Last night, after visiting with my parents and some family friends, we headed home. As we pulled into the driveway, and stepped out of the car, there was an eiree feeling about the house. I stepped into our sunroom, and immediately noticed the door to our house standing wide open. Had Forrest simply forgotten to close it, or had someone been in our house.... or worse, was someone in there now? I checked the doors to the sunroom, which normally are locked, and the back door was unlocked. Panic set in, as I turned around, to re-enter the garage where Forrest was sitting in the car chatting on the cell phone. I explained to him what I saw, and he quickly ended the conversation. Armed with a 2x4 (I almost suggested nailing a few nails into it), he checked our house, room by room. After declaring the upstairs all clear, my heart began to settle down, at least until he went to turn on the light in the basement. The light would not work. Weird, I thought, we were just down there before we left, and I thought it was working. I begged Forrest not to go down there alone, so we locked the door, and called my father and his friend to come walk down with Forrest to check.
At this point, my mind is careening with the possibility of a psychopathic murderer hiding out in our basement, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge and torture us while we slept. I steadied myself, and begged my mind to calm down, and to think rationally. As my heart slowed, and my mind laughed at how rediculous we were being, a car drove by our house. Nothing particularly unusual about this car, as it was an old Crown Victoria, and we live in a neighborhood populated mostly by white haired widows and widowers. "Just someone coming home from church," I told myself. I watched as the car drove down past our neighbors, and then turned into a driveway two doors down. "Weird," I thought, "that guy only owns a black lincoln." When the car backed out of the driveway, turned around, and started heading back our way, I first was worried that someone thought we were locked out. Only, at the moment I thought that, a light from inside the car flashed, as the driver attempted to light a cigarette. The light allowed enough clarity to realize that the driver was not an aging widower, but instead, a rough looking young man, with a passenger in the back seat. As they slowly drove by our house, Forrest and I glanced at one another, immediately aware of what we needed to do. Forrest dialed 911, as I sat in our car, waiting on the cops to arrive. I was shaking, and Shepherd sensed my fear and started crying. He was tired, as it was well past his bedtime, so I hushed him and tried to sing him to sleep. My parents arrived shortly afterwards, which helped, and soon after, I began to feel ridiculous for my fears. The police arrived, and checked everything out, moving from room to room carefully.
As they checked the home, my dad reminded me of what had happend to a widow down the street only a few years ago.
She'd come home to a dark house, and as she entered the house, two men held her at gunpoint, robbed her, then drove off with her car. As he relayed the story, I grew more and more convinced that we'd done the right thing calling the police, even if it was something as silly as us forgetting to shut the door on our way out. The police emerged, and stated that they could find nothing, that everything had checked out okay. Either we had scared the thief away, or we'd forgotten to shut the door ourselves. I offered sincere apologies to them for having to come out, but they waved me off, thanking US for calling them. "You can't imagine how many calls we get from people who've walked in on something and ignored their instincts" they told us, reminding us that we'd in fact been correct to call them. I felt better. But learned a valuable lesson in locking up.
As we went to bed last night, locking all the doors, and deadbolting those we could, we went to bed, slipping into a deep sleep, thankful we were safe, and grateful for the men who stepped into our scary, yet silly situation, and helped us feel safe.