It all started with a sneeze. Not from a human being, mind you. It was from the polydactyl kitty cat that has taken over control of my life over the past few weeks. I adopted him over the Thanksgiving weekend, and although he has given me unconditional love, he has also given me unconditional terror. He has upended every sheet of music I have, threatened to pull the lava lamp over with the crucifix he tumbled onto the piano and has stripped my palm tree of every shred of decency it had left on its fledgling branches after decades of under-watering and neglect.
Even though I don't want to give him a name quite yet, at least an 'official' name, I love the kitty, don't get me wrong. I just can't put a name with the purrface just yet, and even though the name "Winslow" was suggested, he just doesn't deserve to be named after the barkeep from my erstwhile lover's eating establishment, nor has he earned an almost-human earthly name like Rafe -- which is what his adoption papers say -- and which also was the name a One Life To Live character, the too-handsome nephew of Asa Buchanan who could never solve a crime.
Accordingly, I will, for now, refer to him as Rafael. He is an artist, after all, sort of a Renaissance man with whiskers, this conman in the black fur trenchcoat.
Rafael came home with me from Woodford Humane Society, a beneficiary of their Black Friday special, armed with a hardy upper respiratory infection of which he seems to have magically relinquished ownership when he promptly handed the deed over to me, with one big sneeze, right in my eyes, last night as we were settling in for the long winters nap that I've always been promised comes with the Season of Joy. I was just putting my head on the pillow, snuggling under the quilt in my favorite nightgown (okay, it's really an old tee-shirt, but work with me here, willya?), fresh from the shower of all showers, happily retiring myself to bed and hoping for a good night's sleep before a week that shoulda coulda been wonderful, when he of the flaked trout breath joyfully sprang on top of the covers, looked me square in the eye and achoo-ed a plague's worth of his kitty lung love directly into my frame of vision. Away to the window I flew with a flash, threw open the cupboard and found my Visine stash....so I flooded the offended area with saline, dripped and squirted and washed, rinsed, and repeated. I even went so far as to reheat the cauldron of chicken soup and had a cup, hoping to wash the germs safely away, but now here I sit, broken hearted with an aching head, a pervading feeling of doom, and sadly thinking of how I'm supposed to sing the Messiah with the All-City Choir this Sunday (actually, we'll only join the Lexington Singers' for three of their heady menu of selections from the Handel's Big Book).
I've been rehearsing since September, hallelujah-ing since Halloween and Worthy of the Lambchopping since Thanksgiving...put the lift on the dotted quarter notes, pronouncing the consonants, madrigal style, making the alto part I'm assigned as efficiently musical as poss....and I'm afraid that instead of being a neatly stacked staccato singers, I shall rather be the image all that is legato and runny, from stockings to eyes to ... well, all that can possibly be runny when you don't desire it to be.
Yet as I type with the Mother of all Influenza bugs getting a stranglehold on my body, my oblivious kitten is sleeping soundly on my lap, content to have wreaked havoc in my life from top to bottom, and though I most likely need a Zycam, a Zoloft and a Z-pack, I realize that no matter how awful I feel now, or am going to feel...I have done one thing absolutely right...and that is that I have given a forever home to Hezbollah Harry, who needs me as much as I need him.
God bless us, everyone.