Uhura mostly ignored Theseus. She gave him a sniffing every now and then when their paths crossed in the hallway, but she was mostly unphazed by his presence. Veronica imagined that Uhura knew she would always remain, even though countless other felines had come and gone. She couldn’t get interested in any of the cats that took shelter at the house, as they would only leave. Uhura would strut around the other cats wearing a jaded look, maybe some sort of bemusement at the knowledge that she would always have a place here in Veronica’s home.
She had been Veronica’s first cat and thus would always have a special place in Veronica’s heart, even though she sometimes signified bad memories and heartbreak.
Uhura had been a gift to Veronica by her first and only real boyfriend, Matthew. Matthew and Veronica had both been Library and Information Studies majors and had taken some classes together at the same university. After graduation they both landed the same jobs as cataloguers at the university that they were both alumni of.
They were co-workers for three or so years before anything happened. Stuff like that took longer to blossom and develop among the folks that inhabited the confines of the library basements. They shared a fanaticism of Star Trek and most early conversations centered on talk of Borgs, Vulcans, Captain Jean Luc Pickard, and sometimes the original series. She began to enjoy these conversations and began to feel a strong fondness for Matthew.
Sometimes, her stomach got the butterflies whenever she looked at him from across the room. And at an easy two hundred and fifty pounds, long greasy black hair, glasses and a goatee, he was by any means attainable for her. She would wonder if he ever looked at her from across the room, if he thought she was pretty. She had never been that much to look at with her untamable long hair, glasses, gangly arms, and loose and unflattering clothes that she hid in. But then again, he probably couldn’t nor shouldn’t be too picky.
She would loan him her Star Trek: The Next Generation tapes whenever he missed the airing and soon he invited her over to his bachelor-esque apartment to watch the tapes she had made him. Sometimes they watched The X-Files together and sometimes she would stay until it was almost midnight.
The apartment always had a just cleaned charm to it whenever she arrived. The living room clear of any clutter or funk and the carpet halfway vacuumed. The bedroom door mysteriously closed, probably piles of laundry and magazines shoved wall to wall back in there before her arrival. The kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes, but she admired the fact that he had made some attempt to make his apartment clean and presentable.
Their first date was delivery pizza on a coffee table while they watched some TV. Dinner and a movie, he had paid. The night had lingered on the pizza box was empty, the show was over and the evening played on. She didn’t feel the urge to go and she wasn’t picking up any signals from Matthew for her to leave. He had gotten up to throw the pizza box away and when he returned he sat a lot closer to her on the couch, their legs touching, her heart beating at the initial contact.
Finally, he leaned in. It was a glorious and awkard moment for her. She wasn’t sure of what to do, so she just let it happen. His goatee whiskers tickled, his breath smelled like pepperonis, and he was making some weird breathing sounds, but it was still a great moment, the idea of it all. Kissing.
His tongue was like a fat dying fish in her mouth. Was this how it was supposed to be? She had no previous experience to compare it to. She reached up and touched his face and guided him to an angle that felt right, to a way that that she thought is should feel. After getting situated they were soon going at it, lying together and making out on the couch.
Two or so weeks later there was sex in his funky, bad cologne smelling bedroom. It didn’t hurt like she thought that it was going to, but it didn’t last long enough for her to get a good feel for it either. He had slid in for an instant, went rigid and was soon slumping out of the room, tugging at the condom that was wrapped around his softening penis.
Veronica rolled over to see if there was any blood. There wasn’t any. She put her panties back on and reaching for her bra that had fallen to the floor, she caught a glimpse of the underside of his bed. Porno magazines and dirty clothes and chip wrappers were stashed underneath his bed. All of this was a curiosity to Veronica as she had not been in a man’s private bedroom in her entire life. She quickly got dressed and waited for Matthew to return.
And so that was about the extent of the romance that went with the relationship. The amount of effort that it had taken to make his bed, light a candle, and hide his jism stained rags and porn under the bed was the amount of effort that Matthew put into the duration of the relationship.
Veronica, in her first real romantic relationship, went on ignorantly, blind to the fact that she was getting the shaft. However, she did feel that something was missing and had made arrangements herself for her and Matthew to go on real, verifiable dates: dinner at Red Lobster and Olive Garden (in which they went Dutch) and trips to the dollar theater (in which he splurged and bought both tickets). Had she not taken the reigns, the routine of takeout, TV, and sex would have continued.
The sex did improve some. He was beginning to last longer and she was starting to enjoy the way that it felt the longer he was inside. She even began to initiate it as they sat together touching on the couch and she would feel something ignite in her lower half. Whenever this would happen she rode on top and it was better this way. Almost four minutes would pass before he came and she also didn’t have to have his heavy and exhausted body on top of hers.
Matthew wasn’t entirely without romantic inclinations. He had brought her a dozen red roses to work on the two Valentine’s days that they had spent together. Even though he had left the price tag on the bouquets, Veronica was flattered to be treated in such a way. And it was Matthew who had given her Uhura.
It happened on one of their sushi nights, an event which happened about every other week. Veronica had picked up an order at the local sushi restaurant and was setting the table at her place with paper plates, small packets of soy sauce, and an iris in a vase as a centerpiece. These little flourishes went unnoticed and unmentioned by Matthew. He might ask where the flower came from and continue chomping down bites of seaweed rolled rice with a crab salad center.
Matthew walked in the front door, carrying something wrapped in a towel. Veronica instantly feared that it was some kind of animal.
“What the hell is that thing?” she asked.
“It’s a little baby kitten. Look!” He pushed the bundle towards Veronica and she stepped back.
“Get it away from me. I don’t want to see it. What’s it doing here anyways? Where did you get it?” Her voice shook.
“This little girl and her mom had a box full of ‘em down at Wal-Mart. They were free and I was thinking you might like one since you get lonely here all by yourself.”
Veronica didn’t know if that last comment was a subtle nod towards the two of them moving in together or some sort of chauvinistic conception that, she, a woman, could not bear to be alone.
“I’m perfectly fine by myself,” she almost shouted.
“Oh okay,” Matthew said in a tone that said ‘suit yourself.’
Veronica still had not seen the kitten as Matthew had it concealed underneath the towel. She wondered contemptuously if it was one of his dirty jism stained towels.
Matthew lowered the bundle to the floor.
“Matthew. I said I didn’t want to see it,” Veronica said, but she couldn’t even convince herself. Curiosity was getting the best of her.
The little critter crawled out and looked around. It had a brownish and soft downy hair. Veronica’s defenses were weakening. It turned and strutted toward her on little pipe cleaner legs, looked up with golden eyes. The kitten meowed at her and began to sniff her pant legs.
“Aww, look he likes you,” Matthew said.
Hesitantly, Veronica reached down to pet it. The cat rose up on its hind legs to meet her hand halfway. She cracked a smile.
“Well how do you know it’s a boy?”
“Hmmm,” Veronica thought out loud as she stroked the little cat. “What are you trying to do? Make me like the rest of the cat ladies we work with down at the library? How am I supposed to feed it? What if it pees all over the place?”
“I bought it a litter box and some litter. They’re born with an innate ability to use it. He’s already house broken.”
Veronica continued petting the kitten and it looked up at her some more and let out a soft mew.
“It’s called a tortoise shell cat. That’s the pattern of his fur. You know, they’re really not that hard to take care of. They’re really self-sufficient.”
“Dammit Matthew,” she said looking into the kitten’s emerald eyes. “I guess I’ll have to keep you,” she whispered to it. “You’re okay, I guess.” The cat replied with another of its soft meows and sealed the deal.
After taking the new cat to the vet she learned that it was a female in good health. She also wanted to get her declawed so she wouldn’t tear stuff up. This was done when the cat was big enough to go through the procedure and for a few days, Uhura, as she was named, was in a sad and sour state. Veronica felt bad for her and almost regretted her decision to have the procedure performed. But Uhura soon rebounded and was as happy and playful as ever.
In the long run, Veronica was happy that Matthew had picked up this kitten. And he had done it of his own volition, without her asking! It made her optimistic about their future. Maybe he would plan things to do together on his own now. Maybe there would be more kind gestures, like dinner dates that she didn’t have to arrange.
He dumped her three weeks later. A week after getting her the cat, he grew more distant, cancelling arrangements, not answering his phone. And then nothing. The last week he ignored her completely and she received an e-mail at work simply stating “I think we should take some time off.” He sent this e-mail half a room away and she could’ve went crazy on him right then and there, jump all over him and his cowardice, his little dick. But it wasn’t like her to be overly emotional. The pit of her stomach was perforated and she was shocked more than anything. She felt terrible, so she went home sick and spent the rest of the day crying in bed.
She found out about the reason for his departure a week or so later. She saw him walking to his car, holding hands with some girl with dyed black hair, glasses, and a fat ass.
He took another job a month later and that was the last she saw of him.
Uhura was all the companion that she needed for now. The kitten comforted her in her periods of the grieving of the loss of her only relationship. Veronica could now join in the conversations with the other cat owners at the library. Some of them owned up to six cats. And soon one of the ladies asked her to cat-sit her two kittens while she was away on vacation.
Veronica enjoyed these conversations and how these ladies found that all of their cats were different with their own unique personalities. Some were playful, some were lazy and loving, some were apathetic and indifferent, some were lap cats, some liked water, and some were just batshit crazy. She had to have another.