Woof! Woof! Woof!, erupted Bella as she leapt out of the tight grip of my arms. Relieved, I flew after her toward the door, eyes bloodshot from tears and knees continuing to shake with panic.
Flinging open the door, I saw a smiling man in police uniform, who greeted me with a, “Well hello there! And how are you doing on this fine day?”
Was he taunting me? “Um, I’ve had better I suppose, thank you for asking,” a whimper made its way up my throat, which attacked my next words resulting in a shaky, “and how are you today?”
“Wonderful! What can I help ya with?!” the young cop must have just gotten out of training on how to walk an old lady across the street, after which he received an ice cream cone. Beaver’s enthusiasm and zero regard for my obvious distress was bordering on annoying.
“Well, I’ve been robbed.” I said flatly and concluded with a sniffle. I bent down to pick up my small black Chihuahua as she was now beginning to jump on the officer’s pant leg.
“You were in the house?” he asked jamming his thumbs in his belt loops and shifting weight to his left leg.
“No, I was at work and when I came home—“
Cutting me off, “OK, you were burgled.”
Irritated at the audacity to cut me off AND correct me, I didn’t skip a beat when I turned back on my heel to face him squarely. Assertively I responded staring with daggers at his blue eyes, “Sir, this is absolutely not the time to correct me on semantics. Someone invaded my home and took all my shit. This bothers me a bit and I’d like to get started solving it. What do we do now?” Apparently all sadness and fear had momentarily ceased.
He paused pouting his lip out, clearly not expecting an intelligible response from the blubbering girl who answered the door with her Chihuahua. With his eyebrows raised he muttered an “OK” and whipped out his 9-year-old niece’s notepad.
The 6’5’ copper, maybe 28-29, began to quiz me on every little detail of the break in. He began to ask if I lived alone and I responded that no, I lived with my fiancé. Almost accusingly, Deputy Doogie asked his whereabouts.
“He should be here any minute.” I suddenly became aware I wasn’t wearing a bra, and oh shit, I wonder if he can see my nipples. Clinching the dog closer to my chest, I turned to walk to the room that had the most damage. Doogie followed me.
About 10 minutes after Doogie and I continued going over what happened and what was missing, the front door opened and I think I had a small heart attack. The fear quickly switched to little excitement as I hoped maybe the fuckers came back for more and I’d have a chance to kick some ass.
Yet in stepped my Scott, absolutely white with fear and clear panic in his eyes. He kept his cool seeing the cop standing in our bedroom, offered his hand and accepted a firm handshake. The boys caught up on the findings of the last 10 minutes, bringing Scott up to speed.
“So do you think this is where the intruder entered?” Doogie asked looking at me and pointing to the slider in the bedroom that opens to the porch.
“Yes, I mean, I don’t know, but,” I was stammering. Why was I stammering? Oh yeah, I’ve just been fucking robbed, I mean burgled. I continued, “well the screen was slightly open and that’s when I really knew someone came in.”
“Was it locked?” asked Doogie.
“Of course,” said I.
“Did you have one of those wooden dowels to block the slider from opening?”
“No, it got moldy and we threw it out and I wish—“
Cutting me off again, Doogie said in his most teacher-like voice, “You should have had a dowel here. They wouldn’t have been able to get in if you would have done that. Everyone knows that.”
Offended once again, I put one hand on my hip and said with as much maturity as my unstable attitude could muster, “Are you kidding? I didn’t send an invitation to the fuckers to come in. I didn’t do this to myself. Someone else did. Please do not resort to victim blaming.”
Either impressed or annoyed with my quip, Doogie shut right up and got back to detecting nothing. He did however lighten up with the cocky attitude, and started to even express a little empathy as the evening wore on. We combed the bedroom, living room, and porch. Then Doogie wanted to see what the neighbors knew.
We were all out on the porch when he asked, “Do you think I would scare them if I knocked on their back screen door?” With a mischievous twinkle in his eye, I was pretty sure he wanted to scare them for the fun of it, or maybe to cheer us up.
Scott and I laughed and I said, “Uuuh, especially if you are in that uniform you will!” He smiled a little and forced back his own laugh, then went to go knock on the neighbor’s door. I actually become fond of Doogie in that moment, as it was kind of like our own little prank on our cranky neighbors who always tell us to turn the music down.
The neighbors were, to our delight, frightened at first, but then welcomed the opportunity to help out. It was a bonding moment for us too. The lady, who I had never met, even to got me to cry a little, as she was so sweet and understanding. I felt safe letting myself become weak with tears. I guess I can try a little harder at keeping the music down.
