For some reason lately, I've had the strangest memory on my mind.
We were living in our second house, at that time a family of four. This was the house with my dream scrapbook room, the one Creating Keepsakes and Cropper Hopper came in and renovated.
I still pine away for that room, especially now that I'm in a much smaller workspace (with seriously a lot more stuff.)
Our house was a bi-level, so we had full exposure in the basement, which is where my office was, and my window faced our backyard. It wasn't fenced in, but we lived in a small town--a very small town--so I never worried or felt unsafe.
It was the kind of town where you'd leave your car unlocked in the driveway.
When I was working for Memory Makers, I'd often scrapbook late into the night. It's one of the things I've since changed because I missed out on a lot of Adam time for all the time I spent working until one or two in the morning.
One night, just like the night before, I sat at my computer typing in my journaling for an assigned layout when I started to get the strangest feeling like someone was watching me.
You know how you just know?
My window didn't have a curtain on it, and there I was, fully exposed in the light of the office, the dark of the night giving cover to anyone who might pass through our backyard.
My heart started racing and my cheeks felt flushed. I knew it was illogical to think anyone would be in our yard. This was the smallest of small towns. No crime. No news. So, why did I keep feeling like someone's eyes were fixed on me?
I sat there, pretending not to notice that there was movement out there, and to be honest, I wasn't sure that there was...but I just had a feeling. I tried to ignore it for a few minutes and then heard a voice through the panes of glass, like the sound of a man talking on his phone.
That's when my imagination took over, and I ran through every possible scenario in the span of thirty seconds.
I'm a writer, so believe me when I tell you, I came up with some doozies. (Is "doozies" a word?)
In that moment, it was like, I didn't want to alarm whoever it was. I didn't want him to know I knew he was out there, creeping around our yard, looking in the windows and talking on his phone. (And for the record...if you're going to be a creeper, leave your phone at home.)
I wanted to pretend I didn't notice but ensure my own safety. There was a door in my office leading to our screened in porch--a great way for someone to come into the room from outside. I casually got up, pretended to be looking for something and checked that it was locked. Then, I slowly walked into the other room, where Adam was watching TV.
"I think there's someone in the back yard," I said, knowing how stupid it sounded.
"What?" He looked at me like I'd just said something stupid.
"I heard someone back there. A guy's voice."
Adam got up and walked into the office with me, and his approach was completely the opposite of mine. Rather than hang around to see if he heard or saw anything, he walked straight to the door, opened it and went out onto the screened in porch.
I stood there, waiting for him to get shot or mauled or tackled at least, but he called out into the black of the yard and we saw the figure of a man running away, off into the darkness, never to be seen again.
I don't know why this story keeps coming back to me now--except to say that sometimes you can sense things without ever really being sure they exist. I can't tell you I've learned anything from it or understood why that man found his way into our yard that night. The police never found him and for all I know, he could still be lurking in the shadows.
But I've learned--and am learning--that I can't live my life worried about what might be around the corner. What people might say. How a situation might turn out. I guess I'm just not willing to sacrifice my sanity for what could happen...especially when what could happen might be amazing.
And I never did put curtains on the window.