The Intruder

First published on November 30, 2021

At exactly zero dark 1, a loud banging on the door woke me up. I jumped out of bed so quick I put a dent in the ceiling and came down with a thud, missed the mattress by an inch. I had no time to think about a sore hip as a second bang-bang-bang almost shook the house!

I looked at the man who sleeps on the side of the bed nearest the door, an arrangement I insisted on right from the day we took those vows because if an intruder were ever to force their way in, he would have to be the soldier on the frontline while I analyzed the situation on the ground from behind the closet.

But the man was taken up in a cloud of slumber. I could see the zzzs smoothly winding up the ceiling from his nose like musical notes riding up a smoke ladder. Obviously he was dreaming wholesomely. Could he not hear the banging though? Dreams are rare. Let him enjoy this one. I got this.

On the 3rd banging, louder and more impatient, I brave up and tiptoe downstairs. It could be a neighbor in distress.. but first I run to the kitchen and grab a skillet in case I need to knock someone’s skull off its sorry stack of vertebrea. I stand at the front door, heart racing so fast I can feel the thump-thump bounce off the sole of my feet.

I say out loud- Who is it? A voice answers immediately- Open!

I raise the 20-pound cast iron skillet right above my right eye where a horn like an antelope’s might have been had nature bestowed us such a utility, which I would have used to gore the intruder. I felt a trickle of shame that I had been reduced to a frontline soldier with a kitchen utensil for a weapon.

Mark you, all this– from the first bang to me standing at the front door– happened in seconds. It’s just that telling you the story has taken unnecessary detours.

I open the door as demanded and steady my weapon. Right there standing in front of me, is December. She came in without another word and went straight to the bathroom to put some bandaid on the bruises where November had beaten her up for trying to arrive too soon. She’s not even due until tomorrow, but she’s here– loud, demanding and exhausting. I went back to bed.

*Dedication: For Franz Kafka, master storyteller of the delightfully dark and bizarre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *