A Kat's (GOD AWFUL!!!) Blessing
Kat sat on the edge of the futon, staring down at the floor of the guest house with a pout. She looked like a little kid who knew they were in deep trouble.
To Kat’s mom’s eyes, that’s exactly what she was.
She stood before Kat, her arms crossed as her eyebrows furrowed downward. It took a while to capture Kat and bring her back to the guest house, especially with the newfound speed she had from her transformation. But you can’t outrun the law forever.
Maria watched silently from off to the side.
After minutes of not looking up at her mom’s face, Kat’s eyes glanced upward. “Mom, I’m—”
Her mom cleared her throat, silencing Kat. “Do you have any idea how upset I am with you right now?” she asked.
Kat looked back down in silence.
“Do you realize how tremendously stupid you were for doing that?! Taking on a pack of wild dogs late at night, where there was a high chance that nobody would’ve been able to come to your aid in time if something terrible had happened to you?!”
Kat thought that her current transformation was something terrible, but she knew the last thing her mom wanted to hear was anything that could be misconstrued as backtalk.
“If those were real wild dogs, you could have been seriously injured! You very well could have died!!! Do you not understand how dangerous wild animals can get?!” She started pacing around the room. “It isn’t bad enough that you put yourself in danger without thinking, but then you tried to get your best friend to cover for you. To hide the fact you were transformed into a giant cat because you did something that I told you not to do.”
Kat slumped her shoulders, ashamed of her actions as her mom spoke it aloud.
“You know why I’m upset with you?” her mom asked.
“That I tried fighting the dogs and got turned into a cat,” Kat replied, sure of her answer.
Her mom shook her head. “I’m upset that you felt the need to hide this from me. That you were so worried about how you disobeyed me and screwed up. That you played a stupid game and you won a stupid prize for it. And you didn’t trust me to not be upset with you when you desperately needed help.”
Kat was taken aback by her mom’s reasoning. Before she could say anything, she found herself being squeezed by her mom’s arm as she gave a massive bear hug.
“I’ll never get upset with you if you’re hurt or in danger,” her mom said with a sniffle, tears forming in her eyes. “You’re the most important thing in the world to me, Kat. I may get angry with you about the dumb things you do, or get annoyed by your bad test scores, or upset that you skipped chores to go out and play. But I will never, ever be mad at you if something happened to you and you needed my help. Okay?”
A warm feeling bloomed in Kat’s chest as tears swelled in her eyes. She couldn’t help but hug back, burying her head into her mother’s shoulders.
“I love you, mom,” she choked between tears.
“And I love you, too,” her mom replied.
Satisfied with how her daughter now understood what she’d gone through emotionally, she whacked Kat on the top of the head between her cat ears.
“Ow!” Kat cried in pain. She grabbed her head, scooting backward to get away from her aggressor. “What was that for?!”
“That’s for making me chase after you when I got here!” she shouted.
“You ruined the emotional scene we had going on just now!” Kat whined.
“You ruined it first by running away from me when I came running to you for a hug!”
“Because you had a death glare when you came to hug me!”
“Because I was gonna hug you to death for making me stressed out all night long!” her mom argued back.
Kat puffed out her cheeks in anger as she didn’t have ammo to throw back at her mom.
“Now with my motherly duties out of the way,” her mom said.
Once again, Kat was hugged to death by her mom. Unlike before, Kat felt like her life was being squeezed out of her.
“Oh my gosh!” her mom squealed with the biggest grin on her face. “You are just so darn adorable! The moment I saw you in that video I wanted to just pick you up and smother you!” She rubbed her cheeks into that of Kat’s, melting from how soft and cuddly her daughter’s face had become. “And this fur! It’s the softest fur I’ve ever felt! I’m so jealous that you get to feel it whenever you feel like.”
“Yeah, it’s great,” Kat groaned sarcastically.
Her mom then picked up her tail and squeezed it in her arms. “And this tail!” she squealed.
Embarrassment washed over Kat, who wanted nothing more than to escape and hide underneath the futon.
“And look at this!” her mom said, squeezing the fur on Kat’s thighs. “Makes it look like you got some extra meat on those legs! And your cute little paw feet! Adorable!”
“Moooooom!” Kat yelled, her cheeks red from blush, though her fur hid that fact. “Stop it! Stop!”
“Let me take a picture.”
“Noooo!!!” Kat yelled. “No pictures! No video! Nothing! I don’t want people knowing I’m a giant cat!”
“How come?” her mom asked.
“Because it’s weird! I don’t want people chasing me out of town like I’m Frankenstein!”
Kat’s mom started laughing to Kat’s annoyance. “Oh, that’s just silly!” she said. “Frankenstein was the scientist who created the monster. Not the actual monster!”
“Mooooooom!” Kat yelled in a fluster.
“I’m sorry, honey,” her mom apologized after calming down from laughing so hard. “You don’t seriously think everyone in town will suddenly hate you just because you’re, well, different, do you?”
Kat glanced away, frustrated.
“Everyone in town is like your extended family,” her mom said, rubbing Kat’s back. “They watched you go from a toddler running around in diapers into a young woman. Just because you look a tad bit different now isn’t enough of a reason for them to turn their backs on you.”
