I WAKE to the sound of the cat gagging. She's choking and I jump out of bed to check on her. As I sit with her and wonder if she needs the vet, I realise the back door is wide open.
At first I wonder if it's blown open from a storm. But I know it's not. The gagging was a nervous response. A stranger had been in the house while I was asleep. There’s a bag on the ground outside, dumped when the thief realised it held nothing but shortbread and a calendar. ‘Did I lock the door?’ I ask myself but then I see my laptop is missing.
I scream and slam the table. My manuscript, three years of work, is on that thing. I remember not to panic, I must have saved a copy of it months ago. Work has been lost, but not everything.
I want to kill whoever it is. I want to punch them in the face over and over. They might still be nearby. I run outside and down the driveway to the road.
I run right through the space where my partner's car should be. She's on holiday. And loves that car. What do I do? I've never done this before. I run inside to call her and then to alert the police.
My phone was on charge near the laptop. It's missing. I have no way of contacting anyone. I'm stuck. I grab my shoes and lock everything and run to my workplace where at least there's a phone and computer.
I make the report, contact everyone that needs to know, get back to the house, and see how many of the drawers have been opened. Whoever it is ignored the alcohol, but specifically hunted for jewelry. I feel sick, frazzled, dazed, but at the same time they seem to have kept some distance, avoided the lounge room and the bedroom.
I guess it's my fault, I should have checked to see if the door was locked. Later the police note the slits in the fly-screen, big enough to stick a finger in to unlock it.
The car will be found, I hope. The cards and wallet can be replaced. Yes, that was stolen too. The laptop has a password but I've given up on finding that one. The worst part was the cat going missing, and without a car, without a phone, the search was much harder. But she was found safe, just overwhelmed from strangers in the house.
I'm going through this logically and know this often happens, I'll get over it, I'm lucky in many ways, I’m safe. But it still feels s--t and I feel so angry against bad people out there who don't even care, so I know such energy is a waste. And that makes it worse, almost meaningless.