3 a.m. Friday, August 31
I am sleeping soundly, as anyone should be at 3 a.m. The sound of the doorbell frantically ringing propels me straight up in bed. The doorbell starts ringing again. I jump out of bed, throw on my robe, and grab my cell phone. I quickly go through my options: go to the front door to see who is causing the frenetic ringing, ignore the ding, ding, ding and get back in bed, or hide in my bathroom until the ringing stops. I dismiss these options and choose option four. I stand perfectly still in the doorway of my bedroom.
The ringing stops for a second, and then I hear a terrifying sound. The doorknob of the back door is rattling. Without thinking I run the approximate 12 steps across my living room to the back door. I bang on the door as hard as I can. Suddenly, I realize the guttural, terrifying screams I hear are coming from my mouth.
“Get out! Get out! Get out!”
I flip the patio light on and try to peer through the blinds. I can’t see anything. The condensation on the windowpanes mixed with the patio light creates a blur.
The rattling and the horrible ringing have stopped. I run back to my bedroom while dialing 911 on my cell phone.
“Someone’s trying to break into my house!”
I’m not sure why after banging on the door and yelling, as if trying to chase away a bear, I choose a whispered scream now, but I think quiet is best. I desperately try to hear what is happening beyond my walls, but only hear my heartbeat clanging in my ears.
Three very long and terrifying minutes later, the 911 dispatcher tells me that the police have arrived and are waiting at my front door. In the dark, I creep to the front door and turn on the front porch light. I nearly pass out when I see a man dressed all in black approaching my porch. (Someone needs to explain to me why police officers must wear such dark colors. Why not yellow or red or some color that signifies safety. The boogeyman wears black.)
After the police have searched my front, back, and side yards, they come back to the door. I tell them the whole story: the doorbell ringing, the back door rattling, my banging and yelling at the back door.
“Well, ma’am, we can’t find anyone on the premises,” says the lead officer.
“Uh, huh.” My head is spinning.
“It was probably just a dog or an animal messing with your door,” from the lead officer again.
I come to. “Sir, a dog wouldn’t ring my doorbell!”
“Oh, well, no, a dog wouldn’t do that.”
“No.” My body is shaking uncontrollably as the three officers try to offer explanations or dismiss my fear. I don’t know what the following comments were supposed to accomplish.
“We didn’t see any footprints,” says officer number two. Do people leave footprints in grass?
“Ma’am, do you realize your side gate is propped open?” asks officer number three.
“I did not leave the gate open. If the gate is propped open, that is where they got in and ran out!” The next morning, I discover that the lock has been ripped out of the wood of my fence.
“Are you here by yourself?” asks the lead officer.
“Yes.” Tears start to pour down my face.
“Are you o.k.?”
“Well, we got here in three minutes.” I think this was supposed to be a comforting statement. “If you have any more trouble, we are just a phone call away.” And then they left.
One week later…
That last statement from the lead officer was definitely supposed to offer comfort, but it fell painfully short. The concept of more trouble has haunted me for the last week. I still have to live here and often by myself. Whoever tried to get in this house is still out there. I never want to endure the three minutes of waiting in my bedroom doorway to be saved or killed again. And yes, my wild imagination went immediately to killed, possibly tortured first, but definitely killed. Police officers being three minutes away offer no comfort whatsoever. A lot can happen in three minutes.
I finally fell back asleep that morning around 6 a.m. Thank goodness for blackout drapes. I dreamt of broken windows, dismissive police officers, and busted locks. At 10 a.m. on August 31, I started to piece together DIY home security.
If whoever ruined my sense of safety is out there, reading this post, here are a few things you should know:
- My neighbors know what you did, and they are on the lookout for you.
- The property handyman has put new locks on both gates. You will have to tear down the fence to get in the back yard next time. Good luck.
- $3 bought me a few “Beware of the dog” signs. Do I have a dog? How big is it? Will it rip your balls off if you step foot on my property again?
- My alarm system has been checked and is armed at all times. If you trip the alarm, I hope the loud as hell ringing makes you piss yourself.
- Since your last visit, a banana spider, three inches in length, has woven a thick web on my patio. The web now blocks the exterior entrance to the patio. If you choose to creep up my patio steps again, Charlotte will attack you. She’s waiting for you. Would you like to meet her?
- I have new bulbs in the front and back porch lights, energy efficient and bright. They will never be turned off again. You will never know if I am home or not. The next time you come over, you better hope that I am away. You have created a rage inside me that I doubt will go away any time soon. So, the lights stay on, lit up like the 4th of July!
- And speaking of said rage, I now sleep with a can of wasp spray next to my bed. It shoots poison 27 feet. I will hose you down so that you are choking on it. And if that doesn’t work, in my other hand will be the baseball bat engraved with my wedding date. I will tattoo your forehead with the date and the Louisville Slugger logo. Are you ready for your make over? I am.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned? Bullshit. Hell hath no fury like a woman scared out of her mind.