Still Life with Parrot and Fruit image via Flickr

The truth was that the Mister had always been dishonest. Not with his feelings but with his heart. He would be the first to tell you how honest he was about his dishonesties. He was like a chronic bed-wetter; he could not control himself. He would always be a bed-wetter even if he were not given a drop to drink. He had no wish to overcome this weakness. A big overgrown child indulging in whatever he saw, his eyes bigger than his pajarito.

And so Missus Rivera surrounded herself with animals. For what could be better than creatures when one has been betrayed, what finer emblem of loyalty and steadfastness and pure love.

Puro amor y amor puro. That’s what each pet gave her, pure and clean. Pure love and only love. Who wouldn’t want that?

“¿Quién quiere amor?” Missus called out. It was as if she was giving away treats and not simply love, for the creatures rose from all corners of the house and courtyard…

…The Guacamaya, who had the most acute hearing of all the household, stretched out his feathered neck, revealing flesh as pink as a toreador’s stockings, batted magnificent wings, bobbed like a prizefighter, the black orbs of his eyes growing larger, then smaller, larger, smaller, until finally he shrieked with wicked pleasure, “¿Quién quiere amor?” in the voice of a crone, as if making a mockery of the Missus.

-From “Puro Amor,” a new short story by The House on Mango Street author Sandra Cisneros–seemingly based on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera–in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fiction Issue (second story, below one by Curtis Sittenfeld and above another one by Padgett Powell).

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