This is Biko, and when I first met him, I was seriously imtimidated. He’s a big, muscular dude but wasn’t mean, didn’t growl or bare his teeth or threaten to bite.
No, he’s way too cool for that, and he knows it. He was just a little standoffish, keeping to his corner of the yard, avoiding me indoors, eating and taking treats while basically ignoring my very presence.
And that made me want to be friends even more!
I was back in high school, trying to get the cool kid to notice me, longingly watching him pass by in the halls, leather jacket creaking, a waff of cigarettes trailing behind like cheerleaders, then the roar of his muscle car as he lays down rubber in the parking lot. And it was only third period! Cool guy doesn’t care. Let the squares mark him absent, he’s off to real life.
The second time I met Biko, it was like I’d passed some sort of test. By keeping my cool the first time, he let me in, and we were best friends. Can you imagine? Best friends!
And this is how he shows it. Not with a wagging tail or wiggly body. Not with a toothy smile. Not with leaps or hops. Not with barks for attention. Just a stealthy sidle between my legs and a tilted head, enough to lift my foot off the ground. He’s there, and if you want to say hi, that’s cool. If not, cool, I’m still here.
Not falling to my knees and collapsing into baby talk is the hardest test for me every time I go see Biko. It’s cool. We’re cool.