Alone and asleep last December, I woke to two men standing in the doorway of my bedroom. I saw their guns held by their thighs. A flashlight blinded me.
“Everything all right in here?” one said, stepping into the room.
I held out my palm to block the light.
“Police,” he said. “There was an alarm going off.”
I knew there wasn’t an alarm going off because it had been deactivated months earlier. I thought, This is not the police. This is a home invasion. When I turned on the bedside lamp and saw their uniforms, I thought, Those are fake uniforms.
He told me to get out of bed. I stood between them in my boxers and T-shirt.
“Why are there no clothes in here?” the other man said, pointing to the open drawers across the room. “What, you just move in?” They holstered their guns.
“Yes,” I said. I’d just returned home to Massachusetts after half a year away.
Rain crackled on the roof and lashed the windows. The day had been warm because of a southerly storm shoving up against the underarm of Cape Cod. Out the window I saw a third man standing on the patio, perhaps guarding the exits.
“Come with us,” one of the men said.
The house is down a long driveway on a fishhook peninsula. On one side is the ocean; on the other is a river that shares my middle name. The house is a loft my great-grandfather built for my great-grandmother. Hardwood floors. High ceilings. Wooden chandeliers hanging from wooden beams and permanently covered in a frost of dust. There’s a cluttered centuries-worth of old books, shells, and antique souvenirs and no insulation.
When I walked into the main room, I saw that the overhead lights and lamps were on. The men had been there for some time. I’ve lived in the house since before I walked, and could lead a tour blindfolded. It’s not easy to find the bedroom. You go into the house, take a U-turn to a back hallway, pivot to another hall, and go through a door. You’d have to spend some time looking around for it. Read More