Yesterday afternoon Samara and I had just come home from the gym and were getting settled when we heard the doorbell ring. Typically I do not answer the door during the day, but I assumed it was my neighbor asking me to move my car so I opened it. In front of me stood a dark-skinned man wearing a blue jumpsuit and holding out his Keyspan badge.
For some reason, my first instinct was that he was lying. He seemed too eager, holding out his badge affecting an attitude of annoyed impatience. "I need to get into your basement," he said. I have never been more grateful for Rocky who stood, barking loudly between us. "Not through my house you aren't," I said, slamming the door. At first I was embarrassed, wondering if he thought I was rude. I mean he had a badge, he must be ok, right? I mulled it over and decided to call Keyspan.
"We have not had anyone scheduled to come to your house since 2005," Keyspan lady said. "Call the police." And so I did.
Five minutes later, three cop cars came to the house, sirens blaring. I gave a description of the guy, but what I really wanted to do was throw myself at the feet of the officers and beg them not to leave. Holding Samara, alone in the afternoon, I wanted to cry. I wanted R to come home. I wanted to leave the house, but was too afraid to go out the door. I spent the next hour or so,pacing, holding the baby and trying not to cry. My cat jumped onto a plastic bag and I screamed. I am thoroughly spooked. Will he be back? What did he want? Is there an innocuous reason someone might try to gain entry to our house?
I am not sure a man could ever understand that feeling of vulnerability. The instinct that makes us grab our keys and hold them between our fingers as we run to the car at night. The one that makes us turn down our headphones if someone is walking behind us or cross the street when someone comes towards us. I hate it. It makes me so angry. But with a baby, it is so much worse. I need to protect myself, but also to protect her. Slamming the door was easy. Next time, I will not even open it.