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Studying herself in the full-length mirror, Jude was pleased with her image. I already have the green eyes, the feline-like nails, the cheekbones. The rest is just a bonus to round out the look. Black body suit. Blonde bobbed hair. Pink studded collar. Crushed velvet cat ears. Kitten-heeled boots. All I’m lacking is a tail.
She smiled. Yes, the transition is near complete, almost purrrfect. Now to convince others of my metamorphosis, namely Ephraim!
Her jade-green eyes flew to the clock on the wall. 7 p.m. Not much longer, she calculated. He flies in at 7:30. Then he’ll collect his baggage, catch a cab home. Probably here by 9 p.m.
He’ll be tired. He usually is played out after his work excursions. This time he was escorting a dying cancer patient, a twelve-year-old boy, to Disneyland. My husband, Jude thought, can persevere through anything. But will we make it through this?
Continuing to study her reflection, Jude reached over and touched the point of her nose. Hmm. She applied a dab of pink lipstick to the tip and smeared it around. Voilà! Got a nice, pink, kitty nose now, she thought, pleased with herself. I’ll just paint some whiskers on too. Why leave the masterpiece half-finished?
Believing that to be the finishing touch, she whisked away from the mirror. Then she stopped in her tracks.
D’Angelo. She couldn’t help but recall their beloved tuxedo cat that had passed away a few months earlier. Sure miss him, Jude thought wistfully. She recalled the stashes he hoarded under the curio cabinet in the hallway, bits of wrapping paper, sparkly ribbon, earrings, random coins, anything and everything bling-like and glitzy. That was our dear boy D’Angelo. Is his essence and presence still with us, does his spirit still flit around the house?
She poured herself a bowl of white wine and curled up on the love seat. It was vegan black with ornate, silver hooves. Between the wine and her transformation and the imminent return of Ephraim, she felt a deep glow set upon her like a crown of glory. Life is good, she sighed. Now if Ephraim only understands my need for liberation...
Lapping the wine from the bowl, Jude savored its sour dryness. She felt the odd lick trickle down her lower lip and pool on her chin. She batted it with her hand.
She set the bowl aside. Striking the yogic cat pose, she did a long, luxurious, extend and release. She chuckled inwardly. It even feels better to stretch as a cat.
The desire to become a cat had crept into her gradually. She could recall being a tot and wishing to be a kitty, a desire perhaps familiar to many youngsters. Then came the youthful cat pantomimes at Halloween, school plays, pageants. Eventually the longing took on a serious edge. A certain archetype began to emerge, slowly clawing its way to the surface, something sleek, sensual, aloof, and graceful. It was like she had begun to unconsciously channel her primal instincts. Like she had signed a contract to give up her old self and release a new one, something feline, feral, something set free. Yet it was no fleeting whim, fad or fancy. Nothing ephemeral about this, Jude knew.
Still it made her wonder. What kind of kitty am I anyhow? There are so many subtypes. Sexy Kitty? Spiritual Cat from Outer Space? Crazy Cat-lady Castoff? What about the Vampire/Goth/Kitten hybrid so favored these days? But, no. From deep within some fuzzy, warm core, Jude’s personal truth rose. She intuited she was more of a Cutesy Cat.
The new Jude.