Happy Easter, Part I
Updated: Mar 8
Friday, April 6, 2012
I packed my gear and crawled into bed early, three whole hours earlier than the usual hours I keep as a musician. I stared at my walls, hoping to numb my brain into melatonin production, because I needed enough sleep to make it through tomorrow like a champ. My body was already worn from the first of two intensive rehearsal weeks for The Music Man, but my adrenaline hadn’t quit yet.
Being in that show put me on Cloud Nine – not only was it my first gig as a soloist with a professional symphony orchestra, but it was the first time I got paid to do music theatre! I had to squeeze it in around my other gigs, but the prestige was so worth the professional conflicts. Compromising my schedule did have a few drawbacks, however, and tomorrow’s doozy of an itinerary was going to be one of them: wake up, style hair for gig, attend morning symphony rehearsal, do stage makeup at lunch, attend afternoon symphony rehearsal, drive four hours to venue, perform four hours with cover band, crash on floor of bandmates’ hotel room. No margin for error. Getting a full night’s sleep sure would be nice…
Staring at the walls made no progress, so I opened a book and forced my attention upon the text. My cat Grover showed disapproval and jumped to the floor, but once he settled, the entire house was quiet. Both my roommates were out, pounding adult beverages, soliciting pretty ladies for digits, as was their usual weekend routine. I hoped tonight would be the exception to the rule, where they decided not to bring the after party back to our house. The front door light was on, to help their drunk selves fit the key in the lock, but I turned off all indoor lights (save the one by my bed) in hopes that they’d realize I’d called it a night.
Time passed slowly. Drowsiness never happened. I’m not sure I made any progress in that book. The clock said 1:07am – I’d been trying to sleep for over two hours.
Then abruptly, violently, there was an aggressive pounding on the front door!
The frame of that rotting old house shook with the fury of the person demanding entry. The lighting fixtures rattled, my eardrums split with the noise. The only light on in the entire house was right next to me! And suddenly it was a little darker outside. After ten seconds, it stopped!
Should I reach for my phone? Will I make an audible noise when I dial? Will I cast a moving shadow that will reveal that I am in fact here, in the master bedroom, in the back left of the only floor of the house? Can they hear me wheezing in a panic? Could it be my roommates coming home after a fight, locked out after having lost their keys? Is there any other logical explanation!?
I have never trembled so much in my entire life. Lifting my arm and extending my hand towards my phone were the most laborious motions I’ve ever attempted, and just as my fingers were within reach –
The pounding resumed, with more fury and intensity, and a male voice bellowing, “Open up! This is the police!” The house quaked.
My fingers grasped my phone, then subito silence!
Should I turn off my light? No! That would reveal that I’m actually here, avoiding their demands! Could it really be the police? They don’t request entry quite like that. So I should leave the light on? Yes, that way you don’t admit to avoiding orders, just in case it is the law.
SUBITO FORTISSIMO!!!! It began again.
My adrenaline hit a record high. How could you possibly knock that loud with anything other than a battering ram? My sweating fingers left puddles on my iPhone screen as I dialed my first roommate.
And he didn’t answer. I left a voicemail.
The slamming began again, but with a more anxious tone of Plan A having failed. The assailant stepped off the porch and walked across the front of the house – to the left, approaching where I was hiding for my life – SLAMMING on the walls and windows as he walked by. The banging grew rapid with urgency as he moved along the house, and the frame rattled as he passed.
He was near me now! Could he hear me if I called my other roommate? Will he round the corner and see the light on in my bedroom and force entry? Will he keep going around to the back deck, and discover the broken set of double glass doors that required only 40 pounds of pressure before they gave way? Those doors that we complained about to the landlord but he didn’t see fit to repair? Does the assailant know who I am? Does he know I'm a woman? Does he know I'm home alone? Does he know I'm here?
I flattened myself under the covers and trembled. By now my cat was buried as deep under the bed as he could get. I waited a small eternity before I dialed the next roommate.
He picked up, his drunk voice slurring, “Hey Jess-kuh. Whassup?”
I coarsely whispered, “Wes – are you guys still at the bar?”
“So you’re not locked out?”
“OK…well…I think someone tried to force entry into the house.”
“Whaaaa? No way! We’ll come home when we can get a cab.”
He hung up. The neighborhood was silent again. Outside was rather dark, and my heart was pulsating in my ears. I lost all concept of time.
Eventually I turned out the light. Whatever was happening, I didn’t want to draw attention to my location. As I lay there, motionless and hopelessly awake, swirling blue police lights spread out on my ceiling – ok, so law enforcement actually was here. I could breathe more deeply. They didn’t linger long, and before I felt totally safe, the lights faded. Slowly I began to get groggy, and more time passed.
My roommates exploded through the front door around 3:30am, excitedly shouting that a drunk driver was being arrested just at the top of our street—“it must’ve been one helluva chase, since there were more than three cop cars, and the cab had to wait before we could turn onto the street!”
So much for my full night’s sleep before tomorrow’s epic long journey. I think I got a 90 minute nap for all my trouble.
Click here for Part II.
Click here for Part III.