I felt like crap today, but it was beautiful outside and I wanted to get out, so I walked over to Shoppers for a few things and then took Lucy around the park. I walked slowly and looked around at the burning blue sky - the leaves left on the trees, mostly copper and yellow but some still red - were eye-wateringly brilliant in the sun. Lucy was having a wonderful time crashing into leaves and following smells.
As we got halfway around the park, I became aware of what I thought was a conversation between two teen-aged girls that was loud and sounded a little angry. I kept walking, and the conversation started to follow me, and when I looked back it was actually only one girl. I thought she might be talking on her phone, but I couldn't be sure, and I kept thinking I heard the word DOG repeated and it was all a little weird. It was bright mid-day, but I was slightly nervous walking along the trees and sped up a little bit to get back onto the street by the houses.
As I was almost there, Lucy stopped to sniff something, and I felt like I was being stupid, so I didn't tug her along. Just as we turned the corner onto the street, the girl passed us. She was definitely talking to herself because there was music playing on her phone. She stopped and turned to face us and said, in a perfectly normal tone, "can I please see your dog?" So of course I said sure, and she bent down and petted Lucy and asked what breed she was, then started walking again, a little unsteadily.
I stopped a couple driveways up for Lucy to meet two other dogs that were with a man in front of a house. As I got up to leave, suddenly the girl was back. I asked if she was okay, and she said she was kind of lost. I asked where she was trying to go, and she said to her boyfriend, well not her boyfriend but he meant a lot to her - and it soon became apparent that she was either on something or mentally ill, and then she got it in her head that her boyfriend was in the man's garage, or with a man with a stroller.
I asked if I could call someone for her, but then realized I didn't have my phone. I asked her to come home with me so I could drive her home, but she didn't want to. She kept insisting that she wasn't on drugs, and I said that was fine, she just seemed confused and I wanted to help. I didn't know what to do, short of dragging her up the street to my house, which seemed inadvisable.
I brought Lucy home, grabbed my phone and went back to look for her but she was gone. The curious thing is that Lucy, who always wants to see people but then is often skittish when they try to pet her, went right to her, as if she knew she wasn't dangerous, just lost and hurt.
Now it's dark out, and I'm in my warm house, grateful that the worst health problem my own daughter has right now is a sore throat. And I wish I'd done more.