I try and wake neighbour. It's easier said than done. She moans and pulls the duvet over her head. I consider that fair enough. I leave the tea, tell her its there and tell her not to come downstairs as the boiler man is there. I go into my room pootle about and she starts to stir. Starts to panic. Starts to swear a bit. Really starts to panic when she wakes up enough to realise where she is. I go into the room as she's sitting up in bed realising she's got nothing on her bottom half except her knickers and is in my house instead of her own. I ask her what size clothes she wears, she tells me a size 10 and I go off to try and find something. Neighbour is the only person I've ever been able to share shoes with so I find her some flip flops but as I pull out a pair of tracksuit pants I think may fit her I realise this may be more difficult that I thought. I stare at the label. It says age 9. I thought they might fit her. I realise nothing I own is going to fit anyone that isn't me or a 10 year old girl. I remember I have a dressing gown from La Senza, give thanks neighbour is also a bit of a shorty and take her that. Its bright red, shiny satin. Poor boiler man. Poor neighbour.
We go downstairs and neighbour starts to properly panic. What happened? I don't know. I tell her I found her after waking up to the very faint noise. Thank god the window was open. She doesn't know what she was doing outside. Where are her keys? She doesn't know. The keys are lost. Where is her mobile phone. That she does know. It's with the friend she went out with last night. What is friend's phone number? She doesn't know. She just panics. Where is her dog? The dog is in her house. I knocked on the door to check earlier knowing it would bark, it did. She asks me over and over. Where's the dog? I knock again to appease her and the damn thing doesn't bark. She panics more and more. Where is the dog? Where is the dog? I don't know where the fucking dog has disappeared to in the past 30 minutes from a locked house. Stupid fucking dog won't bark when I again knock on the door to appease her panic. I know the damn thing is in there, taunting me with its doggy silence. Neighbour panics more. Where is her dog. Ah well I think. Better that she panic over the dog than why she was semi naked in the road at 6am.
She can't remember friends phone number, even after half an hour or so. Eventually she remembers her friends ex husband's number and phones him, telling him she's locked out. Within minutes, her friend is on the way, with spare keys to her house and her mobile. Her friend is shocked and horrified. They'd gone out for drinks, got drunk. Neighbour has hip problems, so her friend had walked her most of the way home, leaving her about 100 yards away from her front door. We live in a small, sleepy town not noted for its violent crime.
Friend arrives and we all go into neighbours house. We search, but despite that her shoes and jeans are missing. Another neighbour arrives, concerned. We discuss whether it would be a good idea to call the police. Neighbour says she has not been raped, all feels fine 'down below', but she does have bruises like someone grabbed her round the wrist. No-one can account for approximately six hours where neighbour was missing, before I found her half naked.
Neighbour is understandably stressed and freaked out. We start to joke about the situation instead, knowing that is what she wants. The other neighbour leaves, I follow shortly after, leaving neighbour to warm up in the bath.
Later I speak to her. Her jeans were under the bed. Shoes still not found. She takes various medications for problems with her joints. One of these has recently been changed. She went out and had a considerable amount to drink. Whilst taking these medications. We decide that must be the answer. Maybe she was sleepwalking. That seems the most comfortable answer. 'Thank god you found me' she keeps saying.