It was late. Alfie was tired. Paul was endless with questions. Maybe that's why Alfie didn't spend the night. He definitely needed some alone time. Of course, he'd had a lot of that too. Yet, it was good to have a real home to go home too. No more alone time in shelters or in the hallway of old apartment buildings, to find some place warm.
He took the bus home, but still had to walk a good three blocks in the dark. It was easy going here. Not a worry to be had. It was safe and Alfie's smile was broad. Yeap, he hadn't had to join the circus yet. It was the last resort. He kept telling himself, even if it were more or less a joke. He knew he could have made it there, among the lions and tigers. Actually, he'd managed through his own lions and tigers in the real world. Now, they were a figment of his imagination.
He dug his hands in his coat pockets as he made his way on the street. Life was good. Really good. But there was someone sitting on the steps of the house. Evidently waiting for him. To his surprise, it was actually someone..he even knew.
"Happy to see me?" As usual, she never shared her secrets. Always a mystery and a puzzle. She jumped up and put her arms around me.
"Not really." He looked down at her who was tugging at him as if he needed to be happy, as she was. There were lots of reasons why. "Where's your boyfriend?" Alfie imagined him lurking somewhere.
"Baby, don't be ridiculous." She was full of laughter. "Its you, I've wanted."
"Oh, yeah?" He didn't believe that. He unwrapped her arms around him. He knew what she wanted. Pills. Lots of them to make her happy. It was part of her daily dose of reality. "I told you, I'm not a drug dealer. I never was. I only did that for a friend, just one time." That was all it took.
"But..but I'm not taking, anything." She swore. He'd heard this story before. He remembered the ending, too. Her boyfriend beat him up. Said he was enabling her, but Alfie got the jest the boyfriend was only jealous. The big lug was warped.
"Please, Hattie, you have to go." It needed to be said. Even if she'd given him some happy times. He wanted to believe it was not love. It never would be. She hadn't a clue, either. It was best this way. "Now forget you saw me. All right?"
But she clung back to him, like a lost animal, who was loyal and blue, and much needed his attention.