“A tad?” Kat said, raising an eyebrow and her tail.
“Okay. A lot different. But what matters the most is what’s on the inside. You may be a cat on the outside, but you’re still the same Kat everyone has grown to love on the inside, and nothing will ever change that.”
Her mom went in for another hug, which Kat obliged.
“I swear, it’s like hugging a giant stuffed animal.”
“Moooooom!” Kat yelled, pushing her mom away and holding her arms as if defiled. “Stop taking this so lightly! My life’s practically ending here and you can’t stop yourself feeling up your daughter’s fur!”
Her mom raised her hands. “Alright, alright. I won’t do it anymore. And I get it. You’re a teenager who’s self-conscious about her appearance. We’ve all gone through that phase at some point in your lives.”
Kat wanted to argue that this was completely different, but she was growing tired of having to explain how serious the situation was, only for her “caring” mom to handwave it like it was a nonissue.
“Luckily for you, I brought something for you to wear to hide in as you walk around during the day.”
Kat’s mom picked up her canvas bag, which contained a rolled-up garment bag.
Curiosity getting the better of her, Kat leaned forward as she watched her mom unzip the garment bag and revealed its contents. Kat’s immediate reaction when she saw the outfit her mom produced was akin to that of a child sticking their tongue out when presented with a plate full of boiled brussel sprouts.
Maria, on the other hand, was jealous.
It was a long, puffy, bright pink and purple dress similar to the lolita style ones Maria always wore. Loose white sleeves that converge around the wrist with a yellow ribbon would comfortably hide her fur-covered arms. The hem of the dress went all the way down to the ankles, allowing her tail ample space with none the wiser. A high collar surrounded by a large yellow ribbon covered the neck in a way that wouldn’t stifle its wearer. Finally, a pair of knee-high white stockings and pink shoes completed the look.
“This is hideous!” Kat said as her mom held up the dress before her.
“I think it’s a very lovely dress,” Maria complimented.
“Thank you, Maria,” said Kat’s mom.
Kat pushed the dress away from her. “There’s no way I can go out wearing something like this! It’s all complicated and puffy and layered and uncomfortable and bleeeeeeh! Worse of all, I’ll look all lame and like a tryhard!”
“Oooh?” Maria said, narrowing her eyes. “Do you think my outfits make me look lame and a ‘tryhard’?”
Realizing she just offended her best friend, Kat shook both of her hands in front of her. “No no no! That’s not what I’m saying! When you wear these dresses you look absolutely beautiful! You were born to wear them! But me? Nuh-uh! No way! In fact, you can have it.”
“Look, honey,” her mom said. “At least with this, you’ll be able to hide all of your fur without resorting to wearing some monk-like garb. You’d look presentable.”
“I’d rather dress like a monk,” she pouted, crossing her arms in defiance. “Probably more comfortable, too.”
“Just try it on first before knocking it,” her mom insisted.
Kat shook her head. “No way!”
Kat’s mom let out a sigh. “I guess we’ll have to do this the hard way. Maria, hold her down for me.”
In an instance, Maria warped behind Kat. She locked her arms around Kat so she couldn’t attempt another escape.
“Huh?! Wha?!” Kat cried out frantically. “Let me go!”
“Forgive me,” Maria said. “But I really want to see how you look in that dress.”
“I thought you were my friend!”
“I am. But I am also an ally of your mom, and I cannot disrespect your mom’s wishes.”
“Traitor! Traitor! Traitoooor!” Kat screamed, kicking her feet in a futile effort to break free and run away.
Kat’s mom let out a sinister chuckle. “Don’t you remember trying on all those cute dresses I made for you when you were a toddler, Kat?”
Kat remembered. Those nightmares were difficult to forget.
Her mom treated her like a living doll, forcing her into elaborate, uncomfortable clothing that itched and poked her as they were often unfinished. To make things worse, they would never be weather-appropriate. She’d go outside in the summer heat, wearing a dress with way too many layers on. By the time she’d get home and strip she’d be drenched in sweat. When it was winter her clothes seemed to have the opposite problem. They were too thin, causing her to freeze. There were more times than she was willing to admit that she thought she was going to turn into a human icicle.
Her mom was a master tailor. More so than ever before. But Kat’s childhood mental scarring of being forced in and out of several outfits per day was too great. The moment she was old enough to dress by herself, all that mattered was that she felt comfortable. How she looked was irrelevant.
Those old scars reopened as Kat’s mom and Maria stripped her and forced her into the dress as she yelled and screamed for help.
“Oh my,” Maria said once they had finished.
Kat bared her fangs in frustration as her mom finished tying her into the dress.
“There! Perfect!” her mom cheered.
Kat appeared like a cute, life-size doll in the elaborate dress. Just as promised, it had covered almost all of her feline features.
“And the gloves!” her mom said, placing the pair of white satin gloves over Kat’s fur-covered hands. Due to the fur being compressed inside the gloves, her hands appeared severely swollen. Regardless, the fur was hidden, and that’s what was important. “And don’t forget this!” her mom said, placing a hair ornament carefully onto Kat’s head.
