I've had a friend today. Last night I sat propped up in bed while a fly zigzaged through the room buzzing frantically. He darted between my nose and the book. He banged into the lampshade. He banged once or twice into the bookshelf, and at one point banged with a zip and thud directly into my forehead. I watched and listened to him as he did figure eights through the room with side trips in and suddenly out of the bathroom. I tried my best to ignore him — or it. I tried opening the outside door for a while, hoping he would zig or zag into the back yard and lose his way. I convinced myself that if he just followed my lead he would find a nice female fly and live happily ever after. If he would just follow my lead. If he would just leave me alone. But he was relentless. I grabbed the fly swatter from the kitchen. His motions were so grand and predictable that I made midair contact several times. I knocked him to the carpet. Once he careened off the wall just missing the lamp. And yet, each time he picked himself up and buzzed just as loudly.

I landed a perfect, dead center hit and he disappeared. I hid the swatter behind the refrigerator, fluffed up the pillows, leaned back with my book, and listened to faint, almost imperceptible buzz of tires along HWY 1.

This morning, as I listened to the coffee gurgling and dripping into the pot and the more insistent sound of rain and wind in the trees outside, a fly landed softly on my arm. I moved and it flew away. It circled a moment and landed on the edge of my sleeve. It did not buzz. Nor did it crash dive into my ears or inspect my eyelashes. When I sat down for breakfast it landed on the table next to me, but showed no interest in the edge of my coffee cup or the temperature of my oatmeal. It did not follow the spoon toward my face. When I clicked through the news it sat on the outer edge of the computer screen. It walked on the bedspread when I stretched out to read and was there again after I showered. It's been here and there all day on the edge of my activities, on the periphery of my existence. I opened both doors and turned the fan on thinking I could lure it thoughtfully outside, but it simply hid out until the doors were closed and the fan was off and then rejoined me.

I'd like to think it's a repentant incarnation of the fly from last night, but it's hard to decide who was bothering whom and who was most worthy of repentance. After all, it was I who had the fly swatter, I who followed his every move bent on flicking where he was about to be. So, perhaps a quieter more gentle cousin is reminding me about long-suffering, about kindness and understanding. But the damned thing just wouldn't stop.

It's late now and I'm a bit concerned. I haven't seen my friend since I began typing this.