Christmastime at 157th

13 Dec

It’s been a harrowing few weeks here. All sorts of madness and mayhem, riots and the like- just my kind of tea party. I’ve had an incredible stroke of good fortune hand in hand with a myriad of low blows and downright downers. Why, just the other night my apartment was burglarized.

It was Saturday and I spent it like any other day – working. I left the apartment around 1pm to go to the library with hopes of focusing my energy. 10 hours later, I had accomplished less than I had hoped, but more than I had expected- considering the fact that I’d been burning the candle at both ends for a while and was both mentally and physically fatigued. I packed up my things and opted to take the subway home, coming to terms with my state of being and realizing the usual walk home would be a nail in the coffin, so to speak.

Most nights, Stephanie or Hans is home before I arrive. The usual routine is for me to stumble into the apartment and spend my last stores of energy catching up with the roommates before passing out from exhaustion or catching a second wind and working ’til dark-thirty in the morning. Had Saturday been like most nights, I’d have placed money on the former, all things considered. But it was unlike any other night I’ve experienced yet.

I walked the 6 flights of stairs in defiance, muttering deliriously to myself that my knee better heal itself (I ran to work last week, shouldering a laptop+accessories without stretching… my knee has yet to forgive me). I reached the top and my body immediately began shutting down. I was home. I’d say hello to Stephanie or Hans- whoever was there- and I’d be in bed in less than a minute, asleep in 5. But all this was fantasy.

The door opened a few inches before being stopped abruptly by the chain. From the opening I could see Angel’s television boxed up and sitting beside the couch. My hiking backpack was in the hallway. All the lights were on. I heard shuffling inside, then silence. Neither Stephanie or Hans had told me they’d be going out and I hadn’t seen or heard from either all day- so in my stupor I assumed that one or both of them were playing a prank on me. Confused, I closed the door and sent them both text messages: “who is home right now?…”

The little hour-glass was turning perpetually in my head, or for those apple aficionados: the spiral of doom, nothing was processing. I was perplexed and totally unprepared to deal with the situation at hand. Waiting for response from my roommates I opened the door again and sat there yelling into the apartment something along the lines of ninja kicking a person’s face or some such nonsense. Expecting one of my roommates to burst into view laughing at my helplessness, I kept my vigil at the door, still completely unaware that anything was out of sorts. Then Stephanie’s texts arrived: “I’m not home”, “I’m pretty sure Hans isn’t home”…

Stephanie was the first to get back and it wasn’t until then that I realized what had transpired: I had come home while someone was in the middle of ransacking our apartment. Stephanie called the cops who promptly kicked in our door and made a sweep of the premises. Not long after they arrived, Hans came home and we all made a list of missing items from our visual analysis of the apartment, we had to be careful not to touch anything because CSI was on its way. The compiled list was an extensive array of electronics and valuables: laptops, a monitor, jewelry, Christmas presents, a Columbia ski jacket, digital cameras, debit cards…

CSI arrived, focusing on my room, where the individual entered and exited through the fire-escape window, and the boxed up television. After finishing up in my room and checking the television for fingerprints, the police allowed us to start sorting through the mayhem to see if we could find any of our missing items. Stephanie’s laundry bag was bulging and propped up in the middle of the common area. Inside, most of our missing items were recovered! Unfortunately, at the end of our clean up, the digital cameras, a laptop, debit cards, jewelry, and a backpack were still missing… and I was still only half aware of what was going on around me.

Satisfied with the evidence collected, CSI and the police called it a night. Not long after they left, Angel came by and helped us clean up our apartment. By 3 am, it looked like nothing had happened- save for the plank of wood missing from the door frame and some half-opened Christmas presents beneath the tree. Had I been in my full self and known that neither of my roommates was home, it is very likely that I would have done something extremely rash and dangerous… luckily, I walked in on the heist and no one was hurt. My window has since been fortified. Huzzah.

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