Wanted: one dance partner. My stripes go all the way from the mambo to the meringue, but the waltz has my heart. I pick my friends like I pick my beds: very carefully. You will be one of the few to scale my wall. Purr preferred. Tail optional.
Like the sad personal ad that keeps popping up, month after unanswered month, Matilda’s gone a long stretch waiting for her waltz.
We all know what it feels like to be that girl, the one left like the last little apple after all her friends are eagerly plucked from the tree. The one not asked to dance. The one not paired-off. The one not chosen.
Before we devolve into the stuff of Lifetime Original Movies, don’t feel too badly for Matilda: in proper cat style, she doesn’t waste a moment feeling sorry for herself. Our little tabby apple is too busy snoozing and thinking Deep Thoughts for a pity party. And I’m quite serious: Matilda thinks some very deep Deep Thoughts.
While her neighbors are gallivanting and grousing and getting all worked-up over wet food, Matilda sits at a distance, thinking her thoughts, reviewing the situation. Fools rush in where Matilda fears to tread, and Matilda is nobody’s fool.
‘Tilda’s had the kind of life that leads to deep thoughts. Matilda’s life can be bisected into BT and AT: Before Tail and After Tail. On the Terrible Day about 2 years ago, something - a car? a tank? a wolverine? - violently made off with about 52% of Matilda’s tail. What remains is a pointy, vertical, fantastically strange little stumpling. The Terrible Day must have been painful beyond imagining, but the stumpling is what it is now, and Matilda’s fine with it. So are we.
And so will be one who finally chooses her.
Maybe it’s somehow right that Matilda’s “chooser” will come carefully, deliberately, even a little slowly. After all, this is a cat who does everything with quiet contemplation. No great lover of her own species, it took Matilda about eight months before she could choose a friend, Geri, with whom to share a cat basket. Even then, this cozy fraternizing was only witnessed once. For the most part, Matilda walks alone.
It won’t always be that way. The tabby apple will dance.
It’s just a matter of time. ‘Til then, we’ll remind Matilda that she is perpetually chosen, perpetually adored with a love she cannot lose.
And we’ll listen, patiently, for the sound of a waltz.