A few years after moving in to a ramshackle apartment in Tigatto, a stray dog began visiting us, probably foraging at first, and then realizing that my mother and I were the easiest humans to deceive. And we were; we’re taken in by her constant presence.
Her brown fur was shiny. She’s a little bit skinny at that time. And there’s no denying her seemingly brooding eyes, her drooped muzzle as if she were sad. Perhaps we have somehow identified ourselves with her. Somewhere in our hearts we recognized the utter joylessness that had also been gnawing at us for years. (My mother and I are a depressed pair, though we never talk about it to each other. She had to keep it from me for she’s the mother; I had to keep it from her for she’s my mother.)
We then began feeding the dog, and decided to adopt her. In baptism, we named her Frida Kahlo. Neighbors laughed at this name; they thought it absurd to name a dog after a human, and the name rang a widow’s at that. I don’t know about my mother but I just shrugged at their comments, knowing how little education they had. I’m sure they haven’t heard of the painter, considering the way they played the songs of Willie Revillame really loud. Naming the dog Frida was the brainchild of my artistic aspirations. (The fire of artistry has been doused, by the way. I’ve lost the command over the language, and my muse has already left me rotting.)
It wasn’t long before Frida got pregnant. It was the dog’s breeding season sometime in August when she swelled, her look completely opposite to her emaciated state when she first arrived. She had grown plump.
Then she gave birth. It was in the middle of the night when I woke up to tiny, whining sounds from the kitchen. Even with the bedroom door closed, the sounds racked my brain in the still night. The noise was something not to be ignored. I got up from bed, and found them below the kitchen sink. Frida was curled up on the linoleum floor and, in the arc of her body, her pups, all 6 of them, struggled toward her breasts, wrestling one another. Of course, this struggle was something primeval; the inherent needs and the actions to satisfy those needs were predetermined by their DNA structures. It’s an inborn need to survive, to seek their mother’s breasts from which they can suck out milk and feed from it.
As I stared at Frida, she looked up at me, her eyes brooding, her muzzle drooping as if in plaintive pleading. And I just stared down, tottering a little; my knees were buckling under my weight. I felt a little woozy from being jolted off from deep sleep, from the exhaustion from work, from having had too many cigarettes the night before. I tried to smile, but I know, after getting wakened up in the middle of the night, my smile looked like a grimace.