in case of emergency, pt. 1

You may have heard this story before, but it's new.

The first time I met Clara, she was falling-down drunk and her friends were mostly just laughing at her. It was at a party where I didn't really know the host but the girl I was seeing at the time told me to come. It was a pretty cliquish party. None of my conversation seemed to get anywhere. I was really just waiting for an excuse to go, but I hadn't even seen the girl--I honestly forget her name now. I felt like I had to at least say hello.

And then Clara shouted "fuck you," punched someone in the eye, and staggered out the door. From her friends the reaction was mostly amused. Someone asked "Shouldn't we go after her?" The consensus was that she wouldn't get far, and she probably just needed space. "Probably just going for a cigarette," someone said.

I decided that "a cigarette" was a good excuse to duck outside, but it's not like anyone was following me.

She was seated on the sidewalk not too far from the house, clutching her knees to her chest and crying quietly. It looked like she'd fallen and skinned her knees, and there was some blood coming from her left hand as well.

I sat down next to her. "You all right?"

"I just wanna go home."

"Is it far?"

She shook her head. "I keep falling down."

I glanced back at the house. "Can I walk you there?"

She shrugged, then nodded. I helped her to her feet and she leaned on me heavily as we walked back to her apartment.

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