On the third attempt the car doors locked and she was able to turn towards her back door.  She was so ready to be home.  The day had been one of those that didn’t have anything really bad in it, and didn’t have enough good all the same.  Everything she’d set out to do had been just too challenging or had one too many barriers between her and success.  As the gate swung shut behind her she felt the weight of her to do list settle onto her shoulders.  She would be better equipped to do all the things once she was home and fed.  It had been a rough food day, too, and all she had to show for ‘lunch’ would have fit in a kindergartener’s lunch box and would have caused quite the scandal amongst the parents.  She was a grown woman and, as a result, could declare a meal out of a Rice Krispy treat, some Fritos, and a cup of coffee.  And she had today.  The lack of calories and protein was contributing to her used up feeling right now and she knew it.  Home, dinner, and work awaited her, even if her husband didn’t.  As she slid the key into the lock she let the second weight settle on top of her – she missed him.  He’d been gone for 4 days already and wasn’t due back for 5 more.  She relied on him so much that his travels always put her in a foul mood.  After a big sigh, she turned the key and entered her home.

The shock hit her hard and fast.  Everything was wrong.  The orderly home she’d left that morning was gone, replaced by sheer chaos.  The cabinet doors were open, the drawers pulled out, broken china all over the floor.  She froze, just across the threshold, trying to take it all in.  What had happened?  What should she do?

Her keys fell out of her suddenly sweaty hand and their clattering noise made her jump.  As she slowly knelt down to pick them up, it occurred to her that she wasn’t sure she was alone.  Her hand closed around her keys and she felt a sharp pain in her palm.  Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as she turned to look down, searching for the cause of the pain.  When her eyes locked in on the bright red blood that had sprung to the surface of her hand time seemed to speed up back to real time.  A shard of china had caused the pain when it got captured up in the retrieved keys.  With her hand steadier than it should have been, she pulled the shard out without dropping the keys again.  She grabbed a thin towel from an open drawer and tied it around her hand as she stood up.  She didn’t make a sound as she carefully backed out of the kitchen and closed the door behind her.  She was almost in a trance as she walked back to her car, unlocked it, got in, and locked the doors.  She was in shock as she pulled out her phone and, too calmly, called 911.

“911 operator here – what is the nature of your emergency?”

“My house has been robbed.  It might still be happening – they might still be in there.”

“Your house is being robbed?  Is this 3365 Clinton Ct?”

“Yes.  Yes, it is.”

“Are you somewhere safe? An officer is on the way.”

“I’m sitting in my car right behind my house.  I’m bleeding.”

“Ma’am, I need you to stay on the line with me until help arrives.”

“That makes sense.  I don’t think I want to hang up just yet anyway.  What if they’re still in the house?”

“The officers will be there shortly, as will an ambulance for you.”

“I think I just need a Band-Aid.  I know exactly where they are.  We have more than one box, you know, so there’s always a Band-Aid within reach.”

“Can you see the ambulance, Ma’am?  Tell me when you can see it or the police car.”

“I think I’d rather like some dinner.  That’s what I was going to do – heat up some leftovers.  I wonder if I should do that now?”

At that moment, the air became full of two sets of sirens, one from the police car and the other from the ambulance.

**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**

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