Today is Cody’s birthday; he’s my dear friend, in fact, my best friend. My neighbor Miss Ella’s Great Dane a decade ago gave birth to four puppies. My mom knew how much I wanted a puppy, so she convinced Miss Ella to sell her one of the puppies, and I got one as a gift on my birthday. It was the best birthday gift ever; as of now, that birthday gift has turned into my family. Cody is turning 12 today; he was once a little puppy who came to our home wearing a small rainbow-colored collar. My best friend puppy was shy and slow, innocent but eventually became the naughtiest little mutt in the neighborhood.
When he was around three years in his prime of mischief, he became the neighborhood star. In the evenings, it was time for him to collect dog treats from all over the block in exchange for some hugs and handshakes. Sometimes, he’d drop me off at the school bus in the mornings. It gradually became an everyday routine. As soon as I returned from school, we’d have lunch together. Then take a nap and return to our evening collection of dog treats from the neighbors. It was like every day was Christmas and Santa was all around us. My neighbor, Miss Ella, who gave Cody to me as a gift, had given two other puppies to her cousin and had kept one puppy with herself, whom she named Elena.
An old lady, Miss Ella liked her solitude and kept to herself mostly. As Elena grew old, Miss Ella decided to let her make some friends. Elena started coming to our house to hang out with Cody and me in the afternoons. When the two siblings met, they fell in love immediately; the phrase “love at first sight” had come true. Cody and Elena were on their way to make babies, and I had to break the news to Miss Ella.
Since I had completed school, I was home all day, so I prepared a gift basket for Miss Ella and knocked at her door in the afternoon. She opened the door, thinking I was here to take Elena for her evening play date. She passed me her leash, and I handed her the gift basket I had made. I told her I had to talk to her about something, and she invited me in.
As I walked in, I saw posters of my favorite rock bands and a guitar beside the sofa. “I never knew you play the guitar and listen to my favorite rock bands,” I said. “These are my daughter’s collection,” she said. Miss Ella got me a cup of tea, and we started our conversation slowly and steadily, discussing life in general, about my best friend puppy , my life, her life, and the first cup of tea that didn’t feel like the last. She was a warm and gentle soul with a good heart, and her home was homely and cozy. In the middle of our conversation, I told her about Cody and Elena’s love affair, and she very comfortably digested the fact that we cannot stop nature and that it was probably meant to be. She knew letting Elena meet Cody would mean the two mating somewhere soon.
We both enjoyed each other’s company and kept meeting for cups and conversations. A few days after our first meeting, Miss Ella told me her daughter Lilith would be visiting her for a few days. I gave Miss Ella the idea that we should all celebrate Cody and Elena’s wedding. She thought it was a great idea.
Lilith arrived, and the festivities began. We all went dog shopping, got a new bed for Cody, toys, collars for the babies, and even a custom-made tuxedo for Cody and a dress for Elena. It was such a blast. The whole neighborhood was invited. We celebrated my best friend’s wedding, during which Lilith and I realized how comforting it was to be in each other’s company. When she learned that we both play the guitar and listen to the same music. The fact that Miss Ella was also my tea time buddy and that instead of hanging out with other boys and girls, I was hanging out with her mother, who was now like an aunt to me.
Unlike Cody and Elena, we didn’t express much at the wedding. She went back to Los Angeles, and we spoke on the phone now and then until Elena had her babies. We kept a small celebration again. This time the festivities were louder but in silence. Someone had to make the first step. I bought a dog leash that said “I love you” and gave it to Lilith and told her this was for Elena. Lilith had a flight the morning after Elena’s delivery. She left, and with her went my heart and the hope they would return. The next day she sent me a package with a dog leash that said, “I love you too.”
Today, I’m happily married to my second best friend, all because of my best friend puppy, Cody.