Day 17: Loud and clear

Message Received, August 15 2012

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 then 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 wrecked 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.

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