Right after I finished composing that bunch of words about the Baptist Church, I was walking down Bryan St. and was just about ready to call it a night.
There's a hill there at the corner of Bryan and Egan that goes up to Scripture, and it's kinda steep. I usually perform the back and forth Z pattern when I go up it, like bulldozers do when they're going up and down the cliff sides of those strip mines. It takes longer, but it helps to not wear me out.
I had just crossed Egan and was doing my zigzag up Bryan toward Scripture when I heard this SHRIEK. Just this WAIL of despair from behind me, like an animal sound, but from a human throat. I stopped and turned around and saw somebody right down there, at the bottom of the hill on the corner of Egan and Bryan. Some young teenage girl who was apparently having a bad night. I could see her pretty clearly, from a distance of about 60 yards. Black skirt, black halter top, long black hair, black hose, black heels, and screaming.
I ignored the screaming event at first and just kept walking, which is always my go-to maneuver in situations like this. However, as I continued up Bryan and up that hill in my zigzag manner, the screaming of this girl just went on and on and on. What it seemed to me was...
Ok. This is 3:30 A.M. and there's nothing going on here, in the middle of the small hours. Nothing. It's just me and this screaming girl. We're the only two humans in the area who are Awake and Present, so it kind of makes for a public intimate situation, whether or not you ever wanted to be involved in one. It was just the two of us, and it absolutely felt to me like she was screaming to me, trying to get my attention... I mean, it was just us. It felt exactly like being in a room alone with this person, and watching her scream scream scream her head off. What would you have done? What? What?
I spent about 120 seconds at the top of the hill, looking back down at her at the corner of Bryan and Egan, debating with myself as to whether or not I should get involved with her screaming episode. As I stood there, feeling like an uncaring, selfish, shallow and emotionless ass for continuing to not do anything, these were my thoughts -
"I'm too tired for teenage drama."
"She's probably just pissed off at her step dad."
"Or her boyfriend/lab partner."
"Ash, you have zero business worrying about this anonymous, screaming stranger."
"Ash, you're more likely to make it worse, whatever her problem is."
"Ash, if you go down there to see what's wrong, she's gonna think you're a serial killer."
"Ash, don't even think about going down there to see what's wrong with this screaming girl. Just forget about it. It's teenage drama, and you're a 45 year old man. Don't be a fucking idiot."
"Ash, what if she's about to kill herself over some stupid bullshit?"
That's the thought that did it for me, so after just about two whole minutes of standing still at the top of the hill at Bryan and Scripture, fully illuminated by streetlights and looking down at the corner of Bryan and Egan to where this girl was having and incredibly vocal nervous breakdown, with both of us completely visible to each other the whole time, each of us waiting to see what the other one was going to do, I finally decided after the suicide thought to go down to her and find out just what the heck was wrong, and get all involved with the drama.
As soon as I started back down the hill - and I mean, IMMEDIATELY as I turned around and began to head back down the hill - that girl shut up and high-tailed it east on Egan. I hurried to catch up, and she made a chase of it for a while, hiding and popping up between cars... but by the time I'd gotten to Fulton, I couldn't see her anywhere. I shouted a couple of times, but she wasn't up for it anymore, I guess. Or maybe she wanted me to keep searching... I dunno. She was gone, and I was at a dead end and really really tired, and that's that.
So I just turned around and typed up all the happenings of it on the way home, and here you have it.