Yes, after many