You guys all remember Crazy Stalker Guy, right? Well, he paid us another visit on Sunday night/early Monday morning, this time much more terrifying than simply driving past the house a dozen times and parking in front of it. He actually came into my house this time.
The kids were all sleeping outside on the front lawn, so I had the door unlocked in case they need to come back in. Keep in mind, please, that we live in a small town and the kids-not just mine but the neighborhood kids in general-sleep outside fairly regularly, and since Crazy Stalker Guy hadn’t been back, I didn’t think twice about letting them sleep out. Sometime after midnight, Hannah woke up to hear someone walking on the lawn; she had her head covered, so peeked out from under her sleeping bag to see who it was. He had a flashlight, like one of those pen lights, and went over to the back gate. She heard him trying to get over it, but they had earlier blocked it closed so the puppies wouldn’t get out, and it apparently kept him out as well. However, what he did was just come right up to the front porch instead. Hannah was laying there quietly with her head covered again, thinking, “Okay, he is going to leave,” and she thought he DID until he stepped on a popper thing that Sam had thrown on the porch that didn’t go off. She heard the door open and stay open for a little bit, then heard it close very quietly. She looked up and didn’t see him any longer, and I still can’t piece together what she was thinking; did she think he was gone, or did she know he was in the house? She thinks she remembers running up the porch yelling, “Mom, mom, there’s a man in the house!”, and when I think about it I think I remember that as well, but it all happened so quickly that neither of us is 100% sure. What we ARE sure of is that when she opened the door, still yelling, the man WAS, in fact, in the house, right next to the door and about a foot away from my bed. Hannah began screaming as loud as she could, and the man actually pushed her out of the way and took off, pushing Eli as well on the way through the yard. He then disappeared around the corner.
In the house while this was going on, I didn’t hear anything except the door opening and closing very quietly; I didn’t even really wake up because I was expecting one of the kids to come in, so thought it was one of them. I never did actually SEE the guy, because the rest of it happened so freaking fast, I don’t know. Like I said, I think I heard Hannah yelling about someone being in the house, but am not 100% sure. The thing I remember most clearly is the sound of her screaming; never have I heard anything like that from one of my children, and the sound is going to haunt me.
Of course we called the police, and we got an immediate response-as in within a matter of minutes. See, two cars happened to be doing a routine patrol, and one of them saw a white pickup pulling out of my alley with his lights off, so was beginning to follow it; the truck took off, lights still off, with one patrol car after it with lights and sirens on. This was happening while my 911 call was going through, so the other car who was in the area came right over. After going through everything with Hannah and getting her description, I told the cop about Crazy Stalker Guy, and he got a funny look on his face and said, “I think that is the same truck my guys are after right now!” and sure enough, it was. They lost him, though, somewhere along one of the back roads where a truck with no lights on can easily disappear.
I called Steve after the cops said I could use the phone to see if he would come over, which he did. In the meantime, the main cop (who will be known from now on as Captain Ron) was doing such an amazing job with Hannah, helping her to calm down by speaking very calmly and quietly, having her close her eyes and tell him what her impressions were, how he looked and dressed…and then he did an equally great job of knowing when she was starting to lose it and stop questioning her. The whole process took what seemed like a really long time, and then Captain Ron went down to the station and got a photo montage for her to go through to see if he could identify him. She picked two that it could have possibly been, one of whom was my ex-husband (and even after looking closely, she didn’t recognize him as her previous step-father, thank God; they had the names covered up), but still, we don’t really have any idea for sure who it was. Which somehow makes it worse; if it was someone we knew, then maybe we could find an explanation (and if it WAS, in fact, the ex, of course we would at least have an idea why), but right now, the very randomness of it is even more frightening.
While it is now obvious to everyone concerned that we were the target, we don’t know WHY.
Neither Hannah nor I slept on Sunday night; Steve was there, which helped a little bit, but not much. Hanna was right next to me, her head on my shoulder, and just as I would feel her start to relax and fall into sleep, she would wake with a start and begin to shake and cry. Both of us were alert to every single noise, and all I could do to soothe her was to rock her like a baby and stroke her hair and tell her I was there. What an impotent feeling, knowing that I could not give my daughter what she needed; I could not restore her sense of safety and security, and I will never be able to give that back to her.
I worked for a few hours yesterday after taking all of the kids to Jacquie’s, but I couldn’t function. Lack of sleep, fear, adrenaline, and the combination served to make me feel slow and thick witted. We spent the afternoon at Jacquie’s, and I was able to take a nap, and then we went home. It was really hard to be there; even though he never got further than the living room, it still felt as if the entire house was tainted. We did up the dishes and dumped the garbage and such, trying to restore some sense of normalcy, but it was nearly impossible to do. We had already planned to sleep at Steve’s, but ended up going earlier than planned because it was just too hard to be there.
And that is the thing: I know that at some point we will HAVE to go back. We can’t live in fear the rest of our lives, we can’t just move in with someone else indefinitely. We are going to have to go back to living our lives, and I know that. Intellectually, I know that, but emotionally, well, that is a different story. I keep imagining how Hannah must have felt while all this was going on, and she keeps saying, “All I could think is that I wasn’t going to have a mom anymore,” which has to be a terrifying prospect. I feel physically ill at the vision of her huddled up under her sleeping bag with he
r head poking out, watching someone come into our house where I was asleep and not knowing what was going to happen. Selfishly, too, I feel afraid of what would have happened to me had Hannah not been so brave. The fact that he had a getaway plan in place already, the fact that they eluded the police, the fact that the fucker was standing a foot from my bed when my 15 year old daughter ran into the house to help me just terrifies me; he had obviously planned this, it wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing, and that intensifies the fear.
I don’t know where to go from here, I don’t know what to do. Eli is, in typical male fashion, completely over it; he thinks of it as more an adventure than anything else. Which actually pisses me off, because he was making fun of Hannah last night for being a baby, telling me, “I don’t know why this is such a big deal, nobody got hurt.” I am trying to be understanding, but really, I don’t understand his lack of concern. Steve says that it is because he is a guy, and guys don’t think the same way we women do. That guys don’t always have that underlying fear of being violated like women do (incidentally, most of the photos Hannah was shown were those of convicted sexual predators, with a few drug dealers thrown into the mix), so cannot really understand why something like this has such long term effects. And so I try to understand that, but I don’t.
The kids are all safe at Jacquie’s again today; I won’t let them be home alone yet, and Hannah doesn’t WANT to be. She needs to be around people who are totally there for her, who can help her work through this. She needs to have people who are going to let her talk, even if she repeats herself a thousand times. She needs people like Jacquie and Steve, who are willing to walk through the house with her and show her that all of the doors are locked, that the windows are secure. She needs me, too, but I can’t be with her during the day, so I am grateful that J. is there. I feel so proud of her, and so sad for her, and afraid for both of us. I know it is going to take time, but I just want to feel safe again.
I just want to have Sunday evening back again, so I could tell the kids no to sleeping in the yard. We had such a lovely weekend over the 4th, I just want to have that one evening back so I can change the outcome. I would tell them no, not tonight, and I would have the door locked, and this wouldn’t have happened. And yes, I know I can’t, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to.