“What’s that supposed to cover up?!” Kat demanded to know.
“Nothing. I just thought it’d look cute,” her mom answered.
Kat shook in frustration, wanting to rip off the dress and shred it to pieces with her claws.
“Adorable,” Maria said, taking photos with her phone.
“Stop that! No photos!” Kat yelled, holding up her hands to block Maria’s phone.
Kat’s mom stepped back and admired her work with Maria. “This takes me back,” she said, remembering the years when Kat didn’t put up as much of a fight when she’d have her try on the adorable outfits she’d make.
“Oh!” Maria said. “What about Kat’s face?”
While the dress and accessories did a great job of obscuring Kat’s body, it only managed to cover from her feet to her neck. Her head was still in complete view.
Maria thought about the sort of things Kat could wear, such as facial masks, or maybe some sort of large hat, but no matter what she could come up with, there was some sort of flaw that would expose the truth and make all this effort wasted.
“I wondered about solving that dilemma too, Maria,” Kat’s mom said. “I spent hours sketching designs on some sort of fashionable headwear, but nothing really clicked into place. But then I found a stroke of inspiration!” She grabbed her bag and got to digging as Kat looked over her shoulder, trying to peep inside. “I just happened to have this lying around, and I thought it would work perfectly!”
Kat stood unflinchingly as her mom produced a large paper bag she got from the grocery store and placed it over Kat’s head. Kat waited a few seconds to hear the punchline, but none arrived. “You’re serious,” she said, forgoing the effort to phrase it as a question when she already knew the answer.
“At the very least, it does the job of hiding your head,” Maria admitted.
Kat lifted up the bag and looked at her mom with a raised eyebrow. “This was the best you could come up with?”
“Look, Kat, I may be a talented seamstress, but even I have my limits. I can’t just come up with some elaborate head covering for you without getting proper measurements first.”
Maria nodded in agreement.
“If that’s the case, then how come you had this dress ready to go?” Kat questioned.
“Oh, I already had that made,” her mom admitted. “What, you think just because you stopped trying on my dresses that I stopped making them for you?”
“For whenever you decide to change your mind and start showcasing my outfits again. Never would’ve thought it’d be needed for an emergency situation like this, but here we are.”
Kat let out an audible groan. She had long cemented the idea that she was never going to be a mannequin for her mom’s outfits ever again. To hear that her mom had continued to sew elaborate clothing for her despite this fact embarrassed her further. “But wait, if you’ve been continuously making me outfits, then you already know my measurements, right?”
“Well, yeah. I’m your mother, after all. But you’re forgetting a little something that throws everything off,” she said, rubbing her daughter’s ears.
Kat squinted with joy from the ear rub, only to swat away her mom’s hands to get her to stop. “Putting aside this somewhat disturbing revelation, how am I supposed to see where I’m going with a paper bag over my head?”
Without saying a word, Kat’s mom took the paper bag from her and pulled out a pair of small scissors she always keeps on her person. With a couple of snips, two holes were cut into the bag. She then placed the bag gently back over her Kat’s head. “Perfect!” she exclaimed.
“This doesn’t fix the whole ‘I look incredibly stupid’ problem,” Kat argued.
Maria tapped a finger to her bottom lip. “Hrmm. I think I might just have an idea.” She took the paper bag off Kat’s head and placed it on the kitchen counter. Grabbing a permanent marker from a junk drawer, she drew an incredibly simplistic cat-looking mouth by turning a three sideways, a couple lines for whiskers, then two upside down V’s for ears. Satisfied with her (nonexistent) drawing ability, she placed the bag back over Kat’s head.
“I like it,” Kat’s mom said. “Gives it that super weird but cute feeling.”
“I can’t tell if you guys are trying to help me or making fun of me at this point,” Kat said.
With her feline features covered up, Kat’s mom and Maria escorted her out of the guest house, where Maria’s siblings were watching from behind the cornstalks. Seeing the ridiculous ensemble adorning Kat’s figure, they all burst out laughing, save for Carlos.
“Don’t laugh,” Maria demanded.
Her siblings bit down on their lips to stifle their laughs, only to make awkward noises that indicated they were still indeed laughing their butts off.
Kat grabbed the front of her dress, incredibly embarrassed by how much of a doofus she looked like.
Suddenly, the paper bag was removed from her head. “Ah!” she cried.
“You’re much cuter looking this way!” Marco sneered as he ran off with the paper bag.
Kat stomped on the ground. “Get back here!” she shouted, demanding the return of the paper bag that she hadn’t cared for just moments earlier, but still felt self-conscious enough to want to keep it on. She and Maria soon chased after him and took it back.
Kat’s mom thanked Maria for all she had done and escorted Kat to her car at the entrance to the farm. Maria and her siblings shouted their goodbyes as they watched Kat and her mom drove back home. With the morning’s distraction gone, Maria made her siblings get back to their morning chores, and their typical routine resumed.
It wasn’t till later that day when Maria’s dad checked on the guest house and saw the destruction Kat’s sleepover had caused. “Ésta es la razón por la que no me gusta que los niños estén en la casa de huéspedes,” he sighed while shaking his head in annoyance.