On Friday afternoon, while I met with parents of my students to talk about their children’s progress in my English classes, a man broke into my home through a front window. He stepped over the rail that frames my front steps, or he climbed up the stairs on the outside of the rails, like my sons do when they’re talking to themselves about something, and he raised the screen. He broke a piece of plastic that held the window in place, and he crawled through my blinds on his stomach, breaking one of our cheap lamps.
A passer-by spotted the man entering through the window, but only saw his feet, as if the apartment were eating him whole. He called the police. Outside the apartment there must have been a lookout of some kind, and he must have told him about the 911 call, because he walked through our living room, creaked the floors in the hallway near the staircase that goes down to our bedrooms, through the kitchen and past the dining table we never use, unlocked the deadbolt and the chain on the back door, and left without taking anything.
My two younger sons slept with Jen and me for the next three nights. Last night was the first night they slept in their own beds until morning. Jen woke up yesterday morning after I got out of the shower, looked over at David and Ben sprawled horizontally and said, “We need a bigger bed.”
I love getting up early in the morning to write, to read, to do nothing but listen to the El in the distance. But I’ve been getting up earlier the past few mornings. I woke at three on Monday morning, and I was up at two this morning.
We haven’t fixed the blinds that split where he must have crawled in, and we haven’t removed the lamp, because part of my morning routine seems to be sitting on my couch across the living room and watching the outside of my house through the space he left in the blinds, the snowy fingerprint dust on the window. I’m waiting for him to come back.
The entryway to our home is adjacent to the broken blinds and the sad lamp, and the door doesn’t open all the way because we bought this giant plastic thing with baskets and compartments that hold our sons’ athletic equipment.
Hanging on the side closest to the window is Jack’s DeMarini TR3 Flo Composite CF Series Five baseball bat. It weighs 20 ounces and is 31 inches long. There are scuff marks on the barrel where my son has stepped into baseballs gorgeously and delivered them into outfields.
If I lined myself up right and stepped into the swing, my front foot moving just past the crown of his head as he pushed his way into my home, I might be able to feel his skull give under my hands. It would be much more effective than standing back and getting him with the end of the barrel or than tomahawking him from above.
I don’t play baseball anymore, but I think I’ve been waiting to take this swing my entire life. I want him to come back.