First published at The Flash Fiction Press (May 2016).
Wolfman—so called by his peers because of the fur coat he wore, even in the summer—watched Lady amble toward him, shoulders hunched, pushing her possessions in a rusted grocery cart, one wheel drunkenly spinning. No one knew her real name. He wasn’t certain she did after years on the street. But she’d always wanted to be called a lady, so that was the name the street people knew her by.
Most folks wouldn’t find her beautiful, with oily, salt and pepper hair stuck to her cheeks, and a face permanently etched with a scowl. Wolfman saw beyond all that. She was the one who came to his aid after another binge with a bottle of Jack could have put him in the hospital. The one who sat with him in his box, helped him sober up, and convinced him alcohol was the enemy. The one who hosted their personal AA meetings.
He stood as she approached, reached out to her, kissed her on the cheek. She hrumphed him away with a sweep of her hand. Her face remained the same, but he noticed a sparkle in her eyes. She was almost alive again. And so was he.