Jelly for Grown Ups

You can still see them: the waxed paper dishes at parties when you were a kid, their fluted pink rims around a pool of glistening red jelly, sometimes, depending on the skill of whoever's mother was in charge, crowned with a nozzled star of cream. NestlĂ©. Tinned. You remember, still, the sound jelly makes scooped up on a plastic spoon, a rubbery squelch, and how easily the spoon's handle could shatter in your fingers. And now, the toy cat your friend, Maxine, bought you when you were 9 or 10: admired by all your friends for its extravagance, its own stiff card box with a lid, its jet black beaded eyes, the silkiness of its fur.