I’ve heard it said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I beg to disagree.
Some years ago we returned from holiday to find police officers waiting for us because our home had been burgled.
The first thing I noticed when entering my bedroom was my underwear strewn over the floor.
My first thought was one of horror, not because we’d been burgled, but because my good underwear had been on holiday with me. The underwear that the thieves had scattered on the floor was the old stuff that should have been binned already.
Foremost in my mind was shame and I questioned why I had kept this old underwear. I cringed at the thought that not only had the burglars rifled through it, but what if the police officers assumed that this is what I normally wore! Oh dear, more humiliation!
The irrational thoughts we have in those first few seconds of shock are bizarre, on the other hand it could be just me!
I changed the bedding on the beds, I couldn’t bear the thought that strangers might have touched where we slept. I washed the black dust from the drawers and wardrobes, the dust that was left behind from fingerprinting and I vacuumed the carpets.
Then the fear set in. It began with the children who were too frightened to sleep alone in their beds, I paired them up two to each bed.
My husband had to work that night and was reluctant to cancel. Later I lay in bed too scared to sleep. For most of the night I was up and down checking on my children and I worried that the burglars might come back, I listened out for every tiny sound as my heart pounded heavily in my chest.
Thieves and burglars appear to be under some illusion that it’s okay to break in to our homes and take what doesn’t belong to them, while no doubt saying “They’ll claim off the insurance, no skin off their noses!”
Yes we did claim from the insurance company and our premiums went up as a result. But the lasting damage was the legacy that the burglars left behind; the fear in my children’s faces when it was time for bed and the frightened and sleepless nights I suffered as a result.
It was to be a long time before we would once again feel safe in our beds.
To be continued …
Written in response to the Daily Word-prompts Illusion and Cringe