With the newfound suspicion that our home may have been invaded, I entered the front door after the orthodontist appointment with a new set of eyes. And that's when I started noticing…Our Wii no longer sat alongside the TV. Our video camera was missing from it's place on the kitchen counter. The X Box was indeed gone, the garage opener, which then revealed that, all Yosh's baseball cards were gone (don't laugh…dear to a young boy's heart!), and the shotgun. While my ring never turned up, it's general location was now known…one of the many surrounding pawn shops. The ring that slept in the bathroom 99.8% of the time, had been left out on the kitchen counter, coincidentally, on the only night that our home was at risk. And not even our whole house was at risk- just the outer rooms: the kitchen and the living room. The first bedroom donned a beautiful new iPod, still in the box, clearly visible on the computer desk. Had someone opened the door looking for black market goods, it wouldn't have had a chance of survival. But it was still there. Which meant that door was never opened. This detail of the targeted areas led us to a very disturbing suspicion- that we had been robbed Sunday night…while we were sleeping.
That our house was invaded while we were present. That despite the obvious disrespect for personal property, that there wasn't even respect enough to do the duty while we were away.
Violated. Intimate violation.
That's what getting robbed feels like. Your safe place, your refuge, your home, is no longer any of those things. Peace and security is replaced with naked vulnerability. Lingering is the sense that there is no such thing as a safe place.
Where do you go from there? When you know that you're still going to lay your babies down for bedtime in the same cribs that you always have, when you are going to lay your head down on the same pillow, when you're going to go through the same routines that you always have. But now….now, you have no idea if your space will be taken advantage of. If someone is watching, waiting for you to fall into a deep sleep zone. Has someone been watching you all along? Making sure they had our schedule down to a T before executing their plan? Was this first "job" just a test? Because they were so clean and precise that we nearly didn't notice. Could there be more they still want from us?
Those were the thoughts that circulated in our clouded minds the next few days. As nights were now sleepless and frequently interrupted by paranoia. As we were trying to decide how to protect our selves, and more importantly, our two little boys. We entertained the thought of moving and looked at a few new rentals, but nothing felt right. Our judgement was murky, and decision-making abilities were frayed. So we kept living in 5801 Saloma, on nothing more than a prayer, that we would be okay.
A couple Saturday's later, we headed down to Santa Monica on a perfectly sunny day. The boys had their footballs in hand and quickly turned the open sand into their own private football fields. Yosh and I stood, holding each other watching them in complete bliss. Somewhere in that outing, in those moments of serenity and clarity, we started talking out loud.
to the beach.
We didn't have kids in school, we didn't own a home, we had nothing holding us back…why not try living by the beach? The ultimate Southern California living experience, right? As non-Californians, that's definitely what our dreams were made of before we were residents. And all of a sudden, it felt time to give it a whirl.
That teeny conversation grew into reality. A whirl-wind reality. Two and a half weeks later….we had ditched 5801 Saloma and were living a mere 2 miles from the beach.
I don't know what my belief system is as far as ghosts goes. And bad spirits. And hauntings. I don't know what invaded our house. Or who invaded our house. And truth be told, I don't need to know.
But, in retrospect, I can look back and get the message that was being sent loud and clear. From the very beginning, someone or something was trying to tell us... get the hell out of there.