She was standing at a bus stop, which was odd for this time of night. The busses don't run that late, and she was alone, so she wasn't just passing the time there.
She was very pretty, with light skin and dark hair, and bright blue eyes. She wore a long black coat over a white shirt and a short black skirt. Her shoes were strappy heels that added about three inches to her height. Even without the heels, though, she would have been about 5'10".
She caught my eye, and looked me over for a moment. I smiled, and she smiled back, but there was something more than just a friendly smile in the corners of her mouth.
I didn't slow down, just kept walking. It was already late, and I wasn't interested in stopping right then.
I passed by her, and had gone about four paces when I heard, "Hi."
I paused, and turned around. "Hi," I said back to her.
"Um, do you know if the busses are running?" she asked.
I smiled. "No, they stop running at midnight, I'm afraid. Where are you going tonight?"
Her face fell a bit. "Oh," she said, and bit down on her lip. "I just got off work. I was going home."
"Really? Where do you work, and where do you live?"
She pointed up the street. "I bartend up at one of the bars. Do you drink much? You should come to my bar."
By this time I could tell she'd been drinking quite a bit. "Can I walk you home?" I asked, still having no idea where "home" might be.
"Sure. I live a few blocks that way." She took a step toward me and I noticed how unsteady she was on her feet. I stepped toward her and put a hand around her waist.
"All right, let's get you home," I said, starting down High Street. "Just tell me when to turn."
She went along with me easily, putting her arm around my waist as well, and leaning into me. "I usually don't drink after work, but I had a rough night. I think I had too much."
"Oh, I don't know," I replied. "You seem fine to me." At that point, she missed a step and leaned into me more. My other arm went to her hip on instinct to keep her from falling forward, and she regained her balance.
"Thanks," she said.
We walked south on High Street to the UDF, then made a left. She had seen an ex-boyfriend in the bar with another girl, and had started doing shots with a customer not long after that. I listened and talked to her, but mostly just smiled and nodded while she described her night and the last few months of her life.
She directed me to her house, and I took her up to her gate. "Here you are," I said as I took my arm from around her waist and unwrapped her arm from mine.
"Do you want to come in for a while?" she asked.
"No, I ought to get home. It's late, and I have an early morning tomorrow."
She was a bit crestfallen, but tried another tack. "Can I get your number or something?"
"No, I just wanted to make sure you got home safely, that's all. Have a good night." I turned on my heel and walked away, glancing back once to give her a wink, and then disappearing around the corner.
I was thinking about this girl last night for some reason, remembering her and wondering what ever happened to her. Sometimes, I wonder if the incident described above did happen. . . While I'm sure it did, I've been sure of other things, too, and been proven wrong. But then, hell, "the truth and the tellin' are both real to me. . ."