Saturday, 9 February 2008

The cat that broke one woman's heart.

The Animal Doctor probably had nothing better to do one afternoon when he entered My Mum's name in Yahoo's search engine. This is what he found:

After clicking the link, he was transported to this site:


The article was written by My Mum way back in 2003, when the coolest way to getting published ( at least for a wannabee) was to see one's by-line in the pages of a national daily. My Mum had that creative streak in her, its just that years of soaking up on law books and supreme court decisions consigned her to what seemed like a permanent writer's block. She couldnt even make words rhyme, duh.

Indeed, sadness can be a writer's best friend. One night, My Mum came home with a self inflicted injury-- a crushed heart and a mangled ego (brought about by her own stupidity). It was during these times when she forced herself to remember one happy moment in her life. Then she began writing.

(here is the copy and paste version from that website)

Lessons from a cat.
(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Byline: My Mum's Name

SKELETAL, except for his bulging tummy, Toby was a kitten destined to spend his entire life in the alleys and corners of our school. Nobody could possibly have wanted him. I didn't want him, but huddled among the bushes that evening, he looked like a lost boy. And then he followed me, as fast as his infant legs could carry him, to the jeepney stop.

Right there and then, something strange but familiar tugged at my heart. Motherly instinct, perhaps. My best friend gave me a wry smile when I begged her to put Toby in a box.

Our first week together was awkward. I've had a teddy bear and a stuffed pig, but I've never held a real, live cat in my arms. As days passed by, he grew bigger and his cries got louder. It became increasingly difficult to hide him among the pots and rocks in our garden.

As I feared, my mom went ballistic upon learning about my latest acquisition. But I ignored her sermon about the impracticability of keeping a pet and the subject of cat poop.

I was like that with my mother. I could never make her understand what I felt, using the only language I knew. So, I would just retreat in silence until she gave up and let the matter go.

The idea of being responsible for someone was a novelty for me. I began to linger at the table, collecting scraps from every plate and preparing Toby's meal. Afterwards, my sisters would make fun of the way he walked, swinging from side to side because of the heavy weight of his belly. And though she would never admit it, I caught an amused look on my mom's face one night.

Toby spent most of his time sleeping in a shoe box until he became too big to fit in it. I loved to watch him stretch and curl like a ball, looking as if he never knew a single moment of hunger, cold or fear in his life.

When my best friend visited, she almost did not recognize the cat in a checkered vest and matching collar. "So how did you do it?" she asked. "How did you come to love this thing?"

I myself didn't know how. Toby waited for me at the door and sat with me when I studied. But he was a cat. Cats do not jump up and down when you're home, or wet your face with licks and kisses. In fact, you do not have a clue whether or not they are happy to see you at all. But there I was, loving someone who I wasn't sure loved me back.

Toby died just months after we celebrated his second birthday. It was my first time, as an adult, to be overwhelmed by a deep sense of loss. But I did not lapse into silent mode this time, especially not with my mother. She was the one who had taken turns with me, feeding Toby and giving him his medicines. She had allowed Toby to worm his way inside her heart. In the end, she was the only person who understood my grief. I think Toby struggled to live just long enough for my mother and me to become friends. It's been five years. I thought I would never love again, but things have actually gotten worse. I found myself a new pet, a dog this time. Now we have seven of them, plus three cats and two rabbits that survived my sister's experiments in medical school. My mother is protesting that I have turned our house into an orphanage.

Being with animals, I've learned a different means of communicating, one that does not leave people trapped in semantic confusion and syntax errors. Speaking from my heart, I have found a way to make others listen to what I am not saying.

In a cynical world like this, it is fashionable to be cold and calculating. "You must know how to play the game," my best friend warned me.

But I do not want to build walls, or wear masks, or resort to subterfuge. I value my compassion, spontaneity, and ability to love purely, without conditions.

True, a thousand needles have pricked my heart, but I feel more human.

Amazing how a little kitten started this all.

Lilli L. Fuentes, 25, thinks that law school has drained her creative juices. This is the first piece she has written in five years. She graduated from the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City.

A newspaper clip containing this article is stashed somewhere in My Mum's closet, but we are kinda surprised that it found its way to the Internet and people actually have to "pay" by giving out their email address to read this. And all the while My Mum thought all articles published under the column "Young Blood" become property of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and that she had lost rights to her own written work. Duh!

And you should be smart to guess who's posting. Weeeeeeee!!!


Pussy O'Woosy

Sshhhh, if you promise not to tell Moy-Moy, I will tell you dogs and cats and you Sherwin, where Moy-Moy' s been all week that according to My Mum there was no posting for Monday.

I have a very interesting life myself and if this is not a good reason enough for My Mum to give me my own blogging day, then I dont know what is! I still have to clean my paws, goodbye!

2 comments:

  1. holy cat poop, that's amazing! Please let me feature this in my blog, Mr. Animal Doctor and The Secretary and Moymoy and Pussy! hehe :)

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aw! I remember this article and who could forget the sexy Toby! He's the one who's responsible for making a dog lover out of The Secretary who used to be afraid of dogs. Am sure he's proud of what you have become!

    ReplyDelete

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