Girls Without Shoes

January 31, 2009

Angel In My Alley

Filed under: Uncategorized — girlswithoutshoes @ 6:55 pm
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His  is the voice that I  hear trying to calm down my dog at 2:00 a.m.,  just  outside of my back fence.

He is the neighborhood drunkard.  He is also a self designated “Night Watchman” trying to keep our home and neighborhood safe , even in the midst of his intoxicated bliss.   What a contradiction he is.

He  is the “Bum in the Alley”.   Not really our friend, at least not the kind you invite into your home.   He is the kind that you may give a hot sandwich to on Christmas  Eve or let him use your phone from your back porch to call his son,  but that is about it.   The kind that tries to quiet your dog down when he barks at other “customers of the local saloon”, who are leaving at 2:00 a.m. and being extremely loud and belligerent, not for any selfish reason of his own , but so you are not wakened by the 2:00 a.m. clientele on their way home.

He has a soft spot in his heart for you and your family, not because you are so special, but because you don’t make him feel ashamed.  Because you understand that he has an addiction.  He knows you don’t like it, that you don’t want it in your life, but he also knows that you have some compassion for him and his struggles.  He knows that you know that deep down, he is a real person, a good person with a bad addiction.

So, he tries to do “something nice” for you.  Something to show you that he appreciates that you don’t make him feel worse about himself.  Something like watching over your home, so that no one would break in or damage any property of yours.  Something, anything to make him feel a sense of accomplishment and to make you feel a sense of his appreciation of sorts.

Yes, his is the voice that you hear when you go out to quiet down your dog.  You hear him saying ” shhhhhhhh, it is okay , don’t wake everyone up”.   He tries, but the dog is so excited she keeps barking, she loves people and she loves him too.

You say, “Is that you Steve? What are ya doing?”  To which he replies, “Oh the dog is barking like a Banshee at someone leaving the bar and I was just trying to quiet her down”.

I say, “Oh thanks, but she won’t be quiet until you leave”.

“Oh, okay I’ll walk  away then, though I can barely walk, my knee cap is blown out”.

I then asked him what happened to his knee?

“Oh you know,  sometimes you gotta teach those 22 year olds a lesson or two”.

I can barely see his outline in the street light as he walks away from my house, his rich laugh trailing behind him.

I smile and shake my head watching him and say to myself,   “Angel Man in the Night” and wander off to my warm bed. night



  1. If this is true, which it sounds like it is, then it is wonderful. Yes, he has an addiction, and yes, he suffers a great deal, I’m sure. It is wonderful that you’re able to be kind to him and that he, in turn, is able to be kind to you. He sounds rational and very sane for a man who could so easily be dragged down into intoxicated madness. It’s wonderful to find shreds of humanity where there could easily be none.

    Comment by slightlyignorant — January 31, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  2. Contemplating this post, and slightlyignorant’s [name makes me giggle] comment: I do think we need to address and appeal to the “shreds of humanity” that surely are in most, no matter the affliction, no matter it may be self inflicted. “There but for the grace of God go I.”
    As well, remembering to treat all with dignity has it’s rewards. We are with dignity in doing so.
    Certainly, I have been treated to both by some when I may not have earned it. Still, it was given, and can be transforming.

    Comment by oracleofthepearl — February 1, 2009 @ 4:18 am

  3. “Angelman in the night”–it’s true that while folks like your Angelman can be more trouble than not, we never know when they might be the one, and the only one, who pull us from danger.
    This is a lovely story and thought provoking. I love the picture also, very fitting.

    Comment by oracleofthepearl — February 1, 2009 @ 4:22 am

  4. While most of this story is true, I myself also find it thought provoking that in talking with the “Angelman” about his damaged knee, (he now wears a brace on it), found he had no memory of that night or speaking with me. Some of my “bubble was burst”, though not all of it when he asked me if he was bothering me, as he sometimes sits down by my back fence as he is too drunk to walk. Six months ago I would have felt a little more hard hearted about it, sometimes time and/or God softens things in a person. BTW, he did remember that he had walked 3 miles on his blown out knee. His MD 20/20 must have dulled that pain for sure.

    Comment by girlswithoutshoes — February 1, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  5. I feel sorry for him. What lead him to be like that? Could be interesting to know his past, everybody has a past, sometimes even a very exciting one and something just doesn’t work anymore and puts you down.
    I’d love to say I’d be as patient as you with him but I’m not sure it would work if I had to deal with it on a daily basis.
    You’re a good person.

    Comment by froggywoogie — February 1, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  6. Its hard to fathom why our angels come in such strange forms. Its the kindness and purity of your heart that brings them to you. I’m sure should you look around you, there are angels everywhere for you, proof of the soul within.

    Then I have heard you referenced as an angel . . . an angel for an angel?

    Miss D

    Comment by Miss Demure Restraint — February 1, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  7. Awww, that is pretty sweet. Thanks, I just thought I had a “weirdo magnet” all of these years, LOL. JK

    Comment by girlswithoutshoes — February 1, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  8. See, “The Bum in the Alley” story, true story, true guy. Thanks for saying I am a good person, but I am an equally rotten person. I went through times in years past where I have cussed all of the drunks out in back of my home, but then my son said, “Mom you are going to end up being a 60 year old woman fighting with drunks in the alley”. Actually, I think he has given up trying to beat his addiction. Maybe it is just too hard for him? I don’t know. I just know there are two sides to people.

    Comment by girlswithoutshoes — February 1, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  9. *sigh*

    Comment by Amber — February 3, 2009 @ 1:25 am

  10. This is one of my favourite when it comes to your works. I have a fascination with ‘people’ like the man in this story (lol) and the manner in which you have painted him and his life here took my breath away.

    Comment by cravingoxygen — February 17, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  11. He sounds a brave guy and deserves compassion but not if his behaviour becomes intolerable for others.

    Comment by indignant2 — March 28, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

  12. I don’t think he is necessarily brave, just drunk and somewhere in there, in all of the mess that he is, maybe a little bit noble at times, at least as much as he is capable of. He is a hard core alcoholic and also the same guy as in my story “The Bum in the Alley” on “The Battle Stories” Blog. I guess I just don’t choose to see a person as all good or all bad, though it would probably be easier for me. Thanks for your comments and in checking out my stories.

    Comment by girlswithoutshoes — March 29, 2009 @ 5:39 am

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