I went to my godmother’s for thanksgiving. It was like the holidays of my childhood, except there were no boiled brussel sprouts and I didn’t have to sit at the kids table (but my cousin did, and I told him that this year if he started the food fight again, there was no blaming it on me). If you asked, I would say that I went home for thanksgiving. It’s the closest thing I can think of to home, at any rate.
I got back to my house about 9:30 on Sunday night.
My house had been robbed. The police asked, insurance asked, kind colleagues and friends asked – what did they get?
I could tell you – they got Gabe’s bracelet, the one I wore to convocation, every single important meeting, to my mum’s funeral. They got the pearls I loved, my wedding band, my engagement ring, 20 years worth of earrings.
Gabe’s bracelet will be replaced. I’ve sent the woman who made it 11 years ago an email, asking if she can remake it. When I get the insurance money, I’ll replace the pearls. The earrings? They’ll take time but I’m sure 20 years from now I’ll have done it.
The more astute have asked if I feel violated. I suppose, a bit. There’s nothing quite like having a conversation with a lovely young constable while you are standing in a bedroom with underwear strewn over and a few unopened condom packages laying festively on top. I’m not so unflappable as I thought.
But the burglary? It was never about me. It was about people looking quick things to trade for drugs. It was about the misery of addiction and hopelessness. They didn’t see the bracelet or my dad’s lighter or my mum’s earrings. They just saw quick cash so they took it.
They didn’t get the memories. They can’t take the memories. My joy when Owen gave me the pearls. The comfort I felt when I touched Gabe’s bracelet as I crossed the stage.
They got stuff. Oh, important stuff, but stuff.
The police came. My friends offered me a place to stay if I felt unsafe. Insurance will cover the loss. A few weeks of sleeping with the hall lights on. I’ll get a security system and a safe to put the replacement pearls in.
Which makes me wonder about my robbers.
I see my Brownies – 7 and 8 years old, happy and giggling. They want to grow up to be unicorns and astronauts and mums. (I’m not kidding about the Unicorn). They don’t want to be addicts. They aren’t hopeless.
So the people who broken into my house – what made them hopeless? How did they come to be addicted?
It seems that long before my robbers stole from me, someone must have stolen from them. Their hope. Their dreams. Their sense of right and wrong.
And I wonder – who did that to my robbers?
Did anyone come when it was stolen? And perhaps more importantly, did those people know what they got?