Another hour wore on and we wrapped up our investigation. I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that now a day later I have heard nothing, and none of my crap has been returned. I have kissed my beloved computer goodbye, my faithful friend that got me through grad school and contained all the memories of that extremely formative time of my life. Pictures from Europe, countless research papers, poems containing my frustration…
I had finally begun a draft for a book, and while I hadn’t made it terribly far, I am now back to square one. I could go over all the things I will miss most, the little bracelet I just bought for myself with small diamonds in the shape of a “J.” The rose gold watch Scott gave me for Christmas. The promise ring he gave me when he told me he was committed to me forever. And oddly enough, my phone chargers. They don’t have my phone, why would they take my fucking phone chargers?! Just out of spite? Sheesh.
But there is one thing that I treasure the very most. About 5 years ago my father gave me the most beautiful gift he ever gave me, a pair of diamond earrings in the shape of a flower, with a ruby in the center. They were in a yellow gold setting, and came with a necklace with the same flower and lovely delicate gold chain. Probably more than the precious jewelry itself, enclosed in the box was a note that I kept with the set.
Let me explain a little bit further, in the last 10 years of my father’s life, we weren’t extremely close. He lived in Texas and I lived in Seattle. I always knew he loved me with his whole heart, but was never really one to catch up on how my day was or what kind of music I liked. I didn’t like that he wasn’t very involved, but I learned to enjoy his love from afar.
When I received the gift that June, I was shocked he had actually reached out – it wasn’t me that was calling, but him that not only picked up the phone, but bought me something of significant value. The note enclosed read:
“15 June 08 (he was German – never did catch on to how we do dates in the USA)
Enclosed are items that I thought that you may like. They were at Fort Sam’s Jewelry on Father’s Day for their daughters and I could not keep myself from getting them for my precious princess. I hope you like them.
I lost my Dad 3 years ago and the pain of him being gone will always become severe at times. The moment I realized I was robbed (I don’t care, I’m calling it robbed), I was freaked out, realizing many things were gone, but not really sure what.
I hadn’t come to the realization that my gems were gone before the cop got there. However sometime in the mix of our recounting what was lost, the emotional hit smacked me with a baseball bat that, of course, that set would be precisely what the burglars would take. No way…
I started to panic. I searched the jewelry box. My underwear drawer. Sock drawer. Now I was moving quickly. I slammed the sock drawer shut with a sharp, “FUCK!” and ran into the bathroom. I could feel the tears threatening to come back. I pulled everything out of the medicine cabinet. My drawer. Scott’s drawer. Now the lump in my throat appeared and pulled up into my mouth. Tears were now streaming down my face and my hands were shaking furiously.
I ran back into the bedroom now completely sobbing and feeling as though I had lost Dad all over again. I ran to my bedside table and fell to my knees. Weeping I screamed, “That was the ONLY THING I had LEFT!” Scott and Doogie were dumbfounded, silent, as I threw my arms on the bedside table, now completely broken down in painful sobs.
About a minute later I tried one last ditch effort into the back of the bottom drawer of the bedside table. Behind the Rosetta Stone Box and the iPhone case, I found the small grey felt box.
Literally, I screamed.
My tears had turned to joy as I realized that the one belonging I treasure most was not in the hands of filthy thieves. The delicate earrings and dainty necklace were still in my possession, just as Dad had intended it. I lifted the inner casing and found the folded note that was originally enclosed with the gift. Now somewhat water logged because let’s face it, I spill things and cry, the lettering was still legible.
I know that these won’t bring my father back, but at least a piece of him is still with me. I lost a lot of things that Tuesday, but those fuckers didn’t take what mattered to me most. My dog was home when it happened and she is unharmed. My fiancé isn’t dead yet from my stress induced waves of grief and loss. My ability to stand up to punk cops is seemingly still intact. And while no thief can ever steal my memories of Dad, I still have a tangible gift I can hold as I recall fondly.
Sirs or madams who broke into my house: If you can read this I promise you this. We will find you. The pain you have caused my family is unfair and selfish of you. I don’t know what happened in your life, but that gives you no right to hurt other people. Justice will rain down on you for your sins, and my God will come after you for hurting His children. My Father is in heaven furious with you, but protected my most valuable possession. It is not my job to pay you back for the horrific terror you have caused me and my family. But don’t you worry, you will get yours soon.