Best Friend

Many thanks to Sue Vincent at #writephoto for this photo prompt. I am always honored to actually come up with a story or poem for this prompt.

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a blue-lit landscape, land and calm water mirroring the cloudy, silver-lit sky.

Best Friend

What is it about water? Waves breaking, river flowing, tidal, still, somehow it affected your mind and spirit.

Annie needed the water. She needed it now more than anything. She needed its rebirth, its healing, its being. She needed to be near or on the water because she was lost.

There was no one she could talk to. Well, she supposed that wasn’t entirely true. With enough money you can talk to anyone about your problems, right? With enough money you could talk to someone about your infatuation with Play-Doh. Silly. She laughed, shook her head.

The thing is, she’d lost her dog two months ago, but she can still see him walking with that over-sized plush lamb toy in his mouth after the delivery guy brought pizza. How he loved to walk in a circle with that toy after a delivery! She remembers far too vividly walking on the beach with him that so, so cold late December day in Southern Shores when she thought they both might have been facing Siberian winds with the sand raking their faces as they walked along the Atlantic. He didn’t care. He could be almost endlessly stoic. But she? Oh, she thought they would never make it back to base camp aka home. And that day when he wanted to avoid walking near people and tried to jump over a bridge railing onto the very hard rock bed below before she pulled him back and away from everything he was afraid of. And that was the way. She and her dog. Her always trying to steer him away from things that would harm or frighten him. Him, growing old barking in the evening for her to sit by him to allay the darkness. Neither was effusive in their love, but there was love. No doubt. She can still remember how vibrant he was two days before he died, when she dismissed unusual signs as growing old rather than a pernicious, stealthy cancer stealing him away.

The crickets chirp with autumn’s reckoning. She sips the wine she gave up a couple months before he died.

This evening she cries for him, feels a little stupid because real adults don’t cry after dogs this long, or do they? Or are real adults the ones who do cry after dogs because they know, in the long run, that to love a dog is to know love at its unconditional best? That humans are incapable of loving as well as dogs? Tomorrow, or maybe the next day, she’ll stop drinking wine again. Try to be the better person she longed to be. But tonight though, edging into morning, she lifts a glass to him, her dog, her companion, her friend, her very best friend, may he rest in peace. Her sweet, sweet companion.


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