It was a peaceful day here on the edge of Africa, in my world at least. Outside it was sunny, a cool breeze keeping the temperature pleasant, ruffling up a few white-tops on the bay. People strolled by my window, on the way to the beach, hanging out, feeling groovy. I took the train to town for a dose of cosmopolitan life, a cup of café Americano with hot milk please, and to read a whole slew of Vogue magazines. Superficial wretch that I am.
My script is coming along beautifully, I love my protagonist and her journey, and all is right with my world, so I was feeling pretty groovy too. Took the train back and ambled home from the station, happy that I’d slowed down for the day, didn’t move too fast, made the morning last.
Got to my place. You have to walk up about 15 steps to get to the front door. At the foot of the steps is a room where the man who looks after my landlady’s garden and walks her dogs, lives. My room is above his.
So, my mind on nothing in particular, I almost bumped into a very poor-looking man sitting on the bottom step, waiting – for what I wasn’t sure. He had a plastic bag, looked as if it had something soft in it, a shirt maybe. He also looked very tired and totally out of it. Asked me if I could give him some money. I said I couldn’t. I felt very uneasy. He didn’t realize I lived here, thought I was just walking past. I would have had to walk right past him to climb the stairs.
Thank god for gut feel. He didn’t look violent, so nothing in my logical brain said he was a potential threat. But my gut said walk away. So I walked back a ways and slipped into an enclave. I saw him leave the property, go up ahead and sit down on somebody else’s step, put his head between his legs. I thought I’d misjudged him. He just was poor, and tired. I went up the stairs without him seeing me.
A few minutes later, CRASH! SMASH! I opened my window and looked down. There he was trying to kick the door down of the room below me. It seemed like he couldn’t get in, and he sat down on the step again. Weird. I called the police, heart thumping. I was pretty sure he couldn’t get into my part of the house. But that room below me has been broken into twice lately, and the last time an axe was stolen.
The police took a while to get here, and it looked like he’d disappeared. But when the police came they broke the door down and went in guns drawn. It was pretty scary. He was inside. He’d smashed a small window above the door and climbed through somehow. Barricaded the door from the inside.
Turns out, that innocuous-looking plastic bag held the axe. He could have attacked me. Probably would have if I’d not listened to my gut. Especially if I’d overridden my gut because I felt sorry for him and either taken my purse out my bag to give him some money, or tried to walk past him. Ah well, I didn’t and he didn’t. Dangerous times we live in, but somehow I was protected. Must be angels or something.
I shan’t let it ruin my day.