Who invited Catwoman? Oh, it’s the sitter.
Christina was the female equivalent of the male “tall dark and handsome”- she was long and lean, elegant. She had deep brown eyes, olive skin, and rich black hair. She was mysterious and witty, and had a slow, broad smile that revealed perfect teeth.
Sometimes when she would come over to my house, we’d cook dinner together. Sometimes we’d lie in the grass until the sunset and talk. Sometimes we’d watch a movie. But – at least in my mind – there was always this buzz of energy in the air. She pulled me right in and seduced my senses. I never knew what to expect.
So this particular evening, I was sitting on the love seat in the living room, wearing my nightgown, and waiting for her to arrive. The flash of headlights from her black Mustang came around the corner and shined through the windows, then the jolting knock on the door that made the blinds swing. My heart started beating fast and my palms started to sweat, and I jumped up and went to answer the door. But when I did, I could have never expected what Christina would bring with her this time.
She was in a full-blown head-to-toe black pleather cat suit. I’m talking pointy ears, a long tail, spiked stiletto heels, long black eyelashes, red lips – the works. I stood there, stunned at her boldness and beauty. She oozed confidence. I just stared at her awkwardly, not saying anything. She stood there silent, too; she just waved with her long, sharp, elegant cat talons. The tension built thickly in the air in the silence.
And then, my parents walked into the kitchen. I was 10. Christina was my babysitter.
“Christina, thanks so much for coming last min- oh, my!” my mom laughed nervously and my dad cleared his throat while he tried to avert his eyes from the gorgeous six-foot-two black sex kitten standing by the fridge.
“Oh! And what a cute little get-up you have on this evening!” my mom feigned, acting as if it had just occurred to her in that very second that the babysitter was a large latex feline. “Where have you been this evening?” What did my mother expect: that she’d say, “Oh just a little Junior League gathering,” or maybe, “heading down to the library!” Regardless, I was dying for that answer. And I also wanted to yell out, “…and where did you get that glorious outfit?” Instead, I said (in an awkwardly loud manner, “YOU LOOK LIKE RUBBER!”
Christina patted me on my head. “Oh, I had a little production downtown.” I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but I have my theories at this point in the game. She stroked her pointy cat ears. I wanted to touch them, too.
“That sounds nice!” my mother forced with a nervous laugh. My dad was still looking at the ground. “Well, we’ll be home around midnight – the phone numbers are on the counter here, Christina. So y’all just have a great time and don’t eat too many Oreos!”
And my parents darted off. They left my 7 year old sister and I, alone, with a woman dressed in kink (and no more “casual” change of clothing in tow, no less) in my kitchen…and my mom was worried about how many Oreos I’d scarf down. These are the same parents who wouldn’t let me watch R rated movies; they made me say, “yes, ma’am” and “no sir;” and in my teenage future, would never allow me a curfew past 11 pm. But in this case, they disappeared like magicians, leaving Catwoman to man the ship.
Now, I have to say: as a new mother, I can actually make complete sense of this situation. There are certain times when, come hell or high water, you’re planning your escape and you’d have the 7-11 gas attendant or the woman cracked out on meth under the underpass by the Dairy Queen watch your kid.
So in retrospect, having this woman stay to babysit was nuts, but as a ten-year-old girl who loved Michelle Pfeiffer in “Batman” and who was already mildly obsessed with this babysitter, this was the best night ever. One of the standout features of this cat suit was its Madonna like, dunce cap shaped cat boobs that came to a major point. They seemed exciting, inappropriate, and completely dangerous all at the same time. I pictured them being able to shoot darts to kill bad guys, but also as posing a serious issue if she were to tuck me in and bend down to kiss me on the forehead. A job hazard she clearly wasn’t considering in this line of work.
We had some Oreos (but not “too many,”) played a rousing game of Monopoly, and I headed to bed. She did tuck me in and kiss me goodnight in the end, and I winced and tightened my fists in anticipation of death by cat teet stabbing, but she narrowly missed each side of my neck. Just a graze! Disaster averted.
I had trouble falling asleep, so I went downstairs to talk with Christina, thinking she could talk me out of my fear like my parents might have. After all, that was her job in light of my parent’s absence, right? She suggested we go sit on the love seat and specifically, to “have a mature discussion about it.” This made me feel very special and adult. She sat down next to me, her suit squeaking like a dog toy. I sweat with excitement.
“I’m afraid because our house makes lots of noises.” I felt embarrassed to confess this to such a beautiful woman whom I respected so much and who dressed so well.
She pulled out blood red lipstick from her cleavage and applied it.
“Did you say your goodnight prayers?” she meowed.
I knew there was no good answer to this question. “No,” I answered sheepishly.
“Mmm, I see,” she said knowingly and damningly. “Sometimes, when we don’t pray, demons keep us awake at night. The devil sends them through your windows to tempt you away from the love of God because they want to take you away and down to hell with them.”
Demons. That’s what she explained as the thing that keeps me away at night. Not bad dreams, not my silly imagination, not the creaks in the floors, but demons.
(My sister later astutely pointed out that demons didn’t need windows to get in your room, they could do whatever they dang well pleased. So when Christina tried to pull the Demon Card on my sister, she essentially rolled her eyes, shrugged it off, and went right to sleep, snug as a bug in a rug.)
Christina had us pray together on the loveseat, then again over my bed to exercise these aforementioned demons. For some reason, the fact that she was sitting there in all her black cover, praying for the evil to leave my Shera Princess of Power sheet set made everything all the more troubling, and I did not want to get into that bed. So she led me back downstairs, her black stiletto heels clicking on each step, and me following in my Pac Woman nightgown.
“Ok, so what I’m going to do for you is make some warm milk.” I had never heard of this tactic for inducing sleep before, but I was still mightily intrigued by her ways even though I was terrified. She slinked over to the kitchen and prepared the milk for me in a mug with a Far Side character on the side of it. The milk burned my tongue and tasted like old hot low fat cheese.
But she glared at me so wildly that I slurped that shit down fast so that I could just go back upstairs. At this point, sleeping in the Devil’s Workshop seemed like a better option than her perfectly mascaraed cat eyes watching me sip my nasty-ass warm skim milk.
“Oh yeah, wow, now I’m really sleepy,” I lied, wiping off my hot milk moustache with a gag.
“Mmmm hmmm, good night,” she said, nodding slowly, in that scary flirty tone we know from fairy tales. I hopped up off the loveseat and through the kitchen to turn once more her and say good night. She was still sitting, stroking her cattail and smiling at me from the couch.
“I’ll be praying for you.”
Back up in my room, clutching my sheets, it occurred to me that the woman I loved probably knew a lot about demons because she was one. I figured out what had just occurred: while I wasn’t looking, she probably squeezed her body’s own warm cat milk out of one of her pointy leather kitten boobs into that mug and served it to me to put me to sleep.
I cried myself to sleep that night, but wondered still, could I have brought the warm skim demon milk mug up here with me and dipped my ‘too many Oreos’ in it to make a delicious snack??
Because that would have made it all worth it.