Rays of beautiful golden sunlight streamed in through the big glass doors in the dining room. You know what I was doing, that’s right I was sprawled out on the floor basking in the glorious spring day. I couldn’t help but smile at the way the shafts of warm light reflected off the red tones in my brown fur, leaving me with this delicious sensation that I was shimmering. I wasn’t the only one glowing on this particular day though.
The equinox had arrived at five-thirty this morning, making today the first day of spring, and what made the day even more special was that it fell on a Saturday. Why is that special you may be wondering? Well, in our little piece of the planet, the first Saturday after the equinox is when the Spring Spree takes place at the Cool Cat over on Elmwood Avenue. That makes today unique because they both fall on the same date. Exciting right?
“Cindee! Help!” My ears perked up at the sound of the deep latin voice coming from the floor above me. Instantly, I flew to my feet and sprinted towards the staircase, a lump had formed in my throat and began to grow larger and larger by the second. I made the hairpin turn around the post like a formula one driver. A million thoughts began to race through my mind one more horrible that the previous. The fear spurred me on and drove me to take the steps two at a time.
“I am coming Rapi!” The words were forced out between gasps for air.
I hit the second-floor landing at top speed, then dug my nails into the carpet so I could make the ninety degree turn into the bathroom which was where the cry for help had come from. I hit the smooth tile and went into a skid across the floor. On the other side of the room was a rather portly orange cat who stood in front of a full-length mirror, his face twisted with displeasure. The feline turned just in time to see me careening towards him. The last thing I saw before colliding with the tub were his wide eyes staring at me when I bowled him over.
“What the heck was that all about Cindee?” His voice carried more a tone of agitation than anger.
“YOU, called me asking for help,” I reminded him.
“That’s what the heck I was doing, running up here to save my ungrateful friends butt,” I growled at him.
He stared at me, his mouth hanging open in disbelief.
“Geez, I am sorry Cindee, it wasn’t life or death.” The cat’s tone had shifted into something a little softer, his face had relaxed revealing a tender smile nestled between two chubby cheeks.
“I am sorry too. Why did you need help?”
“It’s this stupid tie, I can’t seem to get it on.” He bent over and picked up the piece of cobalt-blue fabric and held it up to his neck.
I stared at him in disbelief for a second. I could feel the pressure starting to cook inside of me. How could he scare the heck out of me over a stupid tie? I was about to let him have it when I became aware of the way he was looking at me. He stood there so helpless, his eyes imploring me to save him from embarrassment. The situation suddenly became clear as crystal to me.
“This is your first real date with Luna isn’t it?”
“It is,” Rapi answered, unable to contain a smile.
His chartreuse eyes glistened with excitement. I could see both the anticipation and the worry in them. A wave of recognition washed over me, and memories of the time Lucas took me to Le Maison de Chien for our first date pressed against my chest.
He nodded, then glanced sheepishly at the ground in front of him.
“I am a little nervous too,” he admitted.
“You will be fine.” I took the tie and wrapped it gently around his neck and began to maneuver it into form.
“I wish you were going to be there Cindee.” His eyes pierced mine. I knew how he was feeling. We had been there for each other practically our whole lives and this was a big moment for him.
“Cool Cat’s has a strict no dogs allowed policy,” I reminded him.
“But …” he hesitated.
“But, you will have Bella and Yehudi with you,”
As if on cue the other two cats showed up in the doorway.
“Almost ready?” The squeaky voice belonged to a little black cat dressed in a pink collar with a frilly pink and white flower on it.”
“Almost Yehudi!” Rapi answered, an edge of roughness in his tone.
“Well hurry up!” The grey and white cat said gruffly. She had the face of an angel and wore a delicate purple bow in her hair, but her patience was wanting.
“Just wait Bella,” the orange cat growled.
Done,” I said, taking a step back to look at Rapi in his fashionable tie.
“Wowwie, you look fabulous,” I cooed.
“You are so handsome,” Yehudi agreed.
“C’mon already!” Bella grumbled.
