Underthecurrent


the watchers
March 25, 2011, 7:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

The door handle begins to turn, just after the footsteps approach. Slow, silent, one-in-the-morning turns. I am long asleep in bed, deep under the cool air. LG, awake at the computer, walks to the door and slams his hand on it; the turning stops. In the morning, there are a single set of muddied work boot prints leading to our front door.

A couple of months ago, our car radio was stolen with the aid of a utility knife in our dashboard. There was no point in stealing the radio because it is a factory issue that requires a passcode to use in another car, and the cd player in it didn’t work well, so there was a bit of satisfaction in that and now we drive in silence and debate replacing or not replacing. That night the light was off, the one that lights the parking spot, and the trunk had been left open when surfboards were taken out.

A few weeks before the radio wandered off, we were sleeping with the back door open and gate closed. Normally the door would be closed too. The neighbours were here, having a party. At about eleven there was yelling, of the multilingual variety. I woke up and did the rational thing of slapping LG’s shoulder and saying “something is happening!” so he could grab the cricket bat we sleep with beside the bed and get up to patrol. We called the security company, not the police, never really the police. The neighbours yelled everything was okay, they had just spotted someone trying to creep in the back door when they were in the front after a few drinks. The security company confirmed this is a common event, late night weekend robberies while people are in and maybe cooking outside, taking advantage of the haze of alcohol or fatigue. Skimming for wallets, cell phones, laptops, digital cameras. The portable and expensive. During the yelling I had worried a bit that they had caught the kid. In this country, people don’t necessarily call the police when they catch someone. Some forms of justice are vigilante, which is what the yelling voice across our backyard had promised into the night.

So, there is methodical control. Valuables are always put away. The alarm gets set at night before sleep. Wealth is not advertised. And I do not sleep alone at night in our house.

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