'Don't worry about Tomas,' Nadia reassured Harry. 'He's just a little bit slow when it comes to making new friends. He'll come around, I know he will.'
Tomas was refusing to come out from under Nadia's bed, having been startled when he saw Harry for the first time. Even Nadia found Harry's six feet five inches a bit imposing, so a small kitten – even though it was not technically alive – was bound to be a little intimidated both by his height and also by the size of his size 12 feet.
'No sweat,' Harry assured her. 'If he's like most cats, he'll come out when he's hungry. If I hang about a while, he'll come out eventually.'
'So, anyway', Harry continued, 'tell me about his band you like.'
Nadia looked across at him bleakly. 'You wouldn't understand. You're just not the type.'
'What do you mean, just not the type?'
Nadia sighed. 'For a start, there's your age. You're just too old to 'get' it. They're all about life and death and liberation of the soul and experiencing life without exploiting others. You know?'
Harry shook his head.
Nadia frowned. 'Exactly!'
'But I enjoy good music and well written songs,' Harry began, feeling confident. 'You know, like Coldplay, Elbow and Radiohead?
Nadia sighed again, this time more heavily. 'Need I say any more?'
'But they write good songs and music!'
Nadia looked at her feet a moment. 'It's not about music and songs,' she then said, looking away from Harry. 'It's the vibe, the community, the sense of danger and the thrill of it all. Nothing at all like Radiohead and Coldplay.'
'Oh', Harry replied, now looking disappointed.
'But I'm barely twenty! I'm not that old,' Harry protested. 'You're not far off seventeen now. There's less than four years between us!'
'I know. But that makes SUCH a difference.'
'Oh. Okay! But we're still cool, aren't we?'
'Of course we are!' Nadia grinned. 'You just don't understand everything about me. Same way I don't understand everything about you. But that's not a problem, it's an opportunity. Isn't it?'
'How do you mean?' Harry asked, puzzled.
'Look.' Nadia sat on the bed beside him. 'If we shared the same views and knew everything each other knew, what would we talk about?'
'I see where you going...' Harry mused. 'But if I can't understand some of the things you love...'
'…You'll have to spend a long, long time with me until you begin to get everything that I'm about,' Nadia continued for him. 'And that's not going to be a problem, is it?'
'Definitely not! Harry gave her a hug, pulling her close.
Nadia looked back up at him, smiling. 'I like sitting on my bed with you,' she laughed. 'You don't appear to be quite so freakishly tall when we're both sitting down together.'
Later that evening, when Harry had gone back to the house he shared with three other people, Nadia managed to coax Tomas back out from under the bed, using a dead mouse from the jar she kept in the small refrigerator in the corner she used as a kitchen. (She regularly bought them in bulk from the local pet shop, explaining that she kept an exotic pet something like a snake.)
'Tomas. Tomas,' she crooned at the cat currently sat dozing in her lap. 'Harry's a nice man. A really nice man. You're just going to have to get used to him, I'm afraid. I think he's someone who's going to be good for me, so please try to get to like him. Please. Do it for your Nade!'
Unfortunately, Tomas looked up at her as blankly as he always did, although Nadia did suspect that the five mice brains he'd just eaten had put him in a good mood.
'I love you to bits, you little monster, but I just wish that... sometimes... you were something more than what you are now. I mean, I didn't know what I was doing when I dug you up again, but I did hope that you'd be a bit more like you used to be. Oh well...'
Nadia put the kitten back on the floor again and watched him stumble back into the shadows under her bed.
'Oh Tomas', she said, her voice coloured by more than a fair amount of regret. 'I wish I'd told Harry the truth about you earlier, instead of saying you had been brain-damaged by oxygen-deficit when your heart stopped for a few minutes. What's he going to think when I tell him the truth about you, eh?'
As usual, Tomas had little to say.
' I just didn't want to lay too much on him at one time though.' Nadia shook her head, regretfully. 'One day at a time, Nade. One day at a time, eh?'