(Memory from 2015)

Last Sunday night I went to bed late, around 1:30. I had to get up at 6 am to get Isaac ready for school and I cursed my stupid restless brain for setting me up to get 4.5 hours of sleep. So then I’m sleeping and something is worrying at me from far off. I’m down in a dream and it’s as if I hear someone calling me. Still really unconscious I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong. I hear my front gates moving, creaking, rattling.

My front yard is enclosed by a tall fence and a set of swinging gates that I routinely lock. It’s like the front room of my house, which happens to be outdoors. I’m used to hearing the gates moving in high wind but it’s obvious to me that the night is absolutely still except for my gates. It slowly comes to me that someone is struggling with the locks, working to get them open. It’s just two hook and eye latches and a slide bolt. Unfortunately, they are set up more to send the message that I don’t want drop-ins than to defeat a concerted attempt to get in. There’s also a bungee stretched across, mainly to keep the gates from moving much in a high wind.

Someone is pushing, pulling, reaching over and under to undo them and I hear them succeeding. Adrenaline. Eyes open. The clock says it’s 4:30 am. My brain is ransacking itself for some story where this is nothing bad. Run to the dark living room and look outside. It’s just what it sounds like: Arms, legs, and torso, pushing, squeezing through the gates, held back only by the bungee now. My brain keeps trying to see in his outline someone I know, someone who is there because they need my help. Nope.

I’m naked. I can’t confront someone like this, so I run to the bedroom to find clothes, and somehow can’t find fucking anything right. Where’s my robe? There! I pull it around me while running back to the living room.

He is through the gates now and he is carefully latching them all back up from the inside. He’s middle height, dressed in black, black hair. Middle eastern? Indian? Latino? He can’t see in because it’s bright out front and dark in here.

Isaac is asleep in his room perhaps 25 feet from where I’m standing, the door slightly ajar. I have a samurai sword on a shelf nearby and I reach for it, feeling very self-conscious like this is a cringey, ridiculous thing to do. I feel like I’m filled with freezing electricity. He’s peering around at the front of the house, I’m coming closer, watching him through the window. He throws something like a cloth or a towel down in front of the front door. He reaches out and puts his hand on the doorknob.
I rap loudly on the window. He startles wide-eyed and focuses on me in the shadows.

GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY YARD!!! I shout. Suddenly thinking of Isaac, please don’t wake up.
His face leans in toward me looking upset and beseeching.

“I just need to come in for a while.” He says, his hand on the doorknob again.

GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY YARD!!! I shout again, brandishing the sword. This is bad but it feels better than the moments of hiding and watching. He looks SO sad. He returns to the gate and begins undoing the locks and squishing himself out under the bungee, still in place.

A moment later, I’m outside redoing the locks and adding things to prevent reentry. As I come back in I realize the thing he threw down in front of my door is my own welcome mat, which had been hanging up to dry after cleaning. I can’t believe it, but Isaac is still asleep. I call 911 and tell them, then somehow eventually get back to sleep. I wake at six, wake up Isaac, and make him breakfast. I don’t say a word about what happened.