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I'd moved back here, and had just bought this house. I went to the Hessler street fair, and ran into the Drunken Angel. He's nothing but bones now, still a barkeep, but at a swanky hotel in downtown Cleveland. His hair is short now, and he's shaved off his beard. Still alcoholic, still burns, he is now diabetic. Heavy smoker. But he's a good person, and we hit it off again. We started dating.
Since then, the relationship has somewhat fizzled, but I still visit him, and still see him when he needs me to. There's no sex, that's okay. But we are very close friends, and I'd do about anything for him.
His dad died last Thanksgiving. His mom died last Saturday, not even a year later. He called me first. I went into Cleveland Heights, to pick him up to take him to his mom's apartment. He answered the door, I gave him a hug, and he had a meltdown, right there. I backed him into his entry, trying not to interrupt the crying jag, but wanted him out of the public view.
We left, and I took him to his mom's apartment, where we met his sister and a cousin. They started some preliminary splitting up of Mom's worldly possessions, Angel went out on the balcony, and did some deep breathing. I got him settled, and got some food out of the fridge, figuring he hadn't eaten yet.
The funeral director came, I held Angel's hand through the whole thing. When he left, Angel went back on the balcony, and put his head on the railing. I told the sister I had to get him out of there, told her where I lived, and that's where we were going.
Angel slept a bit on my couch, then went on the deck, hung out with my cats, then walked around the yard. I have a wooded half acre near the Chagrin river, with a swamp behind me. We spent a few hours here, I did some wash, he read a magazine, played with the cats, smoked his cigarettes. He was in better shape when I took him back to his mom's apartment, and we met up with the sister who had been there, then his other sister showed up, and both had their kids with them. A friend of the mom's made dinner for us. Angel ate well, thank God, and could finally face the dividing of the spoils, so to speak.
I drove him home and helped him unload stuff from my car. He seemed much better off, I told him to call me. When I left, he was playing Tangled Up in Blue on his guitar.
Angel is that bad combination of incredibly intelligent, and incredibly sensitive. I'll be there for the memorial service, no matter what. I'm glad to stand by him, and I'll miss his mom.
Ah, Drunken Angel.