Jamie has developed a number of independent theological and philosophical theories about his relationship to Kola. Though some of his conclusions might sound extravagant, he is completely in earnest, and I have never had any serious grounds to contest his claims. On various occasions he has put forward all of the following theses:
(1) That he himself was a dog in an earlier life, before becoming a human;
(2) That Kola was a human in an earlier life, before becoming a dog;
(3) That the two of them are twins (I take it he means spiritual twins, since their physical resemblances are not much to speak of, unless you count personal hygiene);
(4) That he is in fact secretly the dog, while Kola is secretly the human. The fact that each plays out the alternative role (Jamie speaking and using cutlery, Kola wagging a tail and chewing up the trampoline) is all just theatrics, an elaborate daily vaudeville for their own secret amusement.
Today there was a striking example of their curious spiritual affinity. Overcome by a sudden profound sadness, Jamie threw himself on the bed and exclaimed: “Kola doesn’t like me anymore.”
“Of course he likes you,” I said.
“No,” he insisted, “I saw from his mouth that he doesn’t like me.”
“Don’t be silly,” I said, “you know Kola loves you.”
But my poor troubled boy was resolute: “I saw from the writing on his tongue that he doesn’t like me anymore.”
I'm pretty sure – and I record it here for posterity – that Jamie is the first person in the history of the world to use this evocative metaphor of the writing on a dog's tongue. We speak of a person wearing his heart on his sleeve: in the same way, is not the heart of the dog rendered legibly on that eloquent pink papyrus, the slobbery scroll of the tongue?
The story did, however, have a happy ending. Twenty minutes later I asked Jamie about it again, and he shrugged the whole thing off: “Oh,” he said, “don't worry, Kola loves me. Sometimes he hates me for a second, then he loves me again.”