There’s Someone in the House
So here’s a rather funny story. Maybe not funny at all. At the time, even though I was afraid… I was laughing at myself! This imagination of mine is WILD! Add to that the fact that I am South African – fierce combination!
Last week, after a busy morning out shopping with Eli, we retuned to our home in the middle of the afternoon. It has been hot lately, and we often leave our windows open. We don’t, however, leave the top floor windows open when we go out. Our apartment is a double story one, and our top floor windows are on the ceiling. Basically it wouldn’t take much for the neighbor to climb out of his window, and into our. This kind of freaks me out. I know that I’m not in South Africa, and the chance of this happening in China is substantially less… But still, the Saffer in me remains apprehensive about open windows, especially on our upper level.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in stifling fear every day, but I do like to exercise a level of caution when it comest to safety.
If you think I’m being over the top, here’s just one story that might explain why I think this way…
When I was young, with two younger brothers, my father went away for work. We were alone at home with my mother. She had us all sleeping in her room (for safety, and closeness while my dad was away, I presume). One night, my mother opened the bedroom door, and from where I was lying – on a mattress on the floor – I saw a man standing our passage. He looked straight at me. Even now, decades later, I can still see his eyes. Fear shot through me. I was absolutely paralyzed with fear, but I managed to let out the words, ‘Mom, there’s a man in the house”.
You have to understand that in South Africa, people don’t just break into houses. They often kill those in the house. They would kill you for a TV and some jewelry! I absolutely LOVE my country, and my heart aches at these stories, but they are part of the reality of growing up there. Obviously, we all made it out of that particular situation unharmed, but there was a gunshot, there was panic, and I will never forget those moments, that man’s eyes, and the fact those men were watching our house, monitoring our movement, and waiting for my father to leave and be away on work.
Anyway, back to the story at hand…
Eli had fallen asleep in the Ergo, and I had a few shopping bags in my hands. I came into the front door (located on our lower level) and took two steps into the house. I hadn’t even put the bags down, and I suddenly heard a cupboard door slide open. Now, let’s be real, we all know the everyday sounds in our homes. Right? You don’t think about them, but you hear them repeatedly… Those sounds are unmistakable!
All of a sudden a million thoughts raced through my mind.
Is someone in the house? Did I leave an upstairs window open?
And at the same time, I knew I was being silly! But was I? Was it worth just ignoring this fear? The air-conditioning and all the fans were off. The house was quieter than it usually is during summer. I MUST HAVE heard a neighbor. Maybe someone who isn’t normal not at home, is home today. That must be why the sound was so loud.
I prayed. PRAYED HARD! But sweet sleeping boy was asleep in the Ergo – IF someone was in the house, I was basically defenseless. Running away would probably lead to us falling down one of the six flights of stairs! If I stayed… I wouldn’t be able to fight with 30lbs strapped to the front of me. haha… yes, these were real thoughts!
I stood absolutely motion-less for what felt like two minutes.
Even though I tried to convince myself to take a quick walk around the house, to check that no one was there, I just couldn’t. I was so scared that even walking away seemed to make me fearful.
I slowly lowered my shopping bags to the ground, and took two steps backwards, and out of the door. I quietly locked the door behind me. You know, just incase there was someone in there?! hahaha. There is a small window in our shoe closet next to the front door. My overly active imagination envisioned someone poking there head up, and staring at me through the window… I swear, THIS is why I don’t watch horror movies.
I didn’t even put Eli’s shoes back on. Quickly, very quickly, I slid my feet back into my flip flops AND RAN!
I then stood outside my building, staring up at the dining room window while I messaged my family and my best friends. Even as I told the story, I felt more and more silly… But I just couldn’t convince myself to go back up there. I had one hour to unpack, unwind, and start dinner. Pretty soon I would have kids arriving for a lesson, and I really wanted to get into the house to be ready for that.
But nope, the fear flowing through me said NO!
I ended up sitting on the wall you see in the above picture, watching my dining room window. Yup… You guessed it, waiting for a person to appear. Seriously people, horror movies! I couldn’t make this stuff up myself.
An hour later, I saw my students’ mothers. They told me that the kids had already ran upstairs because one of them was bursting and needed the toilet. Oh my gosh – well, I wasn’t about to try explain my ridiculous story to them! When I found the boys waiting for me on the staircase outside my door, they shouted for me to hurry and open the door. The one was red in the face, and clearly about to wet his pants. Ummmmm…. Feeling half relieved, and half like an absolutely terrible person, I opened the front door and let the kids run in. Of course, my SANE MIND knew no one was in there, but seriously, how awful am I?
“In you go kids… Let em know if anyone is in there! 😂”
Oh my gosh!
It made me feel a little better that no one told me I silly. Even my step-mother, who I’m pretty sure would climb into the drain with I.T, told me it was good that I exercised caution. That woman isn’t afraid of anything, so hearing her say my actions weren’t pathetic, really eased me anxiety!
Scary? Silly? Either way, a little too much for me!!