Visitor at Dawn

Before the sun rose this morning, I was sitting in my room truly afraid for the first time about living alone in my house. Sure, I’ve had moments when I hear a certain noise and tense up for a minute wondering what it might be, but it passes pretty quickly and I realize it was a branch against the window or the AC. For the most part, I’ve been pretty calm living alone in a house, not apartment or condo. I have an alarm and that’s been good enough security for me.

My neighborhood is pretty quiet and calm. You never want to be too naive, but I really think that the cops biggest problem is probably some teenagers on their skate boards making too much noise or sneaking to have a drink or smoke in one of the remaining empty lots.

A little before 5 this morning, my doorbell rang. At first I thought I had dreamt it, but then it rang again. I hesitated. Then I thought it could be my brother or sister in law, who live around the block, and something might have happened. Maybe they left the house in a hurry and forgot their phone. I glanced at my cell phone on the night stand to see if perhaps I had slept through a text…nothing. The door bell rang again.

As I walked out of my room, a more rapid knocking began on the front door. I cursed myself for still not having changed the front door, since my current one has no peep hole. There’s a big window next to the front door, but the thought of peering through it and having some crazy or violent person staring back at me freaked me out too much.

“Who is it?” I asked with my heart in my throat.

“It’s me,” said a female voice. It sounded like an older woman.

“Who’s me?”

“Gina” she replied in a way that made me think this could be a mistake and not some murderer.

“You have the wrong house.” I took a deep breath in hoping that she wouldn’t argue back.


“You have the wrong house,” I yelled this time. “I don’t know you!”

“Oh” was all she said.

I continued to stand by the door quietly trying to calm myself down and listening to see if I heard her leaving or not. After a little while I went back to my room, but of course my heart kept pounding rapidly and my mind kept racing. I kept going through all these scenarios and wondering whether she really left or whether she’d be back.

All the Orange is the New Black I watched this week was filling my head with some ludicrous ideas. Just because she sounded like an older woman, didn’t mean that she couldn’t do me harm. Or what if it was some poor woman with dementia who somehow got out of her house and came by thinking that her friend lived here. Maybe her friend had lived here years ago. Should I call the police? The thoughts shot like rapid fire in my head.

In college I took a class at UMASS called “Media and Culture” or something like that. It was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and a lot of stuff I learned that semester has stuck with me. One of the things the professor told us is that the people who tend to most afraid of life are those who consume the most pop culture. When you watch thrillers, mysteries and even investigative news reports like 20/20, you can think about certain scenarios that you never would have imagined otherwise.

I am a pretty avid movie and TV watcher, but horror and mysteries, even action, aren’t genres that I pay that much attention to, so it’s never been much of an issue for me. But maybe my recent Netflix watching was getting into my head.

I ended up falling back asleep after the sun rose. It somehow felt safer at that point. As I left for yoga I was still a little creeped out, checking through the window to see if anyone was sitting outside my front door. I walked quickly to my car scanning the perimeter to see if I saw anyone random milling around. I know it was an isolated incident and that I’m safe, but it did plant a little seed of fear in my head about being alone. If anything it pushed me to finally get a peephole in my door or have the alarm company install one of those cameras by the front door.

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