Sometimes you do something so stupid and potentially dangerous it puts a pit in your stomach and lingers around you for a whole day.
I’m not talking about something irresponsible, like, say, for example, staying far too long at a happy hour and not eating anything except a couple of chips and a teaspoon of guacamole, which, as everyone knows is not a sufficient anti-hangover base for 3 top shelf margaritas and a sickly sweet shot. Just as an example.
No, I’m talking about some stupid mistake that makes you question whether you should even be allowed to walk by yourself to the metro.
And every time you start to feel comfortable or safe or push the incident out of your mind, there it is again, sending a cold sheen of sweat over your upper lip.
My guardian-boyfriend XFE is out of town for work this week, so of course, when I went to bed last night, I checked every door and window and made absolutely certain they were locked before I went to bed.
I have recurring bouts of insomnia. I’m currently in one of those bouts, I’d say for going on about 2 weeks now. My insomnia is kinda interesting. To me, at least. I fall asleep easily, then wake up around 3 or 4 in the morning and cannot get back to sleep until about 20 minutes before my alarm goes off. So….super restful, that. If there’s anything worse than waking up for no reason, it’s finally being able to drift back to sleep only to be jolted awake again. It is exhausting, and frustrating, and mystifying.
So, last night, per usual, I woke up around 4 am and tried to lie still in the hopes that I could somehow quiet my mind enough to get back to sleep. I finally started to slowly sink back into sleep after an indeterminate amount of time when I heard the very distinct sound of our front door. Our door has a pretty unmistakable sound. It has a rubber weathering seal around it that makes it sound a little bit like a suction noise. That’s the best way I can describe it, and it’s totally inefficient.
Anyway, I know I heard something because even Petunia jumped up from her favorite sleeping spot — ie: between my legs (I also have a theory that perhaps my insomnia stems from the fact that I am physically trapped by a 13 pound cat and can’t roll over to a more comfortable position — I have a lot of theories about my insomnia. You think a lot during those extra 2-3 hours of wakefulness every night).
I stayed very, very still, holding my breathe and listening; watching the cat to see if she was hearing anything. Nothing. No footsteps on the wood floor. No sound of the door closing. It must have been our collective imaginations. Time to get up and get the day going.
I went through my normal morning routine – brew coffee, feed the cat, pet the cat while she eats, pour cup of coffee plus to-go mug, pet the cat while she eats some more, escape the cat-petting session and get showered and dressed.
Finally, it was time to leave. I open the door and hear the distinct tinkle of my keys still in the lock of the front door, left there from the evening before. Just hanging there vulnerable and exposed. Tempting evil doers of all shapes and stripes to gently turn them and come in our house. I immediately felt sick to my stomach.
I’ve done this before. XFE has found my keys still in the door lock on at least 2 occasions that I can think of.
I immediately put down my raincoat, my purse, my to-go mug of coffee. I grabbed my phone and a very lethal looking butcher knife and began looking in every closet, behind every door, just waiting for my opportunistic murderer to jump out. I went out back and checked the shed, and behind the shed, my heart caught in my throat.
The scariest moment was the downstairs powder room. That door was completely closed. Was someone in there? What would I do? Also, I’m right handed. So, should I hold my phone in my right hand in case I need to call 911, or should I hold my knife in my right hand, so I can swipe and stab with premium skill?
Luckily, my stabbing versus dialing skills were never put to the test. No one was in the house. But could I be sure? I mean, really, really sure? It worried me all the way to work, all day at work, on the way home, and especially while approaching my front door.
Obviously, everything was fine and normal and as it should be.
But I’m not out of the woods yet. I still have to get some sleep tonight and who knows how that’s going to go with the state of my nerves. What fills me with most dread though, (besides the possibility of making that mistake again and not having as much luck the next time around) is how much trouble I’m going to get in when XFE reads this. He hates these kind of stories, quite naturally. He’ll be worried and exasperated and it will come out as harsh and I’ll get defensive and teary-eyed.
But I’ll try to nod and agree and understand that he’s not mad at me, he’s mad at the situation. That I’ve put myself in. He’s far away and completely helpless. He’s only concerned and sad that he can’t do anything to help me or save me from my idiocy.
At least this time I didn’t need a locksmith.