Invaded Spaces

On this 8th day of September in 2012 around 5 o’clock in the late afternoon, I sat on the cold steps of the front entrance to our house, head in my palms. My mother stood opposite me, leaning against the wall, her head down. We were waiting for my dad to get home. Atlas security were perusing the premises. I asked my mother if I could open the beer which sat on the step to my left. An odd request, but she said sure and I shattered the silence with my opening of the Guinness.

You see, our house had been broken into. And 3 hours prior, I had left the house and walked down to the beach to hang out with a friend and have a beer. I needed to break routine. I needed to do something different. I was sitting on a bench near the beach about to open aforementioned beer when my phone rang. It was my mother.

“Are you home?” she asked

“No. Why?”

“Are you near the house? Can you get home? I just got a call from Atlas and they’re saying there’s been a break in. I can’t get hold of your father. Can you go?”

“Yeah, sure.”

I thought nothing of this. You see, the alarm had malfunctioned so many times, I figured this was another case. “Everything’s fine,” I rehearsed in my head. But when I got home, I saw one of the windows pried open and the doorknob looked as though somebody had tried to unscrew it. I knew something was wrong. Honestly, at this point I don’t really remember what happened. But I was calm. I had to be. I was met by one of the security guards. I don’t remember what he said now, but I walked around the house with him, calm as can be, paying attention to everything he said. Because I would have to brief my parents when they arrived and I knew that they would have tons of questions, as I did already. The story goes that the robber pried open the window of the bedroom next to mine, raided it, found nothing then moved next door to my room. The robber took one of my empty bags and used it to pack my two laptops, after going through my wardrobe and all the drawers. Fortunately, I am not as organised as I would like to think and the Jennifer Burton bracelet I got from my sister as a gift survived as it wasn’t in my jewellery box. However, my parents’ jewellery was taken.

So I opened the beer and I took a sip and I felt no different. I had to sit outside. I couldn’t be in my room. I didn’t want to think about all the writing I would never get back, the digital music I spent hours collecting. I didn’t want to start figuring out how I was going to get a new laptop. I didn’t want to mourn for my lost work. I didn’t want to get upset when I knew of people who had been through much worse than a burglary. I didn’t want to feel any emotion over the fact that my space was violated. All those years of being so attached to the concept of having my own space. The happiness that I felt when I first got my own room at age 13. It all just seemed so…trivial and pointless. I blamed myself also. You see, the story goes that the robber or robbers had probably been watching us for some time and were familiar with our routines and patterns. So they probably had been waiting for me to leave the house. Something I rarely did as a homebody. So when I finally did, they struck. If I hadn’t left home, this probably would have never happened.

I drank my beer and stared into space. We waited with dread for my dad to return. I finished my drink and braced myself mentally for the questions. I joked with my mother about how the robber had not stolen any of my jewellery because my stuff is proudly bought from flea markets and street hawkers. So no whatever carat gold or silver shit in my stash. We laughed.

I spent the night at a friend’s house. I couldn’t bear to be in my room, but I had to be at some point. It took a detective 2 days to get to our house and dust for fingerprints and whatnot. By the time he came, I had already moved everything back as it was. As I thought it was. He said I shouldn’t have done that. Because now there was no point in dusting for prints.

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