Afraid of the dark

At 3:30 AM last night, I heard a hideous hacking and retching outside. I got up and looked out my bathroom window into my side yard and watched a figure creeping around in the dark.

The sounds were big and deep - the size of a 350 pound man with harry arms and back. It was too dark to really see. Playing it safe, I dialed 911.  While the phone was ringing, I checked my back door that is harder to close since I painted it a month ago. While answering the 911 operator's questions, almost whispering mind you, I watched as the person lurched around the yard in different directions. They slipped into the darkest spot of my yard next to the lilac bushes.  Then they leaned on the 4 foot chain link fence into the neighbor's yard as if they were going to climb over. It took a few attempts. In the process of heaving themselves up, they busted up the willow fencing that I had wired to the chain link, smashing it down to twigs.  

As the person sat straddling the top of the chain link they were barely into the moonlight for me to see. They slumped forward on the fence with a leg on each side (which had to be seriously uncomfortable), swaying and clinging. I realized it was a woman.  Feeling safer somehow, I told 911, "Oh, it looks like it's just a drunk woman." As if that were okay.

Eventually she made it over, then over the next chain link fence to get out of the neighbor's yard and stumbled across front yards before I saw her disappear into a back yard at the end of the block. Once she was more out in the light, I could tell, even from behind, that she was young. Probably college age.

I said good night to 911 and went back to bed. I wondered what this girl's story was. I hoped for mundane things for her. I didn't get any sleep. I got up this morning glad not to be her. I keep picturing the last that I saw of her, probably tan from summer, in shorts and a tank top, trying to walk, constantly pulling her long hair to the side and off her neck like a habit.

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