One Summer Night...

May 17, 2009
They were gone, gone for the weekend. I was in my bedroom, staring into my neighbor’s empty and deserted backyard, from the ledge of my open, screened window. I was a curious seven year-old, so I sat there, on the ledge, and waited. For what exactly, I wasn’t sure, I just knew I wanted something to happen. I kept waiting.

I sat there for a while, and watched the sky turn dark and the garage and the outdoor house-light turn on. The grass was still and the breeze that came through my window was cool and refreshing against my skin. It was a beautiful and simple, Sunday summer night. I looked towards the windows of the house, they were black and the outside world was noiseless, except for the few crickets that chirped, hidden beneath the darkened plants of the garden, and the every-so-often swoosh of a car that was speeding down the street going over the 15 mph speed limit.

As I watched the night, and listened to the crickets, I realized that I was being a silly and impractical child and should just forget about whatever I was waiting for because, I was sure nothing was going to happen. But, that’s where I was wrong. I began to shut the window and pull the shade down over the glass when suddenly it happened. It was not what I had expected though, it was terrible and I watched it, right in front of my eyes, letting, not getting help.

Two men drove up in large black vehicle and pulled into the alley driveway that belonged to Jim and Holly. A man jumped out of the car and began looking around; it seemed as if he was trying to make sure nobody saw him or possibly attempting to hide something, but I was watching the whole time. The first man, who stepped out of the car, frightened me. I gasped in horror. The man was semi-tall, and thin. He was dressed in navy and gray with messy brown hair. The second man sat in the passenger seat of their car with a dirty base ball cap, and wore a black T-shirt. He was portly and looked, to me, like a couch potato. I wasn’t sure what these strange people were up to, but I suspected it was no good.

The first man walked about 11 feet away from the 8 foot back fence that led to the yard from the alley, while the second man was quickly rummaging through the glove compartment of their car searching for something. I gazed at them in confusion and frustration. The first man started to run full speed ahead toward the fence and then, to my amazement, jumped over it and performed a front flip into the yard next door. In my mind many thoughts were racing around wildly, like, what if our house is next? After, the man walked back to the fence and opened the gate and let the portly man inside. The portly man entered with a flash light, which I supposed he retrieved from the glove compartment. For some odd reason, the backdoor to the house was unlocked, which made it easy for the strangers to venture on through. I was unsure of how they knew my neighbors were absent. I was intimidated by the fact that they were breaking in though.

Immediately my head turned to face their window. For a split second, the window remained black. But as I watched, I quickly spotted a small circle of golden light inside. I knew they were in the house now and were searching through every corner of Jim and Holly’s possessions. I heard a quiet crash of some papers and books. In the next few short minutes, both men came out of the house each with something in their hands. The first man was carrying a glossy, thin rectangular book, possibly a laptop, and the other guy had a darker box, that appeared to be a radio or CD player. This made me angry at the men because they were stealing and I didn’t understand why anyone would do that. When I heard of robbery stories in the past, I did not believe people actually did that type of thing. I though those stories were made up to scare people, and now, seeing it happen right before me, well that did scare me.

The second man closed the door to the house, and then followed the first man to the gate. The portly man walked back through the gate, as the first man locked the gate latch of the fence. The glossy book was tossed over the fence and caught and set into the car along with the radio. Once again, the taller man ran and jumped over the fence and quickly jumped into the driver’s seat of the car. The sound of the screeching tires sounded like someone screaming in my ears. I saw the bright red lights of the vehicle turn on and go down the alley, into the next, and then disappear into the dark. I paused, my heart beating fast. I knew it was much too late, but I ran to the next room to tell my parents who were watching a, coincidentally, action/drama movie.

At first my parents were in shock, because they did not hear or see anything, and I did not come to tell them sooner. I was asked all sorts of questions about exactly what I saw. I answered each one as truthfully and precisely as I could. It was hard to believe I actually saw this, and my heart was still pounding fast, I wondered if my parents could hear it. I told them, that I only had told them now so they would be informed and it would be too late and too pointless to call the police, because they had already zoomed away in their jeep.

The next day, the Jim and Holly returned. They mentioned to us later that night that over the weekend they had been robbed. I looked down, feeling like this was my entire fault and I was the one to blame, because I wanted something to happen. I was silent, and did not say anything. My parents only informed them that they heard about the incident. That week, our neighbors put up a ‘for sale’ sign in their front yard. I didn’t know they were planning on selling their house anyway, so I felt a heavy blanket of guilt being thrown on my shoulders. I was for sure they moved because I did not tell anyone, until after the crime was committed.

Because I was only seven, I kept apologizing, but I was told not to worry, and I was not to blame. I didn’t understand this, until I got a little bit older, when I realized there was nothing I could really do anyway. Jim and Holly moved because they wanted to, not because someone robbed them, and no one called the police. I now laugh at myself for freaking out so much when I was younger. But it was a scary thing to see, and I hope I will never see anything like that again.





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