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The Girl Who Walked the Alleyway
I don’t remember exactly what it was that made me stop and think. I guess God was trying to get my attention or something. I had just figured that the girl had been another rebellious teenager or problem child, maybe even one of those Goth kids. What I hadn’t realized was that even though I thought my life wasn’t so great, there were others out there hurting worse than me. And that girl who walked the alley behind my house opened my eyes to that.
It was a typical Monday after work. And of course, Mondays were never that great anyway, but this one just happened to eat at me a bit more. Man, would I have loved to give my department manager a taste of what she was dishing on all of us. Maybe the next time I talked to her, I could spit a nasty remark at her; maybe a good slug in the face...many different thoughts ran through my head, all of them not very nice.
I pulled into my driveway and turned off the car, just sitting there for a moment, reflecting on the day. It sucked. My life sucked.
I stepped out of my car and walked to the front door, unlocking it and rushing in the house. I immediately took my shoes off, for they were rubbing on my feet, and walked up the stairs to my bedroom. I looked around. It was so empty since my husband had left on his business trip. I couldn’t wait until he was back at the end of the week.
I suddenly heard faint singing, and it sounded as if it was coming from behind my house. My room was in the back of my house, and my window faced the alley that ran behind our street. My street was a nice neighborhood, with lots of friendly people and little children running around. But the street on the other side of the alley was a different story. During the night, you could hear screams and people crying. There was even a shooting once. Two people were killed.
Curious of the noise, I peeked through my curtains. Walking down the alley was a girl. She looked like she was about fifteen or sixteen, and she was disturbingly skinny. She was dressed in nothing but black, and under the streetlight I could see her hair was dyed black and it had crimson red streaks. Probably one of those druggies, I thought. But she wasn’t suspicious looking. She was just walking down the alley, every so often doing a little turn, and singing a song I didn’t know. Her voice was pretty from what I could hear.
Blowing her off as some high, rebellious teen, I closed my curtains and got myself ready to go to bed. But as I lie there trying to sleep, I couldn’t help but think about the girl. Something didn’t seem right about her. But then again, weren’t all teens a little messed up? I didn’t know.
She just seemed different.
The rest of the week wasn’t much better. Work was stressful, but I kept thinking about that girl. And I couldn’t put her out of my mind, considering that every night she was out there, walking the alley and singing.
Friday, when I got home, the first thing I did was go up to my bedroom and look out my window. Strangely, the girl wasn’t there. And just when I thought she wouldn’t be out there tonight, I heard a high-pitched scream.
The girl came running into the alley, one of the sleeves on her shirt ripped off. A man came running after her, staggering, and I could tell he was intoxicated. He slugged the girl across the face and she went down, sobbing and pleading for him to stop. But he only beat her more, ignoring her cries.
I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I call the police? Should I go out there and try to stop it? Was it best for me to just not interfere? Not being able to think about the situation, I ended up just sitting by while a teen got beaten by a drunken man. And that night, the girl didn’t go home. How did I know?
Because I stayed up all night watching her cry her eyes out in the alley.
The next morning, I sat beside my window, thinking deeply about the night before. The girl had finally gotten up and left at about three o’ clock in the morning, and I hadn’t been able to sleep. Not after witnessing something like that.
Alex. That was the girl’s name. I had caught it when the man had been yelling at her. And I’ll tell you what; I had judged that girl wrong. She wasn’t a druggie or a problem child. She had a hard life, and she just wanted someone to love her.
“No! I can’t!” I heard a voice yell. I looked and saw Alex. She was leaning against the street light, crying, and a pistol in her hand. She slowly lifted it to her temple, her hand shaking, but threw it down. “I can’t do it! I just can’t!” she yelled again.
I shook my head and slipped on a pair of shoes, running to my back door. Sure, I didn’t know the girl, but I couldn’t let her do this. It wasn’t the answer. Suicide was never the answer. I, too, had once tried to go down that path. And there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t regret even trying.
I ran into the alley. Alex looked up at me, confused at why I was concerned about her. She began to run, but I grabbed her wrist.
“L-let go!” she shouted, trying to pull away. “I don’t know even know you, chick! Leave me alone!”
“Quit struggling,” I told her, not raising my voice. Alex simply looked at me, but then stopped trying to get away and calmed down. “Alex, I know you don’t know me, but...”
“How do you know my name?” she asked. “Are you like a stalker or something?”
I sighed. “No, I’m not a stalker. I’ve seen you walk down the alley at night and I’ve heard you sing. Last night I saw what happened and I heard him call you Alex.” She looked away at the mention of last night. “Tell me what’s wrong. It’s good to talk to someone when you’re upset.”
She hesitated, and then spoke. “He...he hits me. He gets drunk, real bad, and he hits me. I don’t know what I did wrong.” I saw tears slowly roll down her cheeks. “I don’t want to put up with it anymore! I just want it all to end!”
My heart panged with grief for her. “Who is that man? Your father?”
Alex shook her head. “No, my boyfriend. My dad died when I was really little. My mother became a drunk who didn’t care whether I was dead or alive, and she threw me out of the house. I got a job as a buss girl at a diner and I kept going to school, and I lived at the shelter. One night, while I was out, I met James. We started going out and eventually I moved in with him. But now...” Her voice trailed off. “Now I just want out. I started coming out here and singing, and I felt happy. It’s something I’ve always loved to do.”
I felt myself start to cry. I wanted to just give her a huge hug and tell her everything would be okay. But why would she listen to me? “Alex, I...I’m very, very sorry...a child shouldn’t have to experience such a thing. But suicide isn’t the answer! I’ve been down that road, and trust me; it isn’t the way to go.”
Alex looked thoughtful for a moment. She must’ve really thought about what I said. “Yeah, you’re right...thanks, uh...”
“You can call me Katelyn.”
“Um, right. Thanks, Katelyn.” She smiled at me, and then looked at her hand holding the gun. She held it out to me. “Take it. I won’t need it.”
I simply reached out and took the gun from her. “You’re making a smart choice.” Suddenly, she threw her arms around me. I was shocked, but I simply hugged her back.
“Thank you. You’re the first person to be nice to me in a long time.” Alex then let go and walked out of the alley, looking happier then I had ever seen her in the alley.
That’s all someone ever needed. Love. And sometimes, people you don’t even know are the ones who can give it to you the best.
After my husband had come home, I told him everything that had happened in the past week. He was shocked, but told me he was proud of me for stopping her. But no one had any reason to be proud of me. They should be proud of Alex, for living through the rest of her life instead of ending it then. But her life hadn’t continued much longer after that incident.
About three weeks later, while looking thorough the obituaries in the paper, I saw that girl’s picture. Alexandra McAlister, age sixteen, beaten to death by James Kinney, who was now facing jail time.
Sadly, aside from a few school friends, I was the only one at Alex’s funeral. Her mother had shown up, cursed her daughter’s grave and told her one last time what a worthless being she had been. I had to hold back hitting that woman, which was a hard thing to do.
That girl could have done great things. She had a good heart, and through that one meeting with her, I could tell that she had always tried to look for the bright side of things, which was the best thing someone could do. But hopefully, the last few weeks of her life had been a bit better. She never went to the alley again. I didn’t hear crying in the night. I only heard singing- happy singing. And every time I thought of her, I realized my problems weren’t so bad.
That is something everyone could work on. We all think our problems are so bad, but there’s someone out there who’s hurting much worse than we are. And for the first time, my eyes were opened up to that.
All thanks to the girl who walked the alleyway.