton colorful short-sleeve shirt running around all over the place giving flowers to everyone because we were “the fairies and duendes” giving love and spreading joy to the onlookers. In other words, and without knowing, I was going from “very straight to very gay” in a matter of minutes.

Of course I never saw such transition as such. To me, it was just changing from my school uniform into my spring costume in order to fulfill the many duties I had to perform as part of my elementary school. It was my job and obligation to perform such tasks.

As I grew older, I continued participating in the March school marches, but duende duties were removed and given to younger students. Apparently, growing older also meant that playing a flower boy was not an option anymore. And although I accepted such transition as a matter of fact, deep inside I was sad the day I was told I was too old to frolic around the plaza with a basket full of flowers. Funny enough, the “girls” were never old enough. Instead, they continue with their duties as fairies, the only change for them was their costumes, which become more elaborate and more feminine, I guess.

Once I was no longer a “duende,” even though I didn’t know it, deep inside, I resented the new kids for taking my spot. And now that I think about it, it wasn’t even the fact that I wasn’t a duende that bothered me but rather the fact that I couldn’t give flowers to the many guys I saw at the plaza. Because, even though it seemed weird for a guy to give another guy a flower in public, the fact that we were kids, playing a role, celebrating spring, was reason enough for the guys to always accept the flowers from the duendes and the fairies. Of course, the duendes were supposed to give flowers to the females and the fairies to the males, but I, in my own astute way, figure out a way to always give flowers to both, especially if the guys were handsome.

Yes, queeridos, I’ve always found ways to flirt with men! And now that spring approaches, the hunt begins once again. Enjoy your spring!