The streets were friendlier than I’d remembered. Trees that I’d recalled as stunted things planted out of some rebeautificational duty had shed their lot and thrived, whispering in their concrete club and growing on their own terms. If the walking people were still brutish they were softened by their backdrop, and I found myself enjoying this stroll among both kinds of life on the downtown streets.
Arriving at the dentist’s office I was accosted by a young woman’s situation. She sat against the building, directly under a candy-shop window so that her head poked up and obscured some of the displays, but she was bleeding from the arm and her darting looks had tears in them through the drunkeness.
“Do you have the number for the taxi?” she asked me, putting on a little-girl-lost look that despite only being play was very near the truth. “They don’t have the taxi inside.”
“That’s ridiculous,” I said. “But I don’t have one either. Are you alright?”
“Yes?” The word was swallowed in a sob that bubbled to the surface. “Yes?” As if needing to be told so. “I just fell. It’s been a shitty night and I ended it by falling, there’s a rock in my arm now and my friends won’t…” and the rest got too high and incoherent for me to follow, but seemed to suggest that early-evening friends had tired of her by early morning, and she’d been stranded outside all night.
I remembered this from when I was twenty and it had happened to me and it had happened to everyone I’d known. “I’ll go inside and ask about a taxi for you–”
“They don’t know!”
–”I’ll be right back.”
“They don’t want me in,” she said, rising to follow, “they said I’m drunk and I know I am a bit but I just fell!” She drew herself up to her full, unimpressive height, tottered, took a deft swig from a bottle she’d produced from the recesses of her bag and made disappear again so quickly that I wasn’t sure I hadn’t manufactured the scene in my head.