I lost a friend

Holly was more than just a friend, but Carlos wouldn’t admit it
I lost a friend

Carlos Santana, the pug who talks to me on a Saturday was in a sour mood. Non-communicative and all to himself. He had spread himself on the right side of the sofa, barely leaving enough place for me to squeeze my behind on the right. When it comes to the sofa there are no compromises. He gets pride of place.

“What’s up Carlos?” I asked.

He lifted his head and gave me a mournful look. “I lost a friend,” he said with a sigh.

He was referring to the death of Holly, the beige Labrador, with whom he shared a love-hate relationship. Most good friendships are like that.

I lost a friend
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“She was more than a friend, no?” I said.

His head shot up and there was a hint of anger in his eyes. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, everyone knows you had the hots for her,” I said nonchalantly.

“For God’s sake show some respect to the dead,” he yelled. “She was a dear friend, that’s all.” Noticed how he went from friend to ‘dead friend’?

Holly was about 12 years old when she passed away recently. She had a host of health complications, mostly brought about by being overweight. “She was quite fat and that finally did her in,” I said. “Weight is something that we all have to watch. Too much of it and it eats you from the inside…..”

I lost a friend
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Carlos’s ears shot up but he concealed his rage. “Spare me the lecture, Mr Know-all. I think the words you are looking for are ‘well-endowed’ and ‘curvy’, not ‘fat’. Fat is used by the unsophisticated.”

“So what was the deal between the two of you,” I asked, “because you used to go quite crazy when around her.”

“I am a male okay,” he said, “and when I see a curvy, big girl the testosterone kicks in. You of all the people should understand that. You are not exactly a pretty sight when your wife’s friends drop in, you know.”

He really was in the mood for a fight.

“Tell me something, Carlos,” I said, “in your world would a relationship between a Pug and a Labrador be inter-racial, inter-cast, inter-religion … or what?”

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“I just go by smells,” he nonchalantly said. “The stuff you are talking about are artificial constructs created by humans to prevent the more virile ones from going overboard.”

“You mean turning into animals?” I said with a tinge of anger.

“Take that back or I will bite you where it hurts,” he yelled.

Not wanting to find out the painful way if his bite was more potent than his bark, I backed down. “Sorry Carlos,” I ventured, “I know you are hurting …. is there anything I could do …..”

“Stay quiet,” he admonished, “ I am praying.”

“Do you believe in God?” I asked, a little surprised by the discovery.

I lost a friend
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He sighed. A loud one this time. “I just want to believe Holly is in a better place.”

That really made me sad. “Come here,” I said, “let me pet you. It will cheer you up.”

“Pet me?” he shot back, “what am I, a girl?”

I thought that was the end of our conversation, but with Carlos, it’s never over, till he says it’s over. “If you really want to cheer me up, fix me a tuna sandwich,” he said, and for some reason, it sounded like an order.

I lost a friend
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