Friday, June 21, 2019


It's such a strange feeling when you wake up to a sound that has woven itself seamlessly into a dream. There's a split second, where you're hanging out right between sleep and wakefulness, where the sound makes sense in your dream and in real life, but you can't figure out where it belongs, even if it's a normal sound that you hear all the time.

Am I rambling? Yes! Yes I am. I'm actually a nervous wreck right now and I didn't get a lot of sleep last night so I am definitely rambling.

A story:

At 4:22 last night, I woke up to the sound of a fist on a door. In my dream, the fist was a drumstick and the door was a drum. It made sense both ways, but when I woke up the sound stopped immediately and I looked at the clock and decided that this sound was only in the dream, not in real life. But, just to make sure, I woke Barclay. "Is someone knocking on our door?"

He sat up. "I thought I heard something but then I thought I was just dreaming it."

"Well we probably weren't both dreaming it."

We listened. Nothing. Maybe we were both dreaming it. Maybe we were both dreaming about drums. Maybe it was someone knocking on the neighbor's door.

Barclay fell back asleep immediately. I didn't. Having someone break into my house in the middle of the night is one of my greatest fears, and I'm constantly asking Barclay to check out a noise, or telling him I'm certain this time that I heard the back gate clang or the sound of someone jiggling the doorknob.

Twenty minutes passed, and I finally started to relax. It was all in my head again.

But just as I started to nod off—


I jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen, almost without thinking. I peered around the corner at the back door. The handle was moving—someone was trying to get in. I crept to the window and peeked out—by streetlights, I could just see the top of a head, wrapped in a bandana, as someone gave up on the back door and headed around to the front of our house. I stood there frozen, listening to the sound of footsteps on the front porch, the opening of the screen door, someone fumbling with that doorknob. Barclay came out of the bedroom to see what was going on.

"Call 911," I hissed. "Someone's trying to get in."

He was skeptical, and rightfully so. I have cried wolf a million times. But it didn't take long for him to come around, because soon the front door started heaving at us as the stranger began to kick it. Barclay and I stared at each other, wide-eyed.

Then there was an angry scream:


His intentions were, I'd say, fairly clear.

There's a scene a lot like this in the book I'm writing right now, so there was a moment where I considered that this might a dream, inspired by my book. I actually also have dreams like this all the time, which is maybe where that scene in the book came from. It's like a nightmare cycle. Brains are wonderful, aren't they?

But whether this whole thing was happening in my head or in real life, it felt like a nightmare. The sun was just starting to rise, so the living room was dark but not pitch black, and it had that shadowy, surreal quality to it. There were LEGO blocks everywhere, so even though I was trying to step quietly, I kept giving myself away to whoever was out there.

The guy left the front door right as Barclay called 911 and we waited to see if he'd move on to another house. It was quiet for a few minutes. I went back into my bedroom to grab my phone—I don't know why. Barclay had a phone. He was on his phone. What good was having two phones? Whatever.

But I entered my room just in time to see a hand reach up through the partially opened window and try to wrench it away from the house. (If I don't have nightmares about that image for the rest of the week I'll be pretty darn surprised.) The guy must have heard me gasp because he yelled again:


I ran back into the kitchen. It's pretty amazing how fast your lungs can take air in and put it back out, isn't it?  I might have been hyperventilating. "He's trying to get into our bedroom," I whispered to Barclay. But then the guy was at the back door again, trying to kick it in. I pointed at the phone. "Where are they? Are they coming?"

Barclay nodded. He was describing the guy to the 911 operator. He was so calm, like it was three in the afternoon and the person at our door was a Jehovah's Witness.

At this point, I should mention that our kids were not with us. It was my birthday yesterday, so their grandparents invited them for a sleepover (bless them). I kept thinking about that every time I thought the door was going to break, every time he tromped around our house trying to find another way in. How great was it that our kids weren't here for this? It wasn't just the thought of them being terrified with us, but the thought of trying to keep them safe if whoever was out there got in, you know? I was so, so thankful.

Anyway, this went on for about half an hour, and finally—finally—I looked out the window and saw a policewoman walking across the lawn instead of the guy. A few minutes later, I saw two officers helping the guy into the back of their car. Then the woman came to our door and told us that we were okay and could go back to bed and that was basically it. The guy was drunk and thought he was somewhere else. The end.

(Anti-climactic, right? I'm okay with that.)