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Loss (I) March 31, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

It took a couple of seconds for what I was seeing to register in my brain: I had just put a key into a lock in a door that had one of its windows knocked out. Someone else had been here. Someone had broken in.

Weeks and weeks ago, Sioux asked me to stop at her house and take a picture of a chair. Our neighbor Roy had reupholstered it, and he left it in her back room, and she hadn’t seen it yet. She’s a summer person.

As a summer person, she shuts the house for the winter—no water, no electricity, no heat, no phone. No plowing, either, which isn’t always such a big deal, but this year, it was. There was no easy way to park near her house. And the impassable driveway made it even more obvious, for an extended period, that no one was there.

Earlier this winter, one of her neighbors had gotten broken into when he’d headed south. Since then, I’d been looking for footprints in her yard during drive-bys, but I never saw any.

I told her I’d stop in and take the picture when the snow cleared.

The night of the supermoon seemed like perfect timing. Tim and I’d watched many a moonrise from Sioux and Duke’s front porch, and maybe we could time things right to see it.

Of course, what with that broken window, all plans for the evening immediately changed.

We went in, and the place looked different, but the rugs were rolled up and the furniture covered. Sioux’s an artist, and there seemed to be almost no art in her studio, but she’d had a show in the fall and we figured she took it all with her. Whoever had been there had clearly been in the closets and drawers. Tim suggested we touch nothing, go home immediately, call the police. I was having trouble even making mental notes.

Here’s a funny thing: I really didn’t know how to call the police. I mean, this wasn’t a 911 situation. I got out the phone book, and it was hard finding a listing, hard knowing what to look under, and then not being sure which number to call—the closer town is not in our county, the town in our county is farther away. I decided to find the annual town report to see if that had a number, and it had numbers for the constables and fire but not really the police.

So I called Paul, now of Sioux-and-the-harp-case fame, who’s lived here a lot longer than I have, and he said to start with the constable.

I called the constable. He was out, and his wife gave me the right police number. They took a report. Tim and I (still) wanted to go out to dinner and we were starving, so Paul generously offered to be backup call-back person. (We had called Sioux and Duke and left messages before calling the police.)

Then Tim and I tried to go out to dinner, couldn’t even get in the parking lot, so turned around, came home, and made a pizza. We talked to Paul a couple more times, who had by then talked with the police and then Duke, and then we talked with Duke, who was really quite calm about it. In the midst of all this, I would run outside and look for the moonrise.

At some point that night or the next day, the cops must have made the trek to the house and made a report, but they never got back in touch with me or Paul. The next morning, Paul replaced the window, which is just the kind of guy he is. He took a look around and thought nothing obvious was missing.

Sioux and Duke made plans to visit the next weekend to check it out. They would stay with us.

It was upsetting. I felt guilty for not having trudged my way through the snow earlier. It’s hard to know how long ago the crime happened, besides less than a month before, when Paul had shoveled snow off the roof. It’s amazing the place hasn’t been robbed before, really, but this winter and this economy are especially grim. Whoever broke in had to have been disappointed in finding zero TVs, computers, stereos, cash.

We went out again to look for the supermoon, but from our front yard there’s too much groundswell and house and trees blocking the horizon. As we were walking up the hill, trying to get some height, Laura pulled up. “Get in, I’ll take ya,” she said, and drove us down the road to the farm. There was the supermoon. I’d hoped to see it before it was that high in the sky, but it was big, and it was beautiful.


1. Mali - March 31, 2011

Your first para made me catch my breath. I hope they didn’t take much, and that the feeling of violation goes soon.

I’m glad the moon was beautiful.

2. Bridgett - March 31, 2011

So scary to come upon.

3. Dona - April 1, 2011

You have had a disturbing couple of weeks.

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