Monday, 8 February 2016

grace of God

6 a.m. I hear a noise. It's in the house. Something falling. Then a door closing. I slide my foot over.

My husband is asleep beside me. My sleepy mental inventory reminds me the only people who should be in my house right now are right in this room, in this bed.

"Get up!" I say. "There's someone in the house!"

"Are you sure?" He says. Then we hear another door close. No movement from the dogs. Into the hall. The door to my office and my son's door are uncharacteristically closed. I open the office door. Something isn't right but I don't know what. I wonder if my son came home unexpectedly from university. I call his name. Nothing. I open his door and turn on the light. A boy is in his bed.

Not him.

I think about my nephew who is having problems in a city far away. I wonder if it's him- he has the same colour of hair.

"Hey, buddy, get up! What are you doing in our house? We shake his foot. He moves a bit. A total stranger. "I'm sleeping," he says. "Why are you bothering me?"

"You're in the wrong house. You have to go home."

"Who are you?" My husband asks.

He looks to be about 13. "Where do you live?'  He's out of it but he's able tell us a name and a street number nearby. The dog finally wakes up and jumps on the bed. The kid pushes her away and then goes back to sleep.

I go back to the office. His clothes are lying in a heap, soaking wet. It hasn't rained in days. Did he fall into the nearby creek? I check the pockets of his tear-away pants. I find a flashlight. No phone, no ID. Nothing.

I call the RCMP. "My goodness " says the dispatcher. "My goodness,' says the RCMP officer. "Is he violent? Does he need medical attention?"  "He's asleep," I say.

"We'll be right over," says the lady cop.

My husband makes coffee. We check all the doors and windows. All locked but the gate to the back yard is open. He must have come in through the usually dead-locked patio door, locking it behind him.

A male and female police officer arrive in separate cars. They ask if we want to press charges, we say no. He's a kid, after all.  "You're calm," the female says. We shrug. 

They enter the room.

"Buddy, you're in the house of people you don't even know," she says. Eventually  they get him up and dressed although he protests. As he starts moving, the male cop tells him he's under arrest. He gets agitated. "Under arrest? What for, tell me straight up, what for?" Something tells me this isn't his first encounter with authority.

Off they go.

People tell us this boy was lucky that it was our house he broke into. 

They are grateful no one was hurt. 

I wonder, if we lived in a nation with a gun culture, how things might have ended. 

I think how lucky I am to live in a community where the police are readily available and treat people with respect. 

Most of all I think what if that had been my child out lost and confused and inebriated and soaking wet in subzero temperatures, how would I want that to end?