Let's talk about heroes.

My dog is a hero now, and her hero is my friend Paul. So much so that when he drove off yesterday, she practically chased his truck in the sad, movie way that dogs do to make an emotional point for the viewer.

I know I never thought Rosie would have any allegiance to anyone but myself and I am sure that her little doggy imprint is on me, for the rest of our natural lives but she sure does love her some Paul.

I wonder if it has anything to do with him sweeping over after my place got broken into on Friday night and battening down all of the hatches that have been left open in all of the areas of my life that you can name, save work.

In a terrifyingly long ordeal, Rosie and I fended off an intruder Friday night.

It was early and he was as inside my house as anyone that I am threatening with a baseball bat could be.

Here's the story:
I'd actually bummed off the afternoon and had a couple of cocktails downtown, ate some pizza, and the went to watch the Derby Brats skate and hang out with the dog and stuff. All the tweens fell in LOVE wiht Rosie... for the love of mercy, she has a HEART marking on her back so of course she's popular with the Hilary Duff crowd. But I left early because I was really tired and I wanted to go to bed early.
Around 10 PM, lights off, windows open, and this Doggy-Mama's off to Sleepytown.

Around 10:30, I hear the dog doing a very low, very loud growl. Normally, she pops off barking when there's Stranger Danger and normally, I hear a neighbor's door open or I hear voices and I go, "Rosie! Enough!"
I didn't hear those things but I was struggling up from sleep, too. I put my hand on her back and all I felt was tension. Then she started to get really aggressive, which woke me all the way up. I was lying there, totally hidden from view when I saw a flashlight shining around the front room.

I heard someone trying the door and messing with the front window. My phone was in my hand but my baseball bat was by the door, inconveniently in the same room that the intruder was working.

Things kind of went silent and I realized that I could slide around the back room and not be seen, even if he was trying to make his way around to the back.

I swear to God, and will always swear that in the moment when I stood up from my bed, I looked and my dog and she looked at me and I saw her nod toward my clothes' hamper to tell me it was okay to put on pants.
I have never been so silent in my life as when I picked up my jean skirt and pulled it up so slowly. It's weird how you get to the very base of your person and become guided by instinct in a moment like this one.
What I love is that part of my base instinct was to think, "I need pants to do this." My mind had auto-piloted me through all the possibilites to get me a list of options and not one of them would work if I was wearing the tee-shirt and underwear in which I'd been sleeping.

Then I had to choose between making a break out a back window or getting the baseball bat in the front. Rosie wasn't barking anymore and she had her eye on the back. Even if I got out of the window, there would be nothing to do but possibly drop my phone while running and hiding.
I think there is something to be said of me not wanting to leave my ship, either. I have stayed in more than enough shitty relationships to know that you can't leave until you are sure you have done everything stupid to save it.
But mainly?
I wasn't armed. Getting that bat was primary in my head. I could not chose to be defenseless if there was a way for me to arm myself.

Why hadn't I called the police?
I had to make a plan first.
I wanted to call but I did NOT want to give myself away and thje light on my phone is pretty bright. That part was either a sixth sense of survival instinct or it was angels watching over me. I didn't know if he was there to burgle or rape or start with one, find me, and end with the other. If he was there to rob me, he didn't need to know I was there, lest he decide that a sex crime was no big frick. I hesitated to call until I got to my weapon and could hide the light using a corner and my cheek, until I was in the Safe Zone.

Getting over there, to a good hiding place and to my weapon, meant exposing myself to the back window in order to take a clear peek at the front window. Rosie was quiet so it took me forever but I did it and I have to say.....

Y'all, peeking around that corner was one of the worst moments in the life of my GI Tract.
For reals, yo.

I'm the luckiest girl in the world that the intruder was not staring back at me from the front window, nor was his flashlight shining into my back window where he would have seen a very zit-creamy version of a braless, would-be Wonder Woman.

I feel like I looked at the window forever but once I realized I could get to the Safe Zone, it only took two steps for me to move into the position that I wanted. I was wedged in a corner by the front door, which is lateral to the window. I knew I would not be able to be seen there.

It was still quiet, so I finally called 911. I got the light hidden but the operators kept telling me that they couldn't hear me.
Every time they said they couldn't hear me, I had to decide if I was going to talk and every time, I chose the softest stage whisper you can imagine.

