This IS Happening

Last night I had plans that were rescheduled at the last minute. The holiday season ahead is quickly filling in with engagements, and that coupled with the pace at which I’m pushing myself to move up and onward in life had me happy for a quiet night home alone. All at once, there was a knock at the door to the rhythm of shave and a haircut, minus the two bits. Before I’d even halfway reached the door another knock came, shave and a haircut …

I don’t always answer the door if I don’t know the person on the other side, instead cautiously approaching knowing that movement and the floor settling are telltales. It so happened that I hadn’t turned the bathroom light off so the light flooded the entrance way leading up to the door backlighting me as I approached the peephole. I knew to look out meant that the light would obviously be blocked, a great indicator that, why, yes, someone is indeed home.

The emotional connection is what makes it worth it, as with the best things in life. I’ve been such a good girl this month, no scary movies in the theatre or at home. Okay, with the exception of some movie called Paranoia 1.0 the night before at one in the morning when I couldn’t sleep. But it starred Jeremy Sisto and Lance Henriksen and had a decidedly noir-ish tone so it simply HAD to be seen. I love scary movies as I’ve mentioned once before, though, I try not to, I love the rollercoaster of emotion, the heightened anticipation of what’s to come, good or bad. A metaphor for life. Sure, I could shut that off and approach it as a work of fiction, an illusion, but that wouldn’t be me, the emotional connection is what makes it worth it, as with the best things in life. The gore I’m not good with at all, hence my absence in films like Saw II-IV and Hostel I & II where torture is more the menu than the suspense. There’ve been two films that come to mind where there was so much blood that I began to actually enjoy it, blood lust at it’s peak- Kill Bill Volume I and High Tension. For the most part, leave me the sound effects and my imagination and it’s a much more delicious and satisfying route. I’ve been careful to especially dodge every opportunity to view the movie Halloween until the day of, or before, the 31st because it’s the only one that will have me looking backwards as I walk in the dark, or stealing glances over my shoulder towards Tina’s open-doored bedroom while on the couch. Apparently movies or no movies, I was about to have my very own scary movie of sorts …

I heard mumbling just before I looked through the peephole. A young guy, probably late teens, wearing those awful super baggy down-to-there pants, with mammoth sneakers and a large cream coat with a fur-rimmed hood stood squinting back into the peephole. That’s when I could make out the mumbling. “You’re at home, I saw you, you’re at the door, I can feel you, you’re breathing, I can touch you.” Oh. My. God. He repeated these words over and over and over again in a sing-song voice as he leaned in pressing his ear and hands to the door. He batted at the doorknob several times, me jumping with each hit. I stood riveted to the spot, the hall mirror reflecting my face with a sickly half-smile fueled by the thought and question of “This is happening. Is this really happening?” I didn’t dare move. It’s like I was fixed to the floor and I began “Please, please, please, please leave,” in my head. He groped at the door, now fulling pressed up against it, while knocking multiple times off and on. Each time, shave and a haircut … Seven times total. Seven minutes. The clock from the bathroom told me so.

I was so glad to still be fully dressed with my shoes near the door instead of in the closet as they always are. A stand filled with umbrellas, the long, full kind with the handle in the shape of a “J” and sharp pointy ends was to my left. A pocket knife on my keyring inches away, and a cellphone in my pocket. I stood there kicking myself for not attending the crime-watch meeting the complex held last week, and thinking how my neighbor a floor below had never felt so far away.

Somehow I kicked him hard enough (placement, people, placement) Were Bean home with me, or a friend over, I could so act the part of protector. For myself, that’s a different matter at times. Something similar once happened back in junior high where a supposed friend of mine walked me home from the school bus stop like most any other day only to jokingly ask what I’d do if he broke into my house to which I replied, “Pht, why would you break into my house?” As we walked up the front steps he followed me inside instead of turning to leave. When I asked what he was doing he said, “What do you think?” With much urging I got him back out the door so I could get on with what needed doing that afternoon. A minute later, he was at the sliding glass door in the back, pulling it open, as it was unlocked. I was smiling, confused, thinking he was just playing around. I tried to shut the door saying he really needed to go when he reached in with one hand and grabbed my top pulling me in close saying, “Today I’m gonna rape you, and you’re gonna enjoy it.” He smiled. A sinister smile not like I’d ever seen before. “Don’t be stupid, no you’re not,” I said, with my heart in my throat, as I rammed the door into him repeatedly. He was halfway in by then and I knew if he got his foot in any further I’d be screwed. Ha, screwed. That was the first time I realized that guys are just naturally stronger, the way their shoulders are built, their frame, even if they’re shorter. My top ripped and I spit on him and then he was just plain livid, digging his nails into my wrist as I scratched his face. Somehow I kicked him hard enough (placement, people, placement) that he moved back in such a way that I could shove him out and shut and lock the door. I was pulling the drapes closed when he mouthed the words, “The window.” I’ve never run down stairs faster in my life as I raced to get to the basement window before he did. I did. He ran around the outside of the house pounding on windows and doors here and there and then left at last. I called my best friend from childhood, who lived just across the way. A year older and her sister three more, they knew people. He was taught a lesson the very next day. Applause! It’s good to know people sometimes. Back to last night …

The guy finally turned to leave. Finally. He stood at the top of the landing and whistled Zippity-Doo-Dah and then sing-sang, “Nobody’s home, but I saw you, I saw you” and smiled over his shoulder back towards the door as he walked down the stairs. I went to my bedroom that was dark and watched him cross the courtyard. And then, the street light went out. Geez, Louise, the street light went out! What timing. I’ve sat at the window just about every night before bed for over the year and a half I’ve lived here and that light chooses now to go out? So, I can’t see where the heck he is, but I can still hear him whistling. Apparently he was sitting on the stairs leading up to the road. After twenty minutes passed in which I felt like a captive and only when I found myself crawling along the floor down on my knees in order not to be visible, did anger well up inside and give me the strength to stand up and walk through my home to turn the right lights on, the wrong lights off, close the curtains and generally continue my night. I could hear his whistling from the living room. I called my dad. I briefly told him what was up and I found solace in his words: “I’m coming over. I’ll shoot him.” It made me laugh and I was immediately more myself. During the wait, I went back to my window where I looked out to see the guy approach my stairway and then pass below my window walking off into the night. Then, the flippin’ street light went back on! My dad teased a little about how I must of imagined the street light business. After my dad left to return home, I watched as he walked to his car. The light went out again. Ha! He turned and waved up at me.

No one likes to be confronted with their weaknesses, I guess, and that one hit me in my home So, this young guy, I’ve given him every benefit of the doubt. Was I an unknown participant in a psychology assignment for class? Did he get the wrong apartment and expect his friends to open the door and think they were just messing with him by not letting him in? He didn’t try knocking on anyone else’s door, though … I’d hoped he was some looney kid who lived across the way who was just being lame because then come daylight, I’d traipse right over and introduce myself properly. The wanker. Such nonsense. It rattled me, and I hate that. No one likes to be confronted with their weaknesses, I guess, and that one hit me in my home, violating me without even touching me, without even looking at me. At least, face to face.

I love sleeping with my window open (with screens, no bugs, yay!) to let the sound of night in. But the shuffle of the usual footsteps kept me restless, kept tearing me out of sleep and I longed for someone to keep watch so that rest could come. I laid with the laptop near me for a connection to the outside world, false security, and only fell asleep when I heard the beginnings of a shower head running, sometime after the break of day. ♦

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