The stillness of the night was broken by the familiar thud of a kitten dropping from the ceiling, a nightly occurrence since they grew brave enough to hurl themselves from the rafters after climbing in through a hole in the roof. I lay there agitated as Bear mewed incessantly, willing him to shut up, until I finally gave in and staggered out from beneath the mosquito net. Bear’s little white body shone through the dark, and I scooped him up and nuzzled into his soft fur before opening the backdoor and ushering him outside.
I woke again several hours later to sun streaming through the house and the clanging of metal plates as my landlady washed her dishes outside. Lee’s alarm clock beeped and I rolled over and pestered him to come for a morning moped drive with me on my newly rented bike.
Heading out the door I glanced back at the room, smiling at the sight of my tidy desk, looking forward to a day of productivity in my little home office as I continued with my new writing resolve.
We wound our way through the empty streets, the cool morning air whipping across our skin as my moped puttered along. My body buzzed with nervous energy; this was my first time behind the wheel in two months and I was feeling rusty, holding my breath as I wobbled around every corner. After a brief fifteen minute jaunt I shared Lee’s relief as I pulled up outside the house, and he headed off to work, still in one piece.
I walked back into the living room and made a beeline for the desk. My laptop was gone from its place on my new blue tablecloth; the power cable still running down to the socket where it was plugged in. Lee must have moved it before we left, I thought to myself, and began searching around the house. Or maybe he took it to work with him. I knew that was impossible though. You can’t exactly take a laptop canyoning in the jungle, and the laptop case still lay on the floor beside the desk.
My heart began to race. No, it couldn’t be… no way… how... I could see the backdoor was closed. Please let it be locked, please let it be locked, please let it be locked. I walked closer, a wave of panic rising inside me so fast I thought I was going to throw up. The bolt was pulled all the way back.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!
My mind raced back and I remembered blearily opening the door to put Bear out during the night. I had forgotten to lock it behind me.
I rushed outside to see if anyone was around, and gazed across an empty bay. Unsure of what to do next, I locked up the house and jumped back on my bike to find Lee. Tears streamed down my face as I drove. Idiot. Idiot. IDIOT. I reached Lee just as he was preparing to head off to the jungle and he clasped his face in frustration as I blurted out the bad news.
OUR LAPTOP HAS BEEN STOLEN!
We raced back to the house, my mind swarming as the reality of everything began to sink in. The memory card from our camera is still in the computer. We’ve lost all our photos. I haven’t backed up my work since October. We don’t have insurance. We can’t afford a new one. I’m totally screwed.
Lee ran inside while I rushed to tell my friends and neighbours, Jenny and Candace. I sobbed through my words as I told them what had happened and felt the energy draining out of my body as they wrapped their arms around me.
“Do you have ‘Find My Mac’ activated?” Candace asked. I did, and felt a small flutter of hope rising within me. She logged on to iCloud, but to our dismay we found the tracking system only works if the laptop is online, and my tiny flicker of light was snuffed out as quickly as it had been ignited.
I walked back into our house to find it full of friends offering their support, the police already on their way. Despite their positivity I felt a wave of hopelessness wash over me, and I sat on the porch playing everything back in my mind, kicking myself for being so stupid.
I remembered the quote I had posted on Facebook just the day before, and winced at the irony of the words. This was one door I wish I’d never opened.
The doors we open and close each day, decide the life we live.
- Flora Whittemore