A Deep and Terrible Understanding

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On Friday afternoon, as I lay in my bed, napping in preparation for my impending night shift, a man broke into my house and made it into my bedroom before I woke up and realized my home had been invaded. The bad guy quickly fled upon my waking and I am fine – physically anyway – but there is a terrible anger burning in me, and an awful understanding of what it means to have your life broken into.

One of my writing mentors, after reading my last blog post, forbade me from writing another blog until I’d written at least 1000 words of original fiction. But this event has me rattled, angry and bent out of shape, and I am writing about it to try and find a bit of peace. I am vitally upset, and now I’m going to make you all suffer with me. So, my dear writing mentor, you will have to cut me a little slack, and forgive my transgression.

The evil-doer, it seems, pried open the back window of my house. He stole my cell phone, which was beside the window, and then made his way through several rooms, before coming to my bedroom. I was dead to the world, as I always am if I manage to fall asleep during the day, and didn’t hear him at all. The bad guy couldn’t find the light switch in my room, apparently, and opened the black-out curtains I have to keep the room dark so I can sleep during the day. When the room got brighter, I came half way to consciousness, and rolled over. The bad guy swore, ran down my stairs, out my front door and into a waiting vehicle, which peeled out of my driveway.

It took me several moments to realize that I hadn’t dreamed the whole thing, and there had actually been someone in my house. Once I was with it, I ran to my neighbor’s house, called the police, called my wife, yelled and swore – the usual.

In all, the event could have been much worse. I was never in any real danger; most break and enter artists are horrible cowards and break into houses in the middle of the day when they think the occupants will be at work, and if it came down to a confrontation between me and the shit-bag, I think that he is likely to be the one who was in danger. Also, the only thing we lost was my cell phone, which is little more than an inconvenience due to the lost contacts and other information.

The thing that really bothers me is that I no longer feel like I can rest in my own house.

It’s kind of funny, I suppose; I’ve been a street cop for nearly 10 years, first as a constable, then as a corporal (supervisor). I’ve been to probably a thousand break and enter files in that time, and I’ve met all those unfortunate occupants whose lives have been irrevocably disrupted by a horrible invasion into their homes. I’ve always tried to be sympathetic, as I rummaged through the remains of their lives looking for evidence, trying to catch the rat-fuck who did them such awful injury, but I’ve never, until now, reached a full understanding of what they’d gone through.

Now I know. And I don’t like it at all.

Much of our lives is like this, I think. You don’t appreciate a thing until it is gone – a thing like security in your own home. You don’t appreciate a story until your life is turned upon its ear and your ability to tell that story has fled from you. You don’t really understand a helpless anger until it rests at the center of you, and will not be tamped down.

I got another apt Mark Twain quote off the calendar my wife got me: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” Reading that quote I know I will get over this thing, as we all get over the things that come to trouble us in our lives. I will take this craft of mine, and feed this grist into the mill of my mind, and come out the other side a better storyteller.

It is just hard to remember that, sometimes, when you’ve not been able to sleep in your own home because you think every creak of your house is someone else coming to break in, and you leap out of bed hoping to catch them in the act and bash them silly.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you are faring better than I.