A door opens, and there is yelling in the hallway. Something thumps against the wall of our room, and then I hear sobbing, and a mans voice saying, "Fuck. Rebecca, just calm down. Shut up!" "Fuck." And then the door slams.
There is someone, a girl, crying in the hall between our apartment and the next. Crying as if her whole world has ended. She sounds young. My husband, a wonderful man, observes,"Something is happening."
"Really?" I ask him, sarcastic. My stomach is twisting inside.
"Think I should do something?"
"Yeah. Turn on the light."
I get out of bed just in time to hear the neighbors' door open again, and someone else says,"Oh, what the hell?! Fuck!" I'm starting to get ideas, and none of them paint pretty situations for the girl in the hallway. I put on my bathrobe, and look around the corner. Sure enough, there is a woman/child lying on the cement floor. She's wearing a light-weight shirt, and her sandals are tossed carelessly near her head. It's only twenty degrees. I walk carefully, slowly, trying to figure out what kind of situation I'm placing myself in. The smell is overpowering. There is an abundance of cheap liquor in the air, mingling with the sour smell of vomit, and it is spreading, permeating the air and her sweater. She is still crying: Still awake, and I am glad that she is at least that much ok, but I have to ask: "Are you alright?" I whisper it, afraid that she'll tell me no, and she does.
"No." Her words are running together, and she can't focus to see me. "They made me get up." We talk some, and I figure out that the neighbors are having a party, but that she got sick, and they didn't want to deal with it, so they put her in the hallway. She ceased to provide entertainment.
"What can I do?"
She tells me that there isn't anything I can do for her, That she is alone, and doesn't have any friends, and there is nowhere for her to go. I don't believe her, she only looks sixteen. She doesn't want her parents to know.
"Come on, come into my apartment." It is like coaxing a child, or a small animal.
"Don't fucking make me get up!" She tells me, angry. I agree that this is a bad idea, but point out that I can't leave her in my hallway, half-dressed and drunk when it is 20 degrees. She says,"Whatever," and passes out. My husband looks around the corner and comments, "oh jeez."
The whole time, I'm thinking: Rebecca, you are too young to be half-frozen, drunk, and in a stranger's hallway. You say you don't have any friends... I will be your friend. Just come inside and sleep it off. Things will get better. But I only thing that I say out loud is," Andy, get me a cup of water." I go back into the apartment, and try to find a blanket for her, but the only one that I can find that will be warm is my quilt, the one that my aunt made me for Christmas. I take it out and I cover her. There is vomit in her hair, and the light is shining in her face. I have to shake her to wake her up. "Don't Move." I tell her, while Andrew calls the cops.
Andrew comes out into the hall, and tells me,"The cops aren't interested."
"What? She doesn't have a collar, who are we supposed to talk to? The Pound?"
She is still unconscious when the police show up. There are four of them, and they can't get her up off the ground. The ambulance comes, and a firetruck parks out front. It's 2 in the morning. They spend almost a half-hour trying to figure out her name, calling her Suzie, or Jane, or Sarah, but she won't talk to them. She doesn't want her parents to know.
And I won't tell them. I'm sitting just inside our apartment, leaning on the door. I'm thinking to myself, "her name is Rebecca!" and I'm willing them to hear me, but they don't. Then they are gone, and I am standing in the hallway, clutching a vomit covered blanket; whispering, "Her name is Rebecca."