Monday, 23 May 2011
Every night for the past month, I've checked my balcony for little pebbles outside the window. My son picks them up and throws them back onto the ground each day. They tend to appear on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, either in the late afternoon or early evening.
Today was the first Monday the rocks struck my window, and the second time I've been home for it. Thankfully the blinds were pulled shut, and the sliding door secured. The first time I heard a pebble pelt the glass, I muted the volume on the TV and backed away from the window, heart pounding. Tap, tap, tap.
Sensing my panic, my toddler asked "Wuss wrong wid you?"
"Shhh," I hushed him. I could hear the man outside speaking Spanish on his cell phone. Please go away, I prayed. But the tapping against the window continued. The rocks were striking the glass with increasing force, as the man's frustration at a lack of response mounted. I knew it was a matter of minutes before he found a way to enter the building.
I darted across the studio to make sure the door was bolted shut. Then I pulled Cruz into the bathroom, lay him down on a towel, and started rubbing his tummy to calm him down. Ten minutes later, I heard the door on the first level open and slam shut, followed by footsteps coming down the hallway. Sweat plastered my palm to Cruz's stomach when the steps stopped outside my door.
The doorbell rang. Once, twice, three times. Each chime bludgeoned my heart like a mallet.
"Be quiet," I whispered in my son's ear.
"Okay," he whispered back, smiling. I had a sudden impulse to crawl into the bathtub and pull the shower curtain closed, as if the striped plastic would better conceal us from the intruder. I was terrified that Cruz would give us away by making the slightest noise. Brushing against the wall, tapping the bathtub, or laughing at this new game of being quiet. I felt like a rabbit cowering in a hole with its baby, while a fox sniffed around the mouth of the tunnel.
After no less than fifteen rings, the chimes stopped. I peeked around the corner of the bathroom, trying to see if feet were visible through the crack at the bottom of the door. Then the doorknob started rattling. My whole body buzzed with panic. He can't get in, he can't get in, he can't get in, my mind chanted.
We didn't emerge from the bathroom until the feet backed away from the door and thumped downstairs. I let out a huge sigh of relief when the door slammed shut. I didn't realize how serious this situation is until today.
What kind of man repeatedly rings the doorbell without any reason to suspect someone's home, and then tries to break in?!!! He knows I live alone because he helped me move from across the street, and used to live above me at my last apartment. I'm too afraid of him to confront him, and worry that alerting the police will provoke retaliation.
What should I do?