Day 11: Door
I’ve lived alone for a solid chunk of my adult life. Between college roommates and Mr. Phish, there was a gap of about five years during which I was rocking it solo.
Technically, Bella came on the scene a few years into that stretch, but she was mostly just moral support. The muscle didn’t arrive until Mr. Phish moved in.
When I was at Ohio State working on my master’s degree, I lived in a somewhat sketch apartment complex. While I was there, a serial rapist terrorized the complex, attacking women nearly every night for weeks. During this time, I lived in a state of perpetual fear. My anxiety skyrocketed. I couldn’t sleep. I put chairs and other heavy objects in front of my door and kept my windows closed. I called the police investigator once a week to get an update. Some girl–she may or may not have been a member of the Buckeye rugby team–finally chased the attacker down and tackled him.
Even with the attacker behind bars, my sense of peace did not return. I have never again slept so soundly as I did before Ohio State. Even when I’m at my parents’ house, in rural Nebraska, I am alert. Mr. Phish believes my fear of home intrusion to be irrational, and I don’t entirely disagree. I am absolutely afraid of the dark and I’m not too proud to admit it. Didn’t you get the memo? Night lights are cool again.
Since moving to an incredibly safe area, this fear has ebbed a bit, but I still regularly wake up in a panicked sweat certain that I can hear someone breaking in downstairs.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different things to ease this anxiety. I regularly check on crime statistics (zero incidents within one mile of my house in the last 90 days helps). I have purchased one of these for every door in every apartment I’ve lived in since then:
You wedge them under the doorknobs and they are virtually impossible to displace.I’ve tried. I’ve had burly friends try. They work.
Several years ago, my mother suggested that I hang jingle bells on the doorknob. My mom is obviously a genius and very good at reassuring her oldest child. It started with an old Christmas ornament, and, over the years, the collection of jingle bells has grown.
They live on windows and doors and I pray that their soft jingle would be enough to wake me if someone tried to get in. At least that’s what I tell myself.
I hope someday to be able to rest my head and not fear the darkness. Until then, the jingle bells will stand at the ready.