Monday, 30 August 2010

remember to lock your doors

The doorbell wakes you up. It's 1am. And you know, you sense that something is wrong.

It's just kids, you try to convince yourself. They are running around ringing doorbells trying to give everyone a good scare. At 1am...

And then you hear someone try the door. Your heart starts to race. You think, I locked it, didn't I? You turn to the dude who is already climbing out of bed. "What's going on?" You ask. Like he knows. Like it's not pitch dark in your house. Like he can see who's outside from the bedroom.

"I don't know," he says.

Your heart is racing. Someone is trying to get into your house. You hear the sound of someone trying to turn the lock. You feel trapped. Scared. Frozen. It's making sense, what is happening, yet it makes no sense at all.

A burglar who rings the bell?

The baby starts to stir. Will a crying baby scare him off? You realize that you can't move. Your whole body is frozen. Listening. Waiting. He's still trying to open the door. And then nothing.

The dude is back. "Get him." He says about the baby. "Get him and call 911. Somebody is trying to get in." He's holding a knife.

His words unfreeze you. They give you a purpose. You get the baby. You get the phone. You force yourself to be calm. You quiet the baby. You call.

And you hear him trying the other door. He's still trying to get the lock to turn.

It's like you see yourself, you hear yourself, saying words you hoped you'd never say. "Someone is trying to break into my house." You marvel at how even your voice is. You fight to stay calm. It's like it's happening to you but at the same time it's so bizarre that it isn't. This has to be someone else. This isn't happening to my family.

She asks questions. "I don't know," you say. "I'm with my baby."

The dude comes and takes the phone. He gives a description. Height. Hair. Backpack. Barefoot. He tells her what direction he's headed in. He asks for a cop to come by. He hasn't put the knife down.

It's quiet again. No one is outside. The dude is waiting at the door. He still hasn't dropped the knife.

Ten minutes go by.

The cop arrives.

"We've apprehended him." He says.

"He's being very cooperative." He says.

"Never been in trouble with the law before." He says

"He's really drunk. Probably just thought this was his house. We're going to take him home."

On the stoop are his shoes and socks.

"Didn't want to track mud into the house," the cop jokes.

Only, I don't feel like joking. I feel relief that it's so trivial. But I feel sick. This is my house. This is my family. I don't fall asleep again until the sun is starting to come up.

And in the light of day, I can see the humour in it. I can see the guy telling the story about the night he got so drunk he tried to get into someone else's house because he thought it was his. I can see him laughing about it over a few beers with his friends.

But now it's dark again. And I'm afraid to go to bed.

Does he understand the fear he's left us with?