Regrets of an old and new life
By: Dante Otter
The sun’s warmth flowed through the window of the nursery; chasing shadows slowly, but surely into corners and into obscurity, at least for now. A small lump curled underneath the covers of his crib stretched and yawned, he looked sleepily at his stuffed wolf that lay with a broad smile sewn across the muzzle. The kit groped for and embraced his wolf, snuggling deeper within his blanket, the kit yawned. He tossed and turned for a few minutes, but it was to no avail, he had always had trouble getting back to sleep after waking up, so he resigned himself to watching the dust dance in the beams of light.
The kit was about to climb out of his crib and find his mother when the door opened and a young vixen walked in, letting more light illuminate the room from the hall. The kit squinted and rubbed his eyes, he had always been sensitive to light, and morning was always disorienting for him. The vixen walked over to the crib and picked up the kit, smiling “how long have you been up, squirt?” The kit buried his face in her shoulder to block the brightness that was magnified by her opening up the curtains. “Just a few minutes Jessie.” The vixen giggled as she carried the kit over to the changing table, “glad to hear it, I was worried when you didn’t show up for our usual 3 am cuddle session” Jessie laid the kit on his back and undid his sleeper, she undid the tapes that held the wet diaper in place, all the while tickling the kit with her muzzle “Hey, I heard that someone’s having a birthday today” Jessie furrowed her brow “do you know who?” The kit threw his arms in the air and squealed “Me!” Jessie feigned shock, “you? No, it couldn’t be.” Jessie finished taping up a fresh diaper “How old are you today?” The Kit carefully counted on his paw until he reached what he thought was a reasonable estimation of his age “I’s three!” the kit exclaimed, holding five pudgy digits up for his sister to see.
Jessie carried her little brother into the kitchen, where another fox was cooking up some eggs. Jessie sat her brother in his highchair and went over to relieve her mother of the morning’s duties. The kit giggled with delight at seeing the older fox, “Good Morning Maiter!” The fox beamed with delight at the sight of the small, wriggling kit “good morning Seamus, did you sleep good?” The tail that fell from behind the chair swished back and forth with delight, “Aye, I did. And guess what?” the fox smiled, “what is it sweetie?” The kit brightened, “Today’s my birthday!” The fox suddenly looked worried, “oh, I must’ve forgotten to get you any presents.” Seamus’s ears dropped visibly. The matronly fox tickled the kit in his side “Just kidding. All your presents are in the living room.” But before the kit could climb out of his highchair and run to the living room, his mother continued “You’ll have to wait till tonight to open them.”
Arms dropping at his sides and a collective whine were not enough to persuade his mother to let him open just one, Seamus would have to wait for night to fall. And not because of his presents, well, not all of them, but one in particular, Seamus couldn’t wait to get.
Breakfast was a giant affair, and Jessie, mother and son ate vivaciously at the spread laid out. Waffles, strawberries, whipped cream, toast with butter and bacon, with juice and a healthy dose of scrambled eggs made sure that everyone would sleep well that afternoon. Seamus got to go watch cartoons while Jessie and Janine (her mother) cleaned up the plates. Jessie soon joined Seamus, watching cartoons which inevitably led into a movie, while Janine, in the other room, took care of a few bills and other projects that needed to get done that morning.
Seamus played with toys till the early afternoon, and then he got to eat a snack, peanut butter and apple. Hey, at least it helped him keep his mind off his presents, he rationalized. Soon after, Seamus was taken in for a nap, to which he cuddled in and tried to sleep. Sleep came slowly for Seamus, his mind was absorbed with many a thought of his presents, only one really mattered to him, but would he really be able to go through with it?
The flood of Seamus’s thoughts and excitement finally ebbed and at long last Seamus fell into the expanse of the subconscious that waited to embrace his already burdened mind.
Seamus woke suddenly, hitting his head on something hard, he wasn’t sure what, but he did know one thing. It hurt enough to cry about. Jessie came in quickly, summoned by the high pitched wailing that came, she found Seamus crying and standing up, waiting for her with outstretched arms. Jessie crossed the room quickly and picked up the crying kit, she rubbed his back and rocked him gently, humming, saying it would be okay. The effect of her kind words took effect and soon, Seamus could remember only vaguely what had been so upsetting to him.
Jessie gave her little brother a lick as she carried him over to the changing table, gently setting him on his back and exchanging his wet diaper for a dry one. Come on sweetie, we’re going to go out for dinner and see a movie. Seamus’s tail swished back and forth in anticipation. “And then I gets to open my presents?” Seamus looked up into the golden eyes of his big sister. Jessie giggled “and then you get to open your presents”
Jessie dressed her brother in a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and an overcoat. Then, after slipping a few necessary items into a diaper bag, she carried him out into the living room and sat on the couch, talking with him until Janine walked out of the hall, dressed and ready to go. Everyone clamored out the door leading into the garage and into the Duisenberg that waited silently, its tan and brown exterior lines moving in a fluid, constant motion that is found only in cars of a different era and world.
Seamus had been surprised when he had first seen the car; after all, it was an extremely rare car back home, few owned one. Then again, back home foxes didn’t walk on two paws and talk. He had asked Janine about it, but she had just dismissed the question with the suggestion that Seamus shouldn’t worry about it.
The family spent the evening in a nice restaurant, after Seamus was warned to be on his best behavior, you see, kits weren’t allowed in this particular restaurant, but Janine had called in a favor. Dinner was a memorable affair, Jessie sharing a teriyaki steak with her little brother, joking and laughing the whole time.
