I wuz robbed.
Well, technically, I was burgled. I arrived home from work Tuesday to find my back door unlocked – definitely not the way I had left it that morning. Stupidly, I proceeded into the house anyway, missing the sight of the basement window – barely 2 feet wide and 1 foot tall, lying on the ground in front of the conspicuous hole in the side of my house.
I fumbled for my cell phone and tried to remember how to dial 911. “Is anyone in the house now?” demanded the dispatcher. I had checked the basement, not yet aware that it harbored the point of entry, if not the suspect. The guest room closet was wide open, the light on the desk turned on. No one here but me.
Upstairs, someone had rifled through a box on my dresser, but at least all of my underwear was still in its drawer. It took a day to notice that the invader had tossed aside a smaller box as useless; my mother’s blue satin wedding garter had tumbled from it into my sock basket.
The bathroom closet doors were wide open, jewelry box gone. Other than that, the only thing that seems to be missing is the stack of rolled coins that sat in a small pottery bowl on the guest-room desk. One empty paper quarter roll lay forlornly, left behind on the desk.
You wonder how you’ll react if you stumble upon the aftermath of violence. I got stupid. The theft didn’t surprise me – here in my corner of Vermont, home burglaries have become a dime a dozen – but I must have been somewhat in shock and denial.
I have no real idea of the value of what was stolen. A bracelet and necklace were probably made of real pearls, but I’m not sure; a gold bracelet that belonged to my grandmother was noticeably dinged. I had worn my mother’s unusual hollow silver ring for the first time just days ago at a wedding.
Mostly what I lost, for about 24 hours, was my brain. Inattentive and forgetful on a good day, my absent-mindedness went into overdrive. I’m not sure yet if I have forever lost the sense of my home as a place of refuge.
Yet while I was shaken, I wasn’t stirred. The old me would have shared my misfortune with colleagues amid loud lamentations and the re-telling of the tale, tallying the cost of possessions I lost but rarely used. Sure, even the new me was frustrated, but at work I kept my own counsel and at home I got everything fixed the next day. Things could have been a lot worse – this was just a blip on the screen of life.
I wuz tested. And I passed.