I’ve never really been scared in my house before. (Key word: house. The first apartment I rented in New York had a basement level that was separated from the building’s storage area by a loose door with a lock you could break by breathing on it. I got scared all the time when I heard weird noises on the other side of the wall. Chances are, they were just the cockroaches coming out to play, but I could never be certain.)
In this one-level house in the middle of the suburbs on a sunny day? Impossible.
So when I heard a loud noise like something falling in the other room, I paused. Wouldn’t it be just my luck to go looking for what made the sound, all normal and happy, with no weapon, and that would be the time that someone really was lurking in a closet ready to jump out? Yes. It would be.
But what could I use in self-defense?
I looked around the living room. Here’s what I saw: a glass of water; a magazine; my laptop; several remotes; some pillows. These would all be either ineffective or messy. A candle? Yeah, that could work. I could throw it at his head to temporarily startle him, at which point I could run back to the kitchen and get an actual weapon like a knife, which I probably should have had in the first place.
So I grabbed a small candle with a metal holder and made my way down the hall. Since it had now been 5 minutes since I’d heard the sound, I was pretty sure someone wasn’t coming out to attack me, but I had put in so much effort already that I couldn’t just give up. I dutifully opened the doors to all of the closets and bedrooms, and by the time I made it back out to the living room, I had convinced myself that no one would still be hiding when they saw that clearly I was no threat standing there in my pajamas, wielding a candle.
Then I noticed my cat. She looked spooked. This is her regular face half of the time. But what I wanted to know–and believe me, I tried to get it out of her–was whether she was scared because she’d heard the noise, too, or because she had actually been the cause of the noise.
I guess I’ll never know. But it was good practice for a time when I may actually have to defend myself. Next time I’ll grab that huge candle by the TV.