About seven years ago our house was robbed. As excitement goes, it was a non-event, less of a violation, more of a serious annoyance. I reached into the velvet interior of my jewelry box for a small pair of diamond studs and they were gone. After calling my sister to confirm I hadn’t left them at her house when we stayed there the previous weekend, I returned to my jewelry box and realized that they were not the only things missing.
Nearest we can figure is that my discovery of the crime occurred two days after the fact. Thinking back, I remembered coming into our house with our then 9-year-old daughter after work one Tuesday and noticing a cupboard wide open above the desk. Surprised to have left it that way, I closed it and drifted into the schedule of our evening. Thursday morning, while waiting for the police car to pull up our driveway, it occurred to me to return to that cupboard—where I discovered a camera missing. Then it sunk in that someone had actually entered our home.
When my grandmother’s house was burglarized, her shades hung unevenly, her dresser drawers vomited apparel and after the detectives were done, black fingerprint dust covered her clean white trim--so when it happened to us, I sucked on relief like a lozenge. The intruders hadn’t trashed the place and I hadn’t walked into destruction with my daughter. The fact that our house remained pristine allowed us to gloss over the event with our girl--and with ourselves. Other than filing an insurance claim and walking door to door to lock up, on the radar screen of life, this registered as a hiccup--until I recall the things taken that day. Pickings were slim; the diamond studs were the most valuable jewels I owned in monetary terms. We all know though, there is no price tag attached to sentiment.
I sighed at the loss of an antique gold ring, minus an opal, that my mother gave me when I was sixteen. It had previously belonged to her aunt--the repaired ring would have gone to our daughter this past August, when she turned sixteen. There were the teardrop earrings my husband brought back from Los Vegas, where he spent our 5th wedding anniversary at a work convention, a gold herringbone chain, and my gold bangle bracelet--child sized to fit my tiny wrist, a long ago reward from my parents.
These discoveries made me sad but the thing that took my breath away and what still makes me shake my head, was a tiny gold bracelet that was a present to our baby daughter upon her birth--the irony being that I insisted she store it with my jewelry for safe keeping once her wrist was too big, in hopes she could give it to her own daughter some day--and nothing in her room was taken. The thought of that bracelet, with her initials etched in miniature print ending up in a pawn shop or melted down to support some crack-head’s habit instead of appearing on another baby’s wrist—well, a bracelet is small potatoes really, but that theft was a whole pot of mash.
When losses come, when accidents happen, we rationalize to help us get through. It made me feel better to say “It could have been worse and thank goodness no one was hurt and no one was home.” Certainly, things stayed smooth on the surface.
It is just that sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of all the things in life that I can never see again and last night, I remembered the heist. It took me just a moment to adjust my thoughts—to remember that the baby is irreplaceable, the bracelet is not. I’m human though and before I completed that transition, I got a bit ruffled underneath.