I have heard so many phrases said repeatedly like Rest in Peace and I figured it must really feel terrible. Little did I know that the words, “Atleast, you were not hurt”, could affect me so vehemently.
On the 25th Day of August 2021, I woke up to a slightly ajar back door, and most living room electronics gone and a couple other things. The house didn’t seem to have been broken into. It’s almost like we’d left the house open which couldn’t be possible because my sister Tracy and I had double checked the night before. On closer inspection we noticed that the muddy footsteps came and went out through the front door which was securely locked and the other had probably been opened as a ruse.
A whole day spent in and out of Police, a couple tears shed, a couple decisions made; tough decisions despite all the unresolved clues, I resolved that I wouldn’t shift despite this being everyone’s first choice of redemption. So this experience still gives me chills and so I cannot go so deep into the details. My pain comes from the little 5 words that I repeatedly heard and received in text from friends. “At least you were not hurt.”
With all due respect to those who’ve witnessed your attackers, I really wouldn’t wish this incident on anyone. This particular statement however almost normalized our robbery. It felt like it was okay for robbers to come into my home as long as they didnt harm us. It felt like having not seen them erased the fact that they had been in with me illegally at a certain time t.
It didn’t take away the fact that some of our months saving had just gone with the wind. It didn’t take away the fact that all our saved work couldn’t be recovered. It hasn’t taken away the fear that they could come and start from where they stopped. It hasn’t taken away the fear of my own shadow. Sometimes I walk through the house and shriek when I feel movement only to turn and its my shadow. If I had insomnia before, its gotten worse.
Dogs barking in the night keep me awake wondering whether they are barking at intruders.My bedroom light stays on in the night because the dark isnt a very lucrative place. The creepy feeling that the thief knew me so well is like second nature now. He changed netflix profiles, has loaded data on the mifi like its a walk in the park. I’ve been thankful that I didn’t meet them but that constant reminder above doesnt take away the fear and the sweat that fills my sheets these days. It hasn’t taken away the sudden jumping out of bed at numerous sounds. All I needed was a hug and the words, “It’s okay” and I’d have been fine.
That said, I’m grateful for life and for friends and family especially those who kept vigil with me for a couple of days knowing I wouldn’t sleep, those that gave me a bed to sleep when the thought of my house felt like the Snake Island of Brazil. I pray that the security in our country increases to a point where we can walk out, leave our doors open and be certain that when we return, everything will be intact.