And when you call 911, you have to get through an operator to get to dispatch so I am wading through the seconds that are passing so gruesomely slowly and I am watching my dog and I am crouched in the Ready Position - knees slightly bent, chin down, shoulders back.
I'm getting the feel for the weight of the bat and listening hard but I'm watching the dog, too because I know she is going to tell me what I need to know.
Sure enough, she starts gearing up and then I hear him back at the window.

This is when I left my body a little because I remember things being about a foot behind where they actually occurred and my words didn't really seem to come from me, at least in the sense that I didn't form them before I spoke them. Rosie lost her MIND and was going crazy and lunging at the window.
I saw the flashlight shining in again and I felt the moment arrive.
I said, very flatly and firmly, "Hold on."
I turned the phone around so that I wouldn't hang it up and then I gripped that bat, raised it and jumped over the dog. I could see the intruder half-way in the window - I could see his fat face and his jacketed arms and the expression on his face, and something in his mouth that was either the flashlight or a weapon. Looking back, I think it was the flashlight because he had his hands on the sill and was CLIMBING INTO MY HOUSE.

"Git the fuuuuuck out of mah howse, motherrr fuuuuucker!"

It was a guttural voice that came out of me and my throat hurt the entire next day. As soon as he beat it out of the window is as soon as I was back to my corner and on the phone with the 911 operator.

She was yelling at to not open the door and at one point, I said in a normal voice, "Don't worry!" I couldn't even look out the window and was pretty much frozen in the Ready Position with the phone pressed against my ear and the dog losing her mind.

The police showed up fast - the helicopter, the dogs, all of it, and found nothing which is sort of nauseating. Of course it was probably random but you never know what the motive was and why this particular person was trying to get into your house.

I really could have been a victim, had it not been for Rosie being able to tell me what I needed to know without giving me away. While we were in the front room there, she never ONCE gave me away by looking at me or by coming over next to me.

So later, when my neighbors have gone home, when the cops are gone, and when I am sitting on my couch and feeling very, very small and hollow, I couldn't control the tears.
I freaked out.
But I was still trying to be really quiet, so I was whispering when I called my friend Paul and sat there counting my breaths before I heard him call out from the driveway - "Sarah? It's Paul!"

Would that I was the kind of girl who didn't feel an enormous flood of relief when a guy walks up like that.

Would that I could remember that I had just saved my own life and that between me and my d-o-double-g, ain't nothin' gonna break me down.

But that's not who I am, despite indications to the contrary.
For the rest of the night, Rosie and I had our hands folded and placed under our chins with that "My hero" sigh that every girl knows how to do when she's had someone race across town to answer her hysterical phone call in person.

I am so aware of what would have been different if I didn't have my dog or if I had made a couple of different choices. My focus was so acute, though that I am again left with complete faith in my instincts and in my gut feelings.

I am also aware that it's okay to ask for help, to fall apart for a second, and to let the terror pass through you while there is someone else around to draw it away form you.

I am finally aware that I am not alone. Chelsea laughed at me the next day, when she said, "How do you say you have nobody out there and then I hear you telling me that Pail was there in minutes and spent the night, that and Katie and Greg offered to pick you up for practice so you wouldn't have to walk to the door alone, and that Mike and Sarah crossed the dangerous courtyard to find out what happened but also to make sure you weren't hurt.
You are SO not alone, Sarah."

I'm not.
Like, at all.

It's just that I've believed myself to be alone for so long that doing a little pivot and seeing the world differently is REALLY hard!

And believe it or not, I'm totally into doing it! I had a rough weekend, folks.
I cried my eyes out, it was hard to sleep, I felt watched and trapped and gross and even in all of that... I have the energy to look at this for what it all is, even though it means debasing one of the powerful personal myths by which I have lived since I went off to college and didn't quite connect the way I'd expected to.

I was in a drill last night at derby where you have to zig-zag through a long line of skaters as fast as you can. You generally offer words of encouragement and maybe grab some ass during this drill and when it was my turn, I was making my way through the line and I hear "Get 'em with a bat!"
"That's how I roll!" I shouted back.

And it really dawned on me that Chelsea was right.
I'm not even close to being all alone.

And I finally know it.
I am so lucky to know this and to know that my heroes are so simply my friends and my work-out partners and the people who are in my life every single day... I am so lucky to know that these are my heroes and that part of their heroism is not having left me to be the alone that I was so sure I was.

arizonasarah at 10:05 a.m.

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