"Dad, what's wrong?"
"Nothing to concern yourself with, Mr. Wilson."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not really, but..."
I grabbed a cold drink and sat on my step near the back door. Mr. Wilson sat close, I patted his head and felt the silky texture of his ears, then rubbed his eyes for him, cleaning the encrustations that had formed and flicking them onto the ground. The course hair between his shoulders was perfect for getting the residue off on my fingertips, and he enjoyed the massage, so we both were winners.
My feet rested on the pavement, and my knees held the weight of my elbows as my body sagged, and the frustrations of the day came pouring out. Mr. Wilson listened, nodded at all the right times, licked my hand when I needed it and let me vent for as long as I needed to.
"You're a good listener, Mr. Wilson," I said to my friend when the games were through.
He ran into the house, found his spot and settled in, his work done for the day.