We were robbed Friday night while at my nephew’s last jazz concert before he graduates from high school. Just another break and enter, so banal and ubiquitous that we waited an hour for the police to make an appearance.
No big deal for a city girl, right?
A quick glass of wine over supper at a neighbourhood favourite and the soft bridge between weekday work and weekend pleasure was clear. Grano has been around for three decades in midtown Toronto and we’ve been sharing the big and ordinary moments along the way. As the song goes, they’re always glad you came, never a sure thing in Toronto, the World Class City. Post dinner, we scrambled to the school in our standard tempo, minutes to show time, sat back, ready for the real sure thing.
School concerts are all the same: shiny faces, certain applause. Spring time and you can bet there are nights of these immediate communities everywhere that parents and kids convene. Minutes in, we’re transported to a jazz joint downtown, where no one knows your name and the only currency is your sound, man. We whistled and cheered-this was superlative stuff!- laughed at the patter and vibe but didn’t miss the deep affection, so obvious between notes, for one another, for their quiet and humble teacher. My nephew, tall, accomplished, and soaring on My Funny Valentine, grinned at us, the handsome boy grown up, trumpet in tow.
It was Friday in the city and there was nowhere else I’d rather be.
And so it was a soft landing to arrive home, post warm tummies, warm fuzzies, jazz still groovin’ our walk as we turned the key.
They didn’t take everything.
We noticed first the mess, the open cupboards, Lucy’s dog toy basket missing, her leash and balls, dumped with the shoes and boots, strewn at the side door. The basket, said Tardy Police Officer, was used to collect our treasure.
Gone was silverware, bottles of rum (the good stuff, says hubby), fancy pens from within legal briefcases, my iPad with stored secrets, all my jewelry, my daughters earrings and camera, and …we are still compiling. My office, never tidy, was now a paper war zone, file drawers open and rifled through, blinds torn, ghost footprints on the threshold. Bedroom books scattered, boxes emptied, my 18 year old’s knapsack, dumped to carry stolen goods.
Lucy too was missing as we absorbed our invaded space. We called out and got nothing in response, terror suddenly screaming out. Tore about the house ( Stupid Act #?-who knows if intruder was still there?) and heard a whimper from…where? Noticed, later, was it hours or just minutes, one of our back patio doors ajar, a familiar fluffy form bounding up from back of the garden. Lucy lost then found with sobs, we called 911 and…I can’t remember much. I think Peter had a hockey stick out, I know my sister, husband and nephew, sister-in-law-they all showed up, much earlier than the two plain clothed officers with a police radio squawking they’re probably still in the neigbourhood as they quickly made the rounds, nodding as I shakily pointed out the damage.
Emergency insurance staff took photos of the door, jammed it back in place so we could sleep.
Ha! Sleep?!! Was there ever such a thing? First light Saturday morning and I’m conjuring creeps in my corners. They were after car keys, say the cops. Will they come back again?
They forgot to take these.
I have spent the last 24 hours thinking of all the ways to make this house impenetrable. I am in sync with Mother Robin who is guarding her eggs under our awning.
We wish Lucy could talk, and wonder, says one daughter, does she needs therapy? How long did she bark after they stashed her at the back of the garden? Neighbours weren’t alert. A barking dog is hardly an alarm.
In the worst of times, I remember the best of times-my first business trip, to Chicago, where I jumped up and down on the huge bed in the Ritz Carlton and phoned my husband back in Toronto, you should see the room! I was there to interview a new child star, Macaulay Culkin, for his sequel to the box office hit, Home Alone, the story of the kid who fools the burglars with inventive traps. Funny what you remember when you can’t find your happy place. I will take inspiration from Culkin’s character Kevin and his traps and come up with some of my own.
That, or leave little yellow post it notes in secret places for the next intruders to find.
The message inside? Try Again, Asshole.
More on home:
It’s more fun to think of the possible, and no, this was not the ‘Wild Adventure’ I was hoping for when that post was written!