Sometimes, something happens that you just can’t quite believe. You need time to process it in your mind. Now that we are nearly a month removed from it, I feel I can adequately tell the story. Ready yourselves, Dear Readers. You are in for quite the tale.
On the night in question, I was in bed attempting to sleep through the return of the sickness that seems to take a perverse delight in ravaging my stomach every few weeks. For a decent idea, read this entry and take out all of the emergency room stuff. Same basic thing. On this particular night, Michelle had decided to sleep on the couch. Supposedly, she did this so I would have more room in the bed to relax and get comfortable. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the real reason behind this seemingly good-natured act was that she wanted to get some semblance of actual sleep — an impossible feat when sharing a bed with her sick Writer.
The time was around 1:00 in the morning. I can’t be certain, because I don’t remember looking at any clocks. I do, however, remember Michelle bursting into the bedroom, panicked and in tears.
“There’s someone outside,” she said between sobs. “They’re trying to get into the house.”
She crawled into bed while I got out of it, assuring her that it was probably just the wind blowing the screen door open. I walked to the living room and looked out the side window, and I saw that it wasn’t the wind. Our screen door was open, and a man was standing there trying to open our front door.
I stepped back in shock, unsure if this was actually happening or if it was just some strange dream. I heard the man’s muffled voice from outside the door say repeatedly, “It’s locked, it’s locked.” I had to figure out what to do.
I went back to our room and told Michelle that there was someone outside, and if they were trying to get in, we needed to get out of the house and away from the area. We hatched a plan: grab Liam and escape into the backyard through his window. Once our would-be home invaders were inside, we would get into our car and leave. While driving away, I would call the police and get them out to our house. I grabbed my keys and my phone, and we put our plan into action.
Staying as quiet as possible, we went into Liam’s room and woke him up. He was delighted to see us and quite happy to be awake. Michelle was the first through the window, and I handed Liam to her once she was out safe. I followed her out the window and lowered myself into our backyard. I told Michelle to stay there while I checked on our escape route. At that moment, Liam thought it was a fantastic idea to start a conversation with his panicked Mama, and Michelle made a futile effort to quiet our little boy. Meanwhile, I walked around the side of the house, my phone and my keys in hand.
I peeked out from behind the fence and saw a man walking onto our driveway. I just watched him for a moment, trying to size him up. He was not very steady on his feet, walking very slowly … as if it was taking all of his mental capacity to keep himself upright. Finally, he stopped and leaned against the house — for a rest, it seemed. That was when he noticed me, standing at the fence in a t-shirt and my boxers.
“Everything okay?” he said in a drunken slur.
At this point, I still wasn’t sure what was going on. I was shielding myself with the fence door, hoping it would be enough to at least slow down any possible bullets coming my way. “Not really,” I said. “Is there anyone on the front porch?”
He straightened up a little and hung his head around the corner of the house. He turned back to me. “Nope. No one up there.”
“Okay,” I said. “Would you mind telling me what you’re doing?”
He leaned against the side of the house again. “Nothing.”
By now, I realized that this man was highly intoxicated and probably not a true threat. Still, I stayed where I was. “Sir, I’d appreciate it if you would leave. I called the police when I thought someone was trying to break into our house, and they should be here any minute now.”
“But… I’m just waitin’ for Dale.”
“Well, I don’t know who that is,” I said, starting to lose my cool. “The police are still on their way.”
“Oh. Well… okay.”
He straightened up again and began staggering down our driveway. He turned at the sidewalk and started lumbering away. I watched until he got to the end of our street, keeping an eye out for anyone that may have been with him or just using him as a distraction. But there was no one else.
Turns out, he was just a drunk who went to the wrong house. I walked back to Michelle and Liam and explained everything, then cautiously led them back inside. We put Liam back to bed, and Michelle crawled into bed with me, no longer caring that my illness would probably keep her awake for the rest of the night. Even though I was in no condition to be defending anyone, she still felt safer with me beside her.
And in a properly heartwarming story, that knowledge alone would have healed my body within seconds, allowing me to perform superhuman feats at a moment’s notice. In reality, I was asleep within minutes, exhausted from the events of the past fifteen minutes.
I was sick, after all.