Saturday, July 28, 2018

Intruder in the House

And Full of Sleep (M.A. Reilly, mixed media)

At 6:10 a.m. on Saturday I awoke, sat up and looked in the mirror opposite my bed. Standing there nearly 6 feet tall was a white man. I turned towards the door and a man,  perhaps in his early 20s, was looking at me. He was not walking into my bedroom when I woke. He was already standing there, no more than four feet from the edge of my bed. This is not fiction, although at that moment it felt like a dream.

I want to say that I reacted, but at first I didn’t do anything but stare. It was as if the sleep still surrounded me. As I became more alert, I started asking him what he was doing in my house. Year of teaching high school seemed to kick in and if this situation wasn’t so extreme, so terrifying, the sound of my measured voice might have seemed reasonable. I asked, “What are you doing here?” I don’t recall what he said as I was scrambling to stand up, keeping the bed between us. I raised my voice, now yelling,  “Get out of my house. What are you doing here? Get the hell out.”

I remember bits of what he said: I was sleeping in the white car outside.
My car? What were you doing in my car?
I came in.
Get out.
My friends. I thought this was my frend’s house.
“Get out of my house now,” I say and I can hear that I am screaming.

He turns and leaves the room. I hear him walking back down the stairs. I follow as I want to make sure he’s out. When I get down the stairs I can see he didn’t go out the front door and it remains locked. I wondered, how did he get in my house? The stairs that lead to the bottom level and the garage are lit. I see he’s at the bottom of the stair in front of the door to the garage.

“This is how I came in,”  he says. “The garage was open.”
From the top of the stairs, I watch as he walks into the garage and I follow a moment later. One of the garage doors is wide open and the lights are on.

He’s walking up my driveway as I close the garage door and lock the basement door. I run back upstairs in time to watch him walk pass my car that is never parked outside my home on the street. All week I have parked there as the driveway is being resurfaced.

It isn’t until then that I think of calling the police. I remember the guy mentioned friends. This is when I first sense real terror. ‘Oh my God. I may not be alone,’ I think. I quickly call 911 and end up repeating information to a second dispatcher as my call gets rerouted to the local police. Meanwhile, the guy who broke in is walking away.


I just can't stay inside, so I grab a raincoat and step outside, relieved when a police car pulls up. As I am describing the guy, a second police car arrives. One of the officers tells me to remain outside and asks if there is anyone else in the house or any dogs.

“No one. No dogs.”

They go inside, closing the door behind them. I stand outside shoeless in summer pajamas and a raincoat. My sense of time is spotty. The officers could have been in my home for 5 minutes or 20. When they open the door I go back inside.

They want me to look around and see if anything is disturbed or missing. We walk through rooms. Everything is familiar. Right where I left it,
Nothing looks missing. I had described my pocketbook to one of the police officers as they were going in to my nopphouse and he hands it to me. Check to see if anything has been. Taken.
I look and again, nothing was taken.

I look and see that nothing has been disturbed. "Why did he come up three flights of stairs? What did he want?" I ask.

"What do you remember?" the older officer asks. I have already told the younger officer some of these details.

"He was a white man, about 5’11”. I'm guessing he was in his late teens or early twenties.  He had straight dirty blonde or it might have been light brown bang that swept across his face."
"Which way was it parted?" the officer asks.
"On the left side. His face was long, thin, angular. His eyes were even. My bedroom was dark. I was asleep. So I’m guessing he was wearing muted colors cause nothing bright stood out. It;s not like he was wearing an orange shirt."

"Was he wearing jeans?"

"I don’t know if he had jeans on. I don't remember seeing legs. So I guess he had some kind of dark pants on.  I think he must have had a hat on or a hood pulled up as I don’t recall seeing his hair, other than the sweep of bangs across his face.

"Like Justin Bieber?"

"Yeah. I didn't get a sense that he had long hair. Just the bang part. He was thin. He was a thin and  in his early 20s."

"How far was he from your bed? Would you say he was six or seven feet? By the doorway?
"No, he was in my bedroom. At most, he was four feet from my bed. He was all the way in the room."

"Did he seem drunk?"

"No, not really. He wasn't slurring or having trouble standing up. But he did seem dull, not really with it. Like maybe he was drugged or had significant diminished capacity. He didn't say a lot or at least what I can remember."


Let's take a look at your car. Did you eave it like this? the cop asks. I look inside my car and see that there is an old iPod on the driver's seat, and papers on the floor.  The seat is reclined.

"No. I never drive around with the passenger seat laid all the way back. He said he was sleeping in the car. I guess he was."

"It looks like he was rummaging through the glove box."

"I keep my insurance card in an envelope in the glove box. It's never just lying in the floor. My car smells sour. Can you smell that? It smells like old beer."

"Do you keep your garage opener here?" the officer asked pointing to the clip on the window visor.

"Yes, I always do. My car is normally locked in my garage. I didn't think someone could use it to get in my house."

"I guess that's how he got in. Did you leave the car open?"

"I might have. I came home after 9 last night and it was pouring rain.  I had my hands full and came directly into the house. I remember getting my key out while I was sitting in the car, so it is unlikely that I would have had my car key out or that I had a free hand to touch the door handle and lock the car."

"Okay. We'll be in touch when we learn more."


A few hours later another officer came by and asked a lot of the same questions.  So far, I know nothing more than what I did hours earlier. Some guy broke into my house, climbed three flights of stairs and was standing a few feet from my bed when I woke up.  I wonder how many nights it will be before I turn out the lights.

Last night I locked up the house, climbed the stairs, and went to sleep. This story has a place in my history, but it will never define my history.

I slept fine.

Over attention to safety is too problematic.


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