Everyone is suspicious.
Drivers on the road.
City maintenance crews.

Every sound is amplified.
Outside gardening crews.
Delivery trucks.
Garbage trucks across the gully.

I was sitting in a chair snuggled under a blanket with a book. Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. My heart leapt. Fear embers were immediately snuffed out. It was only a bird hopping around. Hop, hop, hop. Up into the gazebo. Hop, hop, hop. Another movement. Wide eyes darted landing on an old Diet Coke bottle rolling in the breeze.

The bottle was suspicious. How in the world did that get out there? It’s been months since we’ve even bought bottles. The cans are more economical while being more dangerous. They are like cash – hard to monitor. A free indulgence if you will. Heath bought us both Diet Coke tumblers from the Coca Cola store in Las Vegas. We’ve been on cans ever since.

So how would an empty bottle get outside? The patio cushions were stored in the kids’ hideout months ago. We don’t even go outside anymore. Plus, I had spent some time vacuuming the soggy gazebo carpet. I moved the chairs back in that were set up as a boogeyman barricade. Ha! Like that would work! It did work for peace of mind. Now boards have been screwed together covering the hole in the fence. I have given up hope that the handyman will ever call a fence company for repairs. He still hasn’t fixed our kitchen ceiling.

The point is I never saw a bottle. Until the bird caught my attention. The bottle only reminded me of the day I found a large beer can out in the grass. Maybe someone tossed it over the fence. I dismissed it as a yucky coincidence. Still, it was weird. How long had our house been on the thieves minds? How long had had it been between the hole being cut in the fence and when they actually shattered my back slider? I keep trying to clean up evidence of the home invasion. Glass pebbles will still be out there come summer, even after all the time we have spent vacuuming.

My attention returned to my book. When I was completely immersed the doorbell rang causing my heart to take up residence in my throat. I checked the peephole. FedEx truck parked on the street. I recognized the man at the door as a member of my ward congregation. He drives for FedEx.

I unlocked the deadbolt then realized I had to disarm the alarm before I could open the door. I hit the button and put my hand on the door handle. Just before I turned the handle to open the door I remembered I had to put in a code first. Back to the alarm system. Finally I opened the door feeling flustered and embarrassed. Safety Sal loudly announced, “Front door!”

It was my friend. He held an Amazon box in one hand and the electronic signature device in the other. He said maybe three short sentences to me while I shakily signed my name and grunted responses. Could I be any more of a doofus? He handed me the box with his famous smiley face drawn on the label and headed down the front path. I managed to get out a thank you when he was nearly to his truck. I felt like a moron.

There was no reason to sign for the package. I think he was checking on me. Which is really sweet but makes me feel even more stupid. Oh well.

Every time I leave the house I hope I set the alarm correctly. With every shower I feel helpless. I can’t see or hear and I’m convinced the boogeyman knows it. When I’m home alone I secretly wonder if the boogeyman planted cameras or listening devices and only ransacked my bedroom, taking a few items, to throw us off.

When I’m out taking my kids to or from school I can’t wait to get home. I’m convinced the boogeyman knows I’m gone and will take advantage of the opportunity. I saw a man wearing the hood of his sweatshirt walk down the front steps of a neighbor’s house. He kept his head down slightly as he walked to his car. I knew he was going to call his buddies since he saw me leave my house.

Another day a man was running down the street wearing jeans and work boots. Why would anyone be running that fast if they weren’t in running clothes? He must be trying to knock off some house! Heath decided I had a point to think it looked suspicious. We turned around and started looking in the courts for the man. We found him with two other men in front of a truck full of gardening equipment. Oh. Still, it was suspicious and worth checking out.

I suspect everyone.

I am convinced I have a huge target on my forehead.

I thought the house in my mind had been destroyed. It wasn’t. The boogeyman is squatting there again.