The front door wasn't pulled closed as tightly as usual which is what created my daughter's feeling of apprehension when she arrived home that afternoon. Noting also neither of our family's cars parked in the driveway, she went to the neighbors to express her discomfort with the fact our house’s door was ajar. Our neighbor came with her to the house, and cautiously pushed open our front door. They could see nothing out of place in the living room, so stepped into the entryway.
They were greeted by only absolute silence, so concluded that no one in our family was present. Their increasing unease with the situation resulted in their decision to phone the police. In retrospect, we all realized they should never have entered the house at all. They should have instead phoned the authorities in the very beginning lest someone was hidden in the house.
The local police arrived almost immediately. They must have been close by. The officers conducted some preliminary exterior investigation before entering the house. They established there had been intruders, but they were no longer present. Entry by our family members was now safe. About that time my husband arrived home from work and learned of the break-in.
When I came home a short time later, the officers had just left, so family members greeted me with the account our house had been burgled. My first feeling was of heightened alarm at the thought my children might have been home and the danger to which they might have been exposed. That concern was alleviated as I learned the sequence of events from the time of the break-in discovery until I returned home.
The officers' concluded that burglars had entered through a small window in another room, after breaking a glass panel, rifled through our belongings, then exited by the front door. I was told the manner of the robbery was unsophisticated and unprofessional. Coupled with that information was the fact the point of entry was such a small area, detectives had deduced there was a high probability that the culprits were young kids.
But now, my sense of anxiety mounted as I looked around the house. I quickly headed toward my bedroom, since my family members initial investigations indicated most of the ransacking appeared to have occurred there. Walking down the hallway, I felt the muscles in my neck and shoulders tense, my stomach tighten to ward off unpleasant feelings that could precipitate tears should I find unwelcome sights or missing emotionally valued possessions. Thoughts of items that might have been taken centered mostly on those of sentimental value such as my recently deceased mother's wedding rings.
My husband had discovered earlier the items he was missing were from the top of his chest of drawers. Most significantly absent, was the wedding ring he had no longer been able to wear due to swelling in his hands and fingers as a consequence of medical problems. I experienced a sickening feeling with the information his ring was gone. Pictures flashed through my mind like one of his colored slide shows of 35 mm photos. I could see our visits to the jewelry store, making our final ring selection, arranging to our tastes the slight change in ring stone design, then visualizing the engraving we had done on the inside of each ring that made them ever so personal. The re-lived show climaxed with the moments when we presented our rings to each other.
I noted soon after entering our bedroom that a few pieces of my jewelry were missing. Curiously, in the earring category only one of each of several matching pairs was taken with the mate left behind, lending credence to the likelihood of the youthful nature of our criminals. I also discovered my underwear drawer had been rifled. The drawer contents certainly called for laundering now, though there was no outward sign of soiling.
Stashed at the front of the drawer, but now missing, had been a couple of souvenir
miniature bottles of vodka from some much earlier event. We were rather glad they had located those bottles as we think that finding deterred them from further felonious activity. With this bottled spirits discovery, I think the crooks headed straight for the kitchen.
The partially filled orange juice carton had been removed from the refrigerator, the vodka possibly added, then clearly shaken with the lid opened. The orange liquid contents had splashed on the soft yellow ceiling, slopped on the geometrically patterned floor, smeared on papers lying on the oval-shaped maple table and sprinkled in small now-sticky puddles across the table top with a few drippy splatters on the wall. Quite possibly the mess-makers left the house soon after, perhaps having concluded they didn't dare stay any longer. All I could think was, how much worse the aftermath might have been from these marauders.
Nothing appeared missing in my daughter's room, but they had invaded my son's bedroom. A damaged metal cash box indicated they had expended some time prying this locked box open. How excited they must have been imagining paper money or some other valuables from the slight rattle that came only from the empty drawer inside, but they didn't know that, so disappointingly they found nothing for all their effort.
Later searches throughout the house revealed additional items of consequence were missing, along with some items that had little significance except to me. They took my Sony Walkman that was one of only two prizes I had ever won in a drawing in my entire life. (The first was a boy's bicycle won many years ago when I was single, but I had sold that for the obvious reason -- I wasn't a boy.)
These thieves did take my first ever just started personal journal from a bedside night table drawer. This book, a gift from a friend, would have had no value whatsoever to them. I've often wondered did they just glance and see writing on the first page, then conclude there might be more of interest to read? Or, did they just want a souvenir?
The reality was, the only entry I had made was on the first page. That entry had been ever so carefully worded with abstract questions, a generalized quote, non-specific wordings with intentional vagueness as to obfuscate any literal meaning to anyone except me. The fact these hooligans took my journal served only to reinforce my long held apprehension about the wisdom of ever writing my inner most thoughts in a journal in the first place.
I had always felt strongly I didn't want other eyes to read my thoughts, believing that some meditations are better left inside the mind, which I do occasionally forget, only to sometimes regret later having done so. These common crooks had graphically demonstrated to me that a written journal would always be at risk for such a personal violation. Could I reconcile myself to taking this risk again by starting a new journal, or would I even want to bother?
Most people with whom I've spoken, or read others written accounts about their home having been broken into, share a common view. Even those of us subjected to the experience more than once are left with intense feelings of anger, vulnerability, as though our whole being had been violated in some obscene way. I can only wish the same experience on those who commit these acts, but then that would likely just reinforce in their minds justification for inflicting a retaliatory response toward other unsuspecting souls which may be what prompted their act in the first place.
Clearly there is a lack of moral compass, an inability to discern right from wrong, a failure to respect others, poor judgment discerning acceptable behavior in a society, absent feelings of empathy with known or unknown people being robbed. Such actions are simply not bored kids wanting to have fun. There is never anything funny at any age about inflicting pain on another human being whether by actions or words. There is damage to the belief in the good will of one person toward another clearly violating trust.