What really pissed me off about getting burglarized …
… is not what you think it is
It was only two hours. My parents made it clear that I would only be home for two hours before my older brother would arrive shortly after. I was a new kid in a new school and a new house, and this was my first year as a latchkey kid. When we first moved into the house — right across the alley from our apartment so moving was amazing — I was ecstatic to have my own bedroom. No longer would I be sharing a space with my older brother. To hell with his G.I. Joes and Skeletor. My Barbies, Ferraris, three-story mansions and fold-out suitcase bedrooms needed room to breathe. This was going to be the life.
As I trotted up the street, around the corner from my school, a friend of mine walked nearby, insisting that she get to play with my Barbie dolls. If you’ve ever read “Becoming,” then former First Lady Michelle Obama and I shared similar sentiments about people playing with our dolls. Mess up your own dolls, but leave mine alone. They’re busy!
When I got to my door, she argued with me about how she should be able to come inside. I firmly opened the door, twirled on my heels and told her in no uncertain terms, “No!” I didn’t even want to see the havoc she could wreak on Skipper, never mind Ken and my plastic container full of clothes. But the way her eyes widened scared me at first. I turned around to look behind me to see what it was she saw. That’s when I noticed the couch was flipped over, and the VCR and TV were gone. I gasped and unblocked the door.
From the living room, we could see the back doors were wide open, as though someone ran out as I opened the door to argue about my Barbie doll collection. I darted back out the front door, and my friend and I jogged to her home instead. After getting to her house, I knew I had to call my mother to let her know I was home from school.
“Guess what, Mom?” I asked.
“What?” she asked.
“We got robbed!” I responded.
Long pause. “Are you kidding with me right now?”
“Nope,” I said matter-of-factly.
I can only imagine how a mother feels getting this news at work. I gave her the details. She told me to stay there, and she’d get in touch with my older brother who would’ve figured out I wasn’t there soon enough. By the time my friend’s uncle took me home that night, my mother, father and brother were together. At 14, there wasn’t too much my brother had that they wanted outside of a bit of cash. But my parents’ checkbooks, all electronics and jewelry were gone.
I peered in my bedroom, ready to investigate the robbers myself if I found even one Barbie doll with unkempt hair. I was relieved to find my entire room was untouched. As I neared the kitchen, I noticed two handprints on the dusty window above our back door. I was told by my parents not to touch them because the police would match the fingerprints. (Why they were convinced I could reach higher than a 6-foot door is anybody’s guess considering I grew to a whopping 5'3 by eighth grade and have been that way since.)
Still though, I sympathized with my parents. They were new homeowners who put all their savings into buying this house. My brother lost his money. And they were worried that I wouldn’t feel safe coming home to this empty house as a latchkey kid, for fear of a burglary becoming a robbery and them actually sticking around instead of running out.
I don’t recall being particularly swayed either way. Fear has never come naturally to me (minus “Chucky” movies and mice), so I was pretty unmoved. I stood in the kitchen, gazing up at those fingerprints, wondering how hard the drop was when they pushed their way through the inside double back door. This had to have taken some time and a lot of noise; the doors were made of metal.
As I got ready to leave the kitchen, still pitying my hopeless-looking parents and my brother deep in thought, I happened to glance up at a kitchen shelf. A tall glass. Empty. My indifference changed to confusion.
“What happened to the M&Ms?” I said, remembering that the 7-inch glass dish with the massive peanut M&M was almost full when I left for school. My mother never let me eat chocolate in the morning, even if I tried to rationalize it as “breakfast dessert.” But by dinner, it was fair game.
I don’t recall who, but one of the three said, “You mean to tell me they stole our M&Ms too?!”
I gritted my teeth. “I’m fine with coming home tomorrow,” I said.
My mother insisted that I return to my friend’s house until the police figured out who did what. I stared at that empty candy dish again — steadily. While my 7-year-old brain could handle checkbooks missing and cash gone and piggy banks emptied and disappearing jewelry and doors crashed and couches flipped over, if there was one thing I did not tolerate, it was somebody eating my chocolate. I separated each key between my fingers, like my grandfather showed me. At that moment, I looked forward to them to dare cross me again. They could run out the back door again, but if they had my goddamn M&Ms, they wouldn’t get far!
Would you like to receive Shamontiel’s Weekly Newsletter via MailChimp? Sign up today!