I spent several (okay 3 but it felt like more) months alone last summer because my husband had back to back out of town jobs with his father’s drilling company. And as soon as the men left, my MIL would follow with all the kids in tow except J10 and J11 because 10 had to work and 11 had to take care of the animals. I kept them at our house as often as possible since neither had a drivers license and really who leaves teens alone even when they’re responsible like 11 or not so much like 10. But the true reason I kept them close was I did not want to rattle about in this big home that is only a dwelling without my other half. At the beginning of all of this The Princess (J5) was still living here because that was the agreement when we bought the house from him. He spent a great deal of his time making my life a living hell for reasons known only to him but that was not the worst part.
J5 has been involved in some shall we say unsavory situations in his relatively short time on this earth. Unfortunately these unsavory situations have the tendency to make enemies for him and those enemies would always start as friends who would be invited to his house. The house that I now live in. So needless to say we lock up at night. He had just finished making a fairly volatile and dangerous person angry right before Jarell and I got married by hooking up with his former friend and roommate’s girlfriend/baby’s mother and lying about it to all and sundry including his live in girlfriend who I liked very much. I have to assume that the reason he hates me so much is that I told her the truth when asked about his activities as far as I knew while she was out of town. Again not relevant to alone in the middle of the night per se, but rather back story that makes things more understandable.
By the time that Jarell went out of town the first of July TP had taken to staying elsewhere most nights but he would show up in the middle of the night out of the blue. This made me nervous because I would not know about it till the next morning and its a bit unnerving to know someone can come into your house and sit in the living room next to your bedroom without you ever knowing it. Especially unnerving if you have lived in a place where someone tried repeatedly to break into your house in a drunken fit because they had mistaken your trailer for theirs. (another story for another day) I decided to take matters into my own hands and did the unthinkable according to TP. I put a locking doorknob on our interior basement/garage door. Unbeknownst to me it did not install properly and when you turned the door knob sometimes it would lock of its own volition. I took the key with me the day after installation to get copies made for TP (because the house was still technically his at the time- we were renting to own) and for Jarell. I wanted two locked doors between me and any possible intruders, but what I got was a royally pissed off brother in law and a messed up door. When I left to get copies that day the door locked behind me without my knowledge and TP tried to go upstairs. When he found the door locked and assumed it was on purpose he pried it open and left me and Jarell rude messages. He told Jarell to get his wife under control (oh yes…. he did go there) and told me to quit effing up his house. As amazing as this may sound, I am now thankful that he messed the doorknob up.
One night for whatever reason I was alone in my house. Neither of the girls were here having taken a rare night to stay at home with J4. The house was not locked up for the night, but the inside door was shut all the way and that meant that there was no doorknob on the outside for anyone to grab making a prybar or large screwdriver necessary to open it and light to see by a good thing.
I was sitting on my couch reading a book at 9:30 or so when I heard a rattling at the bottom of the stairs. I assumed it was TP so I gave it no further thought. It kept going and I knew he would have gotten it by now because he was the one that broke it in the first place. I called Jarell quietly and asked him to check and see if it was J5 downstairs I also went in my room and locked the door as a precaution. Jarell called me back saying no J5 was in KC, why? Because theres someone in the basement trying to get upstairs. I could still hear the muted rattling of the door. Jarell debated about who to call while I cried softly and then decided to call J3 who lives only about 5 miles away. I grabbed a gun and snuck quietly out of my bedroom glad now to hear that the noise had stopped but nervous about what that might mean.
J3 came tearing down the driveway in his big duelly Dodge with its diesel engine hammering. He came to the seldom used front door and rang the bell. I was on the phone with his wife so I knew it was him. He came in with his shirt unbuttoned looking like he’d dressed quickly with his .45 drawn (this is rural America folks – even grannies gots guns) and checked the bedrooms, closets, bathroom, and the basement. Whoever had been there was now gone.
We locked all the doors and I drove to my inlaw’s house to stay with the girls because my house was no longer the safe haven it had been 3 hours earlier. It was a scary place 1/4 mile back from the road that no one even knew was there. Well almost no one and that was the problem. The wrong people knew and the right ones to call in an emergency might take too long getting lost with confusing directions given by the omniscient GPS that has somehow misplaced our location. After that I was not willing to stay alone in the house and the few short trips where Jarell has been gone overnight since then have been girls nights in because when it comes down to it, I am more capable of acting when there is someone else to protect besides myself.
When ,in the middle of the afternoon one day J11 and I heard a noise in the basement that was not made by someone who was supposed to be here, I grabbed the gun again and made my way down the stairs to check every nook and cranny because someone was there to call 911 if need be. I was shaking for an hour afterwards from the excess adrenaline leaving my body but at the time all I cared about was making sure we were both safe. This is my nature- to protect my home and those in it less strong than I.
Where does all of this come from you might ask. Why talk about it now? Well it just so happens that on or around the 15th Jarell will make a trip that should last only about 2 weeks to Oregon for his job. I will not go because 1) I hate flying with a passion and 2) My dogs are here and I don’t need to go but I do need to take care of them and my fish and my home. The thought of his upcoming trip makes me nervous. I cringe a little more as each day passes knowing that his imminent departure draws nigh. I curl up inside thinking of the long nights alone where things go bump in the night and it makes me afraid. The standard excuse of having the kids around because there are no parents at home may or may not be valid because it is unlikely that my MIL will follow for this short trip. The fact that J5 has been gone from this residence for almost a year now seems to have made a difference in the last 2 months but thats not that long and we’ve gone longer between incidents before this.
This is what weighs on my mind in the wee sma’s of the night so much so that I have dragged out my most persuasive words and writing for you dear reader. Show instead of tell. I was always good at that in school assignments but I’m out of practice now. Persuasion in my life is done with food and verbal incentive rather than passioned proes, adjectives, illiteration, and good punctuation. I lay my daily life open for all to see as if I were writing notes to a good friend replete with smileys and slang rather than as if I were trying to make the grade. I hope it does not dissapoint because I feel inadequate next to those of you who speak so eloquently of things as simple as chickens, yard work, and visits to the grocery store.
As a conclusion, I want to say this was always the weakest point of my papers, letters and even emails. I never knew just how to end and countless teachers and peers told me this as did my own eyes. How does one conclude a piece about your fear of the dark and lonely night when it is at odds with your love of shadows and moons and all things nocturnal. I suppose you say that you will soldier on and that there is (usually) nothing to fear but fear itself. As for me? I bid you adieu for the night mes chers amis.