“Goodbye and have fun!” I said, watching them descend the stairs and head out the door with Mommy.
Daddy and I had a nice evening at home playing games and watching movies. We even had some yummy ice cream, but truth be told, I couldn’t wait for Rapi and the girls to get home. It seemed like forever until the door swung open and the cats trotted into the living room covered in big smiles, uh, well Rapi and Yehudi were covered in big smiles. Bella? Not so much.
“It’s been torture waiting, tell me all about it!” I couldn’t contain myself any longer. Inquiring minds gotta know, ya know.
“Upstairs, we need to change,” the big orange cat said nodding towards the steps, which we all traversed together.
Rapi and Yehudi joined me on the bed after they had changed out of their party outfits.
“Well?” I asked again.
The two cats looked at each and grinned from ear to ear. I sensed a conspiracy going on here and I did not like it.
“You guys are killing me,” I groaned.
“Do you want to tell Cindee or should I?” Rapi waited for the little black and white tuxedo cat to answer.
“I don’t know, I think you should because you are a better storyteller,” she said.
Rapi smiled proudly, his eyes still locked with hers.
“Do you really think so?” he asked.
“I do. You always start out slow and build to a slow burn …”
“Enough!” M patience had worn off.
The two cats giggled and took great joy in having turned the tables on me. You see, usually I am the one with all the information and they are waiting impatiently. They knew my curiosity was killing me and they were just toying with me and it was making me insane!
“Okay Okay, I will tell you,” Rapi said, a left-over chuckle escaping here and there. Yehudi and I settled in and listened as Rapi began to recount the nights events.
“We walked into the Cool Cat and the place was jumpin. Rock this Town by the Stray Cats was playing and there were a lot of bodies out on the dance floor twisting and bopping.”
“The place was lit up with green and yellow flashing Christmas lights and there were flowers everywhere. All the guys had on ties and all the girls were wearing some kind of bow or flower. It was really done up this year!”
“The three of us took a walk around the room and talked to some of our friends from the neighborhood. Mommy spotted Aunt Mary, who was there with Jasper and Callie, and spent the evening talking with her while the five of us hit the dance floor.”
“Once the tune finished, Jasper and Callie had left and went their separate ways. Wild World by Cat Stevens began to play. That is when I spotted her standing in the doorway. It was magical the way her eyes met mine. She was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. I loved the pink collar she wore, the way the gems on it reflected the lights in sparkles that danced along her white fur. I was just so taken with her that I couldn’t help but smile. I took a step towards her, but before I could take another she had raced across the floor and into my arms. Luna nestled her cheek against mine, our bodies began to sway in unison to the music. I felt lost but found at the same time. It is such a strange emotion and too hard for me to try to explain, but this feeling, it led to such a deep and warm contentment. I didn’t want the moment to end.”
“Before I knew it the music began to fade, and we just stood in the middle of the dance floor forehead to forehead for the longest of moments. Then Luna took me completely by surprise. With no warning she leaned forward and kissed me. Right on the lips! Can you believe it?”
“Way to go Rapi!” I cheered his success, thinking back to my first kiss.
“It was disgusting! Spit swappers, Yuck!” the little black cat complained.
“It was romantic,” I corrected Yehudi.
“No, it was fabulous,” Rapi sighed blissfully and fell over to stare at the ceiling.
“What about the rest of the night?” I was still curious and in need of information and it didn’t look like I was about to get any more information from this orange cat who was obviously high on love. So, in desperation, I turned to the little black cat.
She stared at me; a confused look had possessed her face. It had been three years already that she has lived with us, and still, I do not know how to handle moments like this, because the natural state of her face is confusion, so we never really know when she is truly baffled or not.
“What happened next?” I decided to go for clarification and see if that worked. Talking to Yehudi was like using a computer during the age of dial up, you would have to wait and wait and wait some more for the page to download, then just as you are about to give up, it loads and begins to respond.
“Oh, sure I can tell you,” she said, like that old IBM on Netscape, flickering back to life.
With Rapi drooling on the bed next to me re-living his first kiss, I curled up and clung to Yehudi for hope and listened intently as she continued the story.
“When I Grow Up by the Pussy Cat Dolls began to pulse through the room, which caused a surge of fur to press onto the dance floor. We left Rapi and Luna there to suck face and escaped to the safety of the bar area which had just cleared out leaving a few nerds behind who didn’t like to dance.”
“I glanced next to me to find Bella standing there with a stupid smile on her mug. ‘It’s that dreamboat Jasper,’ she said pointing at the blueish-grey tabby sitting at the bar nibbling on a handful of treats.”
“She tried to keep this thing with Jasper a secret. They had been exchanging love letters for months now and Bella had been hiding them under her bed in hopes of keeping her feelings a secret. She is so self-absorbed she doesn’t even realize that the rest of us know about her secret stash.”
“Anyway, Bella had spotted Jasper and wanted to chat him up, so what does she do, she grabs me by the collar and drags me over there with her. Smooth move, right?”
“So, there I am being held against my will when Bella taps the muscular grey cat on the shoulder. ‘Hi Jasper,’ she cooed. Startled by the unexpected attention, he sends treats flying everywhere. ‘Geez, oh, hi ladies,’ the grey cat managed to recover. “
“Lemme tell you, this was a very uncomfortable situation to be in. I could not help but wonder why Bella couldn’t be more like Rapi and grab the situation by the tail and just go for it. ‘The place is hopping right?’ Jasper says matter of factly while glancing around the room.”
“Both Bella and I look around as well. While she is pretending to be interested in her surroundings, I on the other hand, would give my left paw to be back out on the dance floor. ‘Sure is’ Bella mumbles.”
“Jasper grabs another handful of treats and holds them out to me, ‘care for a Temptation Bella?’ I can feel my whiskers begin to twitch, then nod towards the grey cat. ‘She’s Bella, I’m Yehudi,’ I smile awkwardly.”
“I glance nervously to my left and find Bella with her forehead furrowed and her eyes burrowing into Jasper. I have seen this face before. Panic stricken, I begin to scour the area looking for an escape route, when out of the corner of my eye I catch Bella throwing a sturdy left hook that connects squarely on Jasper’s jaw with a thud.”
“It was in that moment that I realize all those love letters … they were meant for me. I gulped and watched as Bella stormed off. ‘Sorry. She can be hostile sometimes,’ I squeaked. Jasper opened his mouth to say something, but quickly closed it when a purple bow came sailing through the air and smacked him on the forehead before clattering to the ground.”
“That’s when I snuck off and hid outside until the dance was over.”
“Jeepers!” I sat there, stunned at this turn of events. It figures this would all happen at the Spring Spree when I couldn’t go.
“So, that’s it? You just hid outside,” I asked Yehudi, my brain still spinning.
“Well, yeah, what was I supposed to do?”
I stared at her for another minute or two in disbelief. Then, unable to stand it another minute I turned towards Rapi and poked him in the belly.
“What?” His latin voice was a mixture of hazy and grumbly.
“Did you hear about Jasper and Bella?”
“Oh that? Sure, the place was buzzing about it,” he answered, his face still awash in his dreamy kiss.
“I almost forgot,” the orange cat said, jumping from the bed and retrieving a crumpled-up napkin.
“This is for you,” he tossed the wadded-up paper at Yehudi.
The little black cat straightened it out and scanned the writing, her eyes growing larger and larger with each sentence.
“What is it Yehudi?”
She looked at me but didn’t acknowledge my question.
“I gotta go. Urgent!”
I looked on in confusion as she hopped from the bed and scooted out of the door.
“What was that all about,” I asked Rapi, who stared at me with a quizzical look.
“The napkin Rapi, the napkin?”
“Oh that? Just a love letter from Jasper,” he mumbled, then turned and left as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
“Jeepers! I can’t believe I missed all of this,” I said to the moon who was watching all of this through the window. I let it all sink in for a minute. Even though I didn’t personally experience it, it was quite the night for them. A first kiss, a blossoming love.
“Hmmmm. What an enchanted evening!”