Dinner ended and the family drove to the local theater and watched a cartoon movie, not exactly Seamus’s favorite genre, but he found it delightfully amusing and laughed along and clapped when the bad guy lost (of course) and the delicate light of the theater lobby had a soothing effect, the kit yawned…
Seamus was asleep before they got home.
Jessie’s rhythmic movement as she carried him into the nursery brought Seamus back into reality, if only briefly. He mumbled and pushed away from Jessie’s shoulder, “present’s now?” Jessie giggled slightly and feigned to pout “awww, and to think I might’ve gotten away with getting your presents” Seamus smiled, instantly awake. Let’s go open them. All right, it’s a bit late, but let’s get you changed and dressed for bed first.
Jessie laid her little brother on the changing table, gently removing Seamus’s pants and shirt, untaping his diaper and exchanging it for a new one, then dressing him in a sleeper, she carried him out into the living room and into the waiting arms of Janine, who nuzzled her kit and sat down on the couch. Jessie took each one of the brightly wrapped gifts and gave them to Seamus, who opened them up in turn. Books, a soft wolf plushie and a few other memorable trinkets rounded out the evening. But it was when all the normal gifts were given that mother and sister began the most serious of gifts.
“Seamus, you know that both your sister and I love you very much, and it’s tradition here for every little one that comes to our world to be given a choice on their first birthday.” Seamus’s tail wagged with excitement “Do you want to be my kit, or do you want your old life?” Jessie smiled “you know you don’t have to decide tonight, you can wait as long as you’d like.” Seamus cuddled with his wolf. “No, I can choose now” Seamus sniffed “I want my old life.”
Silence reigned in the living room as it took a full 2 minutes before either of the vixens could speak Janine recovered first “are you sure sweetheart?” Seamus nodded. Jessie walked over and scooped up her little brother “well, we better get you off to bed anyway.” She brushed a tear from her eye as she cuddled with the little one “you know, you’re still my kit brother, no matter what species you are.” Seamus smiled “promise you’ll visit for Christmas.” Jessie smiled “wouldn’t miss it for the world” Jessie laid the kit in his crib for the night and pulled the covers around him she leaned in close “I love you” Seamus mumbled “luv you too, sis”
Seamus stirred in his bed, pulling the pillow and his plushie close, his eyes opened, and he slowly sat up, noticing the torn and ripped sleeper along with accompanying diaper that was crumpled in a small fuzzy ball at the foot of the bed. Seamus swing his feet and sat up, rubbing his temples. Seamus staggered across his bedroom climbing into the shower and sitting underneath the head, he let the water flow over his head. Seamus soaked for over an hour before he decided to get out, opting for a pair of jeans and a shirt in exchange for the towel from his bathroom.
Seamus walked into the kitchen ignoring the few gifts in a shopping bag that sat underneath the kitchen table, and he went straight for the fridge. Looking for something to eat, and it took little deliberation to decide on some toast and eggs, yogurt and orange juice. Seamus wasted no time with wondering if it all had been some sort of warped dream, he knew better, and he had the slight rash to prove it.
Seamus sat at the table and ate while he listened to his messages, resolving to call his girlfriend, Lee, as soon as he was done eating. He called her up, explaining his absence with a well contrived explanation that made no sense to Lee, which was unusual, but it seemed that no one had noticed that he had gone missing. Seamus chalked it up to another mystery of the fur world and made a date with Lee for that night.
All was right with his world again, and he was happy.
Four months later…
“Are you sure that you want to meet my sis and maiter?” Seamus paced in front of the tree, which he had carefully and artistically decorated, the tree as well as the stacks of presents beneath and around. “Lee half-dragged her fiancé to the couch and gave him a mug of hot chocolate “Of course I do sweetheart, if I’m going to marry you, I’m going to have to meet my new sister and maiter” Seamus, still nervous, sipped from his cocoa, “It’s just that, well, they’re not normal.” Lee shushed Seamus, explaining that no matter what they looked like, she would love to meet them. The couple was in the middle of snuggling together before the fire, when a knock emanated from the door. Seamus jogged/scrambled for the door with Lee following not seven steps behind. Seamus unlocked the door and opened it, bringing in two, what looked like to Lee, six foot foxes. She started and grasped the banister for support. Seamus turned and noticed, he was over by her in an instant, helping her stand and introducing the guests in the same moment. “Darling, I’d like you to meet my big sister, Jessie and my maiter, Janine.”
Lee extended her hand out as if in a trance, “It’s wonderful to meet you, I’ve heard a lot from Seamus.” Jessie smiled and grasped Lee’s hand in her paw. “Oh, I’m sure not as much as he’s told us about you.” The group spent the evening talking, Lee learning more than she could have learned in a thousand years about the furry world. She learned of the time Seamus had spent and all the antics he had engaged in as a kit.
Christmas Eve led to day, and presents were exchanged, but none were more precious than the picture that sits above the fireplace of Seamus’s home. It’s a simple frame, with a simple picture. Three foxes, all laughing happily, playing a game and enjoying the beauty that is family. And through that picture, Seamus never feels far from his family
Do I have regrets about my decision? Sure. But Jessie and Maiter assured me that I can go back at any time, Lee has expressed some desire to go, so maybe… And I must say that I do miss my tail and fur when the air grows cold. Perhaps one day I will venture back into my different life. But I’m happy here, content? Perhaps, but one is never truly content with what he has.