Barkley lies on the sofa. He lays on a blanket I brought with me to catch as much hair as I can, a courtesy for the owners of the Airbnb. In a protective move, Lily, my daughter’s dog and Barkley’s best friend, is in her open kennel, gnawing the bone I just gave her. Barkley finished his bone a few minutes earlier.
ME: You digging being together with Lily again, huh? Two month apart, I thought maybe the two of you would have to be reacquainted. But no. You two greeted each other as if no time has passed. I guess that’s what best friends do – find their rhythm and go on as if two months was yesterday.
Barkley looks at me, glances away, and then looks at me again.
ME: Best friends are truly gifts in life, no? I have a few girlfriends I would say are my besties. I relied on them so heavily when Peter died, and they came through for me. Sometimes, we go weeks and months not seeing each other. Oh, we may have a phone conversation here, a texting session there, but a lot physical time together may have lapsed. And yet, when we reunite, it’s like time stayed still for us to catch up with it. Our unconditional love and comfort remains the same. The laughs follow the same pattern. Unspoken understanding falls in without any pushes. An easiness hangs on between us and never drops.
Lily finished her bone and joins Barkley on the couch. He immediately curls up to her as if he can’t let her go. Lily grumbles, sighs and relents like an older sibling annoyed at her little brother. This only makes Barkley snuggle in closer.
ME: I get you Lily. I have been annoyed with even my bestest of friends. And, I know I have been irritating to my bestest of friends. But see, that’s when you know your friendship means the most. We can be the most irksome person in the world, maybe even say ugly things in anger, perhaps even hear the not-so-nice verbiage, and yet, we remain friends. See, we know each other so well, the warts we have are glossed over and we see the beauty in each other. Sure, sometimes it’s a strain, but we know it’s there. And when we do see it, when we do revel in it, it’s like pure happiness. It’s one of the times I know God exists…in the faces and feelings of a best friendship. So, just like you, Lily, being annoyed at Barkley, you know…I know…in about ten minutes, the two of you will be playing tug, or a game of chase. You put up with him because in the end, Barkley will be the one you play with, the one who will make you the happiest, if only for a few minutes. And, Lily, I have seen you, at the end of the day, nuzzling into Barkley. Maybe he’s your good-night comfort.
Lily moves. Barkley matches it. In a dance of comfort – Lily trying to find hers, and Barkley using Lily as his – they settle down once again.
ME: Yeah, sometimes you need space from a person, any person. With a Bestie though, you don’t move completely away. You still need a connection. You still want to know they are there. Annoyance will come and then go. Connection will always remain.
Lily jumps off the couch and runs to the sliding glass windows to watch a squirrel. Barkley runs up beside her, looking out the window and then at Lily. Lily keeps her gaze steady.
ME: You two love each other. However you show it. You love each other. There is a special bond between you two, and I get it. I am lucky enough to have a Barkley, a Lily, in my life. We are blessed.