Message received.

From the street, Olivia looked up and saw the light in the window of her apartment.  That was odd.  She knew she’d turned everything off before she left for vacation.

When she reached her door she saw only air where the deadbolt should have been.  Every synapse in her brain was screaming that she shouldn’t enter but the doorknob turned cleanly in her hand, wrong in its ease of cooperation.

She climbed up the lit stairs onto her interior landing and knew instantly.  One glance into her office confirmed it.

She didn’t even care if anyone was still inside.  They’d come up the fire escape and broken the bathroom window to get in. Intimates were thrown carelessly on the floor, a tangle of lace among the coat hangers and sweaters. Broken pictures of her parents lay amidst her tax returns and birth certificate.  She didn’t need to look to know that all her jewelry was gone.

It took a few hours for the police to take her statement and dust for fingerprints. It took a few days to realize the extent of the missing items – items you don’t think about telling a policeman when you’re in shock. It took two weeks to understand that the detectives were telling her to give up hope of ever getting anything back or of finding the person(s).   To face it – this was an $8,000.00 face value “smash and grab”.

When she felt brave enough to evaluate the damage she went alone, just the way she started out in this place 6 years ago. Somehow the mess seemed worse in the daylight. She cleaned as ruthlessly as they’d tossed, resenting every moment of repairing damages that she had not caused, nor invited. Hadn’t she been through enough this year? Just the thought of having to start completely over made her sick. Finding a new place, scraping up another outrageously large security deposit, packing, moving, replacing what was stolen, all in a place that made her this goddamn sad all the time? She couldn’t do it.

She mumbled to her apartment, “There aren’t enough anti-depressants in the world for this shit.” She’d had enough.  She HAD made it here. She’d proven that she was tough enough to tackle the worst of anything. She’d started from nothing and advanced her career farther than she thought possible.  But now she was ready to go lay down roots of her own, in a place where she didn’t need thicker skin or a six figure salary.

It was then that she took a calm inhale, letting her head fall back, and Olivia spoke in the direction of her cracked ceiling, “Hey, God??? I HEAR YOU, MAN. I get it.”

And she knew everything would be okay.

After all, she’d come full circle. Where she was once certain she could not, she was now certain she had no choice. The signs were clear.  It was time to go home.


read to be read at

This piece is being submitted into the Yeah Write Summer Writer’s Series.  What is Yeah Write?  It’s awesomesauce, that’s what it is.

Message received.

25 Responses

  1. What a nightmare and how violated you must have felt. I love how you wrote this and how this callous event sent you back to the place you are loved most. I wish I could whip out something this good as fast as you did!

    Stacie @ Snaps and Bits August 15, 2012 at 6:22 pm #
    • Procrastination is the mother of invention. 😉

      50peach August 15, 2012 at 10:12 pm #
  2. Oh man, that would scare the bejesus out of me. I’m already paranoid enough about being broken into! I’m glad that it sent you home though!

    And as a side note to your writing. This was really good. Loved it!

    dalrie August 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm #
    • Thanks for the feedback, Dalrie! :)

      50peach August 15, 2012 at 10:11 pm #
  3. This is non-fiction? I thought it was flash fiction. So scary.

    Cindy - The Reedster Speaks August 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm #
    • You might be right. I was just assuming it really happened to Peach (but that Olivia is not her real name) since it seemed so personal. But maybe I was fooled!

      Stacie @ Snaps and Bits August 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm #
  4. UGH. Uncool. Whether it’s about you or not — UNCOOL.

    Mayor Gia August 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm #
  5. Fiction or not, I can’t believe you or Olivia turned that knob! The mama in me was screaming Nooooooo! Riveting, interesting and great.

    raisingivy August 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm #
    • Shock can truly make a person do some stupid things to the mind/body connection, that’s for sure. Thanks, Louise. :)

      50peach August 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm #
  6. I echo Louise’s riveting comment! Wait … did you write about Olivia weeks ago for Yeah Write? This is the follow up piece, right? It’s awesome! Yay for you!

    ateachablemom August 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm #
    • Great catch, you. And thanks! Yes, the linked text post “The Fighter” describes Olivia at the beginning of her adventure, determined NOT to go home. I thought it was fitting to wrap the Yeah Write Summer Series by coming full circle with Olivia, using all I’ve learned in these weeks.

      50peach August 15, 2012 at 10:07 pm #
  7. You are talented. This was really great. I love this line: She cleaned as ruthlessly as they’d tossed, resenting every moment of repairing damages that she had not caused, nor invited.
    I also loved the pictures. My Twitter account just got hacked and I am totally freaked out. I can’t imagine what I would do if it was something physical like this. Olivia is a fighter.

    outlawmama August 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm #
    • Oh wow… thank you for the high praise. :) Love that line too, and how it just spilled out without thinking. I LOVE when that happens!

      50peach August 17, 2012 at 9:47 am #
  8. what a horrible thing to come home to.

    christina August 16, 2012 at 8:22 am #
  9. My apartment was robbed, once, and even though it didn’t really affect my life…I still had plenty of stuff…it was the thought of strangers rifling through my things that bothered me. And it was so random. They took a doll, one shoe out of a pair (!?) and even some food out of the pantry.

    Anyway, I loved your description and your inner diaglogue. Great story!

    kianwi August 16, 2012 at 10:31 am #
  10. I am just glad you are okay. I am so sorry about what happened – its a nuisance, scary, saddening and maddening. But youll come out stronger – as it seems you already have.

    Lauren @ WWoB August 16, 2012 at 10:58 am #
    • Thanks, Lauren! Never let the turkeys get you down! :) You’re quiet lately…. hope you’re still getting some TLC at home. Hugs to you.

      50peach August 17, 2012 at 9:43 am #
  11. This seems like a fiction story. Sorry it really happened. I was robbed while living in Spain, but nothing like this! I hope you found a home that you feel safe and happy in.


    Amy I. Bloom August 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm #
  12. Oh what a terrible thing to come home to!
    It happened to me as well, but we were home at the time. It was terrifying of course, but I think the worst part is the violation you feel afterwards. I also had to move out of the apartment I lived in at the time, but I didn’t go home like you so smartly did.
    I liked how you told the story, and how it brought you full circle. Great job. :-)

    dberonilla August 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm #
  13. This post was on the grid the exact week before I started linking up at Yeah Write, so I missed it then, but I am so happy to read it now. It’s fascinating to me how, just at the right moment, the universe sends us signs that tell us exactly what we need to do. It’s the smart girls who learn to listen :)

    Samantha Brinn Merel July 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm #
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