Some days back, I posted in my 10 Cose di Me that I had come home from work one Friday evening when my husband was out of town and caught someone in my house. That was a few years ago, but I still remember it very well.
When I get home in the evenings, I always pull my car into the garage, close the garage door behind me, and enter the house through a door leading in from the garage. At the time, we had two dogs. They could hear the garage door go up and were always waiting, tails wagging, just inside the door for me. When I came in that day, the dogs weren't right there, although that didn't dawn on me right away. I'd set my things down on the dining room table and turned to walk towards the kitchen, when I caught some movement near the front door out of the corner of my eye.
It's funny how fast things happen. I was immediately struck with terror, and then just a fraction of a second later, I was relieved because I knew who the person was. It was our neighbor's son, about 19 or 20 years old at the time. His parents were out of town too and he was taking care of their house for them. He was nervous; he was maybe even more scared than I was. He stammered and gave me some story, a very shaky story, about leaving his phone in the house when he'd been over earlier in the afternoon visiting with my daughter, who had since left to spend the night at a friend's house. He had come back to look for it. He apologized and made his way out the door.
I just stood there for a minute, my mind racing, trying to sort everything out. How had he gotten in? He had obviously been back near the bedrooms; what had he been doing? Of course the dogs weren't barking - he knew their names, and if he'd really been over earlier in the afternoon, then he was no stranger to them either. Then there was a knock at the door and it was him again. Apparently, he had not had his phone in his hand when he'd left the first time. I couldn't tell you; I had not been paying that much attention. He said he thought he remembered now where it was, he thought he'd left it in the bathroom. He went to the bathroom to retrieve it, and he left again, still very nervous and a little panicked. I locked the door behind him.
And then I started getting mad. At myself.
When I first realized that someone was in the house, but then realized that I knew who it was, it was almost like it was a relief, and I'd let my guard down. I even said, "Oh, it's you." Which translated to, "Oh, it's you. Well, then I guess it's okay. Oh, and you forgot something the first time? Well come on in again." WTF? I know better than that! He still had no business being in my house. I should have said, yelled, "WTF are you doing in my house? You left your phone? Bullshit! Get TF out of my house NOW!" But, like I said, things happened very quickly, and that's not what I did.
I called the police, my hubby talked to his dad when they all got home, and the matter was handled. But I still saw him around, and he made me very uncomfortable. I'm not sure I was afraid of him, but I avoided him.
Sometimes if we were outside chatting with his parents, he'd show up and hang out, with what I swear was a smirk on his face, because he knew that it bugged me. If I was out in my backyard, and saw him out in his parents' yard, I'd immediately go into the house. If I wanted to go out on to the patio, I'd look out the back door first and if he was around, I'd stay inside. I had given him control.
Finally something clicked and I got mad again. Why was I acting like I was afraid of him? He should be embarrassed, and he should be afraid of me! And that was the end of that.
I realized then, too, that I'd done the same thing with a couple people at work. A couple of people made me uncomfortable, and if I saw them coming towards me down a hallway, I'd turn and go another way, or do whatever I needed to do to avoid them.
Not anymore. I look people in the eye and I'm not intimidated. Sometimes I even want to say, "Bring it!" It's really kind of liberating! So there's one more "cose di me."
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