The Adventures of Max and Leo: Taking him home to rest

On a nice evening in 1992, Leo met Max at the skate park while Max was skateboarding in the skate park with some of the Dog Boys. When Max caught eye of Leo, he stopped skateboarding and went to the fence where Leo was standing at.

"Hey, Leo," Max said.

"Hey, Max," Leo said. "Are you ready to go inside?"

"Why would I want to go inside?" Max asked.

"Well, it is getting dark," Leo said.

"Why should I care because it's getting dark?" Max asked.

"Well, are you tired?" Leo asked.

Max thought about it for a moment and said, "You know . . . I have skateboarded for a couple of hours, so I probably do need to rest."

"You were out here that long?" Leo asked. "Well, if that's the case, you definitely need to go inside."

Max came out through the skate park exit and went to where Leo was.

"Leo, am I worrying you?" Max asked.

"Honestly, Max, you do sometimes," Leo said. "How many times am I going to have to come and get you because you were out late skateboarding?"

"What's wrong with me being out here late?" Max asked.

"It's a school night, Max don't you want to be nice and rested for school tomorrow?" Leo asked.

"I'm sure I'll be okay, Leo," Max said. "Quit worrying about me."

"Max, I worry about you because I care about you," Leo said. "And as your best friend, I want what's best for you."

"I know you do, Leo," Max said. "I just like being out late."

"I know you do, Max," Leo said. "But, you do need some rest for your body so you can be refreshed and rested enough to do what you need and want to do tomorrow. I want you to take care of yourself because I want you to be alert and focused on what you need to get done. Do you understand, Max?"

"I do, Leo . . . and I'm glad you care about me," Max said. "Thanks, Leo."

"Of course, Max," Leo said. "Let's get you home."

Max and Leo walked together to Max's house.

"Thanks for bringing him home, Leo," Judy said.

"Of course, Ms. Reynolds," Leo said. "He was out late skateboarding again."

"Yeah, he always talks about doing it," Judy said. "It looks like he has put feet to those words again."

"He sure has," Leo said. "Hopefully, he understands that I do this because I care about him."

"I hope he does, too," Judy said. "I'm glad you care about my son."

"I know you do, too," Leo said. "Is it okay if I stay with him for a little bit?"

"Sure," Judy said. "Just get him to bed. I'll deal with him in the morning."

"Okay, thanks, Ms. Reynolds," Leo said.

Leo and Max went upstairs to Max's bedroom. Max sat down on his bed and started unstrapping and taking off his helmet and elbow pads and casting them on the floor while Leo knelt down at Max's feet and began untying Max's shoes.

"Leo, are you mad at me because I keep being out there late?" Max asked.

"No, I'm not," Leo said. "I just worry about you when you're out for so long."

"Well, I'm okay, Leo, so there's no need to worry," Max said. "Were you worried that something happened to me?"

"I was," Leo said. "At this point, I'm just glad that nothing happened to you."

"I'm sorry I made you worry about me," Max said, finishing unstrapping and taking off his helmet and elbow pads and casted them on the floor.

"It's okay, Max," Leo said, finishing untying Max's shoes and then started taking Max's shoes and socks off and laying them on the floor. "I'm curious as into why you have been doing that quite a bit lately."

"Well, I've done it as of late to clear my mind," Max said.

"What has been on your mind lately?" Leo asked.

"My dad . . ." Max said and then gave a sad countenance.

"Is he still promising to take you places and not fulfilling them?" Leo asked.

"He still won't even return my calls," Max said. "It's like he doesn't have any time for me."

"If you feel that way, why didn't you tell me?" Leo asked. "I've told you time and time again that if you needed to talk to me about it, then you could."

"I'm tired of burdening you with it," Max said.

"Max, you are not burdening me with it," Leo said while finishing taking off Max's shoes and socks, laying them on the floor and beginning to unstrap Max's knee pads, taking them off and laying them on the floor. "I know you love him and want a relationship with him so I know it hurts when he doesn't want to reach back no matter how many times you reach out, so I understand if you need to talk to me about it every now and again."

"I just wish this would stop," Max said, feeling like crying. "It's like my dad hates me."

"I know you wish he would come and spend time with you, but you can't control him, Max," Leo said, finishing unstrapping Max's knee pads, taking them off and laying them on the floor. "He's just going to do what he wants to do."

"But, what am I going to do if he does this again?" Max asked, starting to cry.

Leo got up, sat down on the bed and placed his arm around Max.

"If that ever happens again, you let me know," Leo said. "I'll give you as much comfort and encouragement as you need, okay, Max?"

Max didn't respond, but instead hugged Leo and cried on his shoulder.

"Let it all out, Max," Leo said. "I'm here."

Max held on to Leo for several minutes, crying on his shoulder and then broke the hug and wiped his eyes.

"Thanks for caring, Leo," Max said.

"Of course," Leo said. "You ready to go to bed now?"

"I think so," Max said.

Leo and Max got up and Leo pulled back the blankets. Max lied down on the bed with his head on the pillow and Leo placed the blankets over Max.

"Good night, Max," Leo said.

"Good night, Leo," Max said.

Leo sat down and watched as Max drifted to sleep. Once it seemed like Max was asleep, Leo got up and left Max alone in the bedroom.