Fear…. Do you know your body’s response? I know mine. my hands get hot, my heart beats fast, it gets hard to breath. I can’t decide what to do.
Let me start at the beginning.
Last night while getting ready for bed, I made the decision to wear what can only be described as “cute overload” jammies. White tank top sporting the image of a perky little chick and matching pink boy shorts adorned with more little chicks. Yes, it is lame. No it is not my normal bedtime attire (I am more of a tank top and undies, big tee shirt or even silky and naughty sort of girl) And really, not just in bedtime clothes, but it is safe to say that I avoid “the cute” in all areas of my life just on general principles.
Except last night when for some reason I decided to pull out this little number that has hardly seen the light of a nightlight in years. Why? Well, partly because I am going through some mental stuff of “Why do I own so much crap? If I am not using it, I should get rid of it.” And also because I wanted the very real reminder that my body isn’t quite as cute and compact as it was when this little bed time ensemble was purchased… sort of a kick in the rear so that I would get up this morning , be reminded of my weight loss goals, and then do something proactive, like yoga, or crunches.
This morning I didn’t get up and work out… at least not right away. Instead I cuddled with the cat and finished reading Q&A (a book on loan from a friend, to whom I want to be able to return it quickly).
Having finished the book I got up, stretched, and was just about to enter the bathroom for some much needed relief, when the door bell rang.
Ok.. so. First off, I am not expecting anyone. Secondly, I am wearing the little chick outfit.
Thirdly, I really need to pee.
I consider. I could go look out the peep hole, but that would mean having to walk past a window… a window next to the door alerting whoever is out there that a)I am home –something I am not sure I want to admit to yet- and b)I am the kind of woman who is wearing chick PJ’s at 1030 in the morning.
I continue to consider. Had I been happily emptying my bladder, I might not have heard the door bel. (Unlikely, but this is what my mind thought at the time). Also, just because someone rings your doorbell, you do have the right not to answer the door. Right?
I mean.. I could have my head phones in. I could be in the backyard watering the plants. I could be sick. I could be too busy writing a great fantasy novel. I don’t have to answer the door just because someone is out there…. Right? Guard cat yawns at me.
I decide to brush my teeh.
The door bell rings again, twice in quick succession.
Okay, so this level of persistence must mean it is important. I tell myself, I should just pull on jeans, throw on a sweatshirt and go answer the door.
The boy shorts are too thick for the skinny jeans within easy reach. This plan would involve me having to take them off first, then putting on jeans (over a bare butt) and then going to answer the door.
The idea of being undie-less while answering the door doesn’t sit well with me.
Another ring of the door bell… and then loud knocking.
Now I am afraid.
My hands are hot, they tremble… I am frozen. I can’t decide if I should dig in my drawer for some clothes, grab the nearby robe, hide in the bathroom….
Because…. Because… because years ago I answered the door to a stranger on a normal Monday afternoon and the guy bullied his way in and beat me with a beer bottle.
Yes. Things are different now. Yes, there are no beer bottles in sight. Yes, I have taken self defense. Yes, this is a gated community and this could just be a neighbor.
Are things ever different? My mind flashes to the series of unknown phone numbers that have recently appeared on my phone, numbers that don’t leave voice mails.
There might not be handy beer bottles, but men use all sorts of things to cause pain. I know.
I also know the best kind of self defense is avoiding unsafe situations.
And I know that the gate for this gated community isn’t always locked.
And I don’t actually know my neighbors.
The door bell rings again.
I decide that this person wants my attention just a little too much. Shaking I grab my phone, the surprised cat, and into the bathroom we go.
I shut the door and sit on the floor. I wait.
Twenty minutes later I finally decide it is safe. I empty my bladder, set the cat free, got dressed, and go peek out the peep hole. Nothing. I crack the door open. Nothing.
As I start to shut the door I notice it…. Yellow and white, self adhesive… the UPS notice next to the door handle.
A rush of adrenaline flees my body. I feel the need to sit down, so relieved. I bring it inside and set it on the table.
It says they will be back tomorrow.
I’ll be ready.