I got a call one afternoon while I was at work. I remember the slight voice of a kind stranger on the other end of the line telling me, “Someone has broken into your apartment Ms. Stone, please return home as soon as you can.”
I gathered up my things and immediately left. On the way home, I tried to imagine some items that could’ve possibly been taken. I really don’t own much of value, but I was certain they had taken my ipod, most probably my guitar and if they really scoured the messiness of my bedroom, my lola’s diamond earrings that had recently been passed down to me.
I parked along the curbside next to my apartment building, which I was surprised to find bustling with police officials and yellow tape. The incident looked to be more serious than I had previously thought and I rushed up the steps of the sidewalk and into the building entrance.
Before I could get to my door, I was stopped by someone in uniform who asked who I was. I told him and a concerned look came across his face. He guided me back away from my apartment and towards some stairs where he suggested I sit. He looked me in the eyes and said, “Ms. Stone, we don’t want you to get upset, but someone has broken into everyones’ apartment in the building, and it looks like yours was struck the worst.”
I could feel my head get dizzy and my face grow cold. I felt like I was going to faint. What did he mean by, “Struck the worst?” I could hear my upstairs neighbor and he sounded as if he was crying. I looked towards the door of my apartment and noticed the threshold crowbarred completely off. I had no door!
The officer was obvious to my distress and said, “Calm down Ms. Stone, we know this is very stressful. Take a few deep breaths, we need your help. We understand this will be difficult, but we need you to take a walk through your apartment and identify what was taken. Can you do that Ms. Stone?”
The officer lead me into the first room of my apartment, which was my kitchen. I glanced around. The police crew and detectives, so large and official, looked like storks in a wetland; long legs, looking down, carefully taking high steps over piles of stuff on the floor and stopping to write notes; flashes from a camera went off in the other room. It felt so surreal.
The officer pulled my attention back to him, “Ms. Stone, we suspect whoever broke in was on his way out with your shoes, but must have run out of time or been disrupted…” and he pointed to a section of floor by my door where recently worn pairs laid limp in a pile.
I realize that was what appeared to have happened, but was not. That was my shoe pile that I made. Out of embarrassment, I went along with his suspicions. Yes of course! The crook must wear the same shoe size as myself and carry an affinity for the trends that Target and Payless put out on clearance.
We made our way into the living room, and there, still connected to my computer was my dear ipod. I celebrated inside and looked around. I was at a loss for words.
My apartment looked like a scene out of a movie, where the mafia breaks in to search for a golden arm or something, everything was disshevled but… it was exactly the way I had left it. And thankfully, so was my guitar, propped up in the corner.
There was one more item to account for, and if it was still there, it was in the last room to look over…the bedroom.
I was mortified by the camera, indiscretionally flashing for pictures from every angle of my messy bedroom, sprawled out for everyone to see. I looked to the spot where I left my velvet box, the sacred vessel that held Lola’s earrings. It was gone.
After all was said and done, I let the police believe that the crook made the mess. I figured it didn’t really matter who made it anyway, and it was the least the situation could lend for the inconvenience and trauma it imposed.
The criminal was never caught and my lola’s earrings were never recovered, but I guess I should be happy that:
a.) No one was hurt.
b.) I didn’t really own too much to be stolen. My upstairs neighbor had his new stereo, collection of gold chains and computer ripped off, hence the crying I heard.
c.) Maybe my ClutterHeart served to be a useful thing for once, a defense mechanism. Maybe the crooks came in and thought my apartment had already been hit that morning, so didn’t bother to look around for much. I’m certain they were at least a little stymied by the disorder; messiness is distracting to everyone’s work, even a criminal’s.
d.) I’ve learned not to squirrel anything inside a velvet box. The one and only item I was “responsible” with, kept neatly in a pretty box, was the only thing stolen.