His name was Philbert – like the little nut – and he was inquisitive. But more than anything in the world, he loved his family. He could see them just ahead on the sidewalk, and even thought to run up and tag Penny, the smaller of the two children. Their mother stood beside them looking through the clear glass window at the rows of used books on display.
“Come on Mom,” Phil could tell that little Patrick was getting antsy. A game would be fun but could also get them in trouble, so he waited patiently.
Philbert was an odd one in many ways, not just his desire to play all the day through, but he had a sense of reading the emotions of those around him. He began at a young age, and now felt it was for a great purpose. He could tell when others were happy or sad, and those that were seen as angry and hurtful, he made a special point to remain safely away from them.
Though there were some that he could tell had a reason for being upset, like the old woman sitting on the bench near the curb. She seemed angry, and her mumbled curses made it even more so, but he could tell she was actually a good person. He drew closer to investigate. Reading her emotion was easy, it stood out in her thoughts as well.
I will be late again. Stupid buses, always running behind.
Philbert took a seat beside her, extending a loving touch. As a smile came to her face, he felt his job complete and head on, keeping his family in sight as they too started to walk down the sidewalk again.
He was the prince of his own little world, lending hope and a smile where ever he went-- when ever he could. Like the man who just pulled his little girl away before she could say hello. He didn’t mind, really. Phil read the father's heart and could tell he was only being protective, and the child was happy just spending the day with Daddy.
His ability to read others was handy most time, but could be hard at others. Like now, he could see his family getting further away, but could sense someone in great need. Scanning those around him, he found who it was– a small boy at the edge of the park.
The child had a very bad year. A few months ago his mother was in an accident and last week he found out his best friend was moving to another state – his world was slowly crumbling – and Philbert knew just what to do.
As fast as he could run, Phil bolted up and tagged Patrick, then swiftly returned to the other boy, pretending to run into him by accident-- and barked.
“Philbert,” Patrick ran after him with a laughing Penny close behind. “How did you get out of the car.”
The boy, a year younger than Pat but still older than Penny, grabbed for Phil and held him for the moment it took the two children to reach them– all part of the plan.
“Sorry about that,” Penny’s smiling face was a light to any who knew her, and warmed even Philbert’s heart. “We were suppose to leave him in the car.”
“That’s okay,’ the boy smiled back weakly. “He’s too small to have hurt much.’
“I’m Pat and this is my sister Penny, we're going to play in the park while our mom goes shopping.”
“You're lucky to have a mom,” the sad look came back to the boy’s face as the older woman joined them. “Mine passed away a while back.”
“You poor thing,” Phil could feel their mother’s desire to reach out to the boy.
“We lost our dad a few years ago too.” Penny frowned, and Philbert read the pain they both shared in that moment. “You can come play with us, we'll help cheer you up.”
Phil watched as the children ran off across the park, laughing. A good day’s work, he thought, as he trotted along beside their mother. She reached down and scooped him up in her arms with a smile.
“You little Prince, how do you do it?”
Philbert sighed from the joy of a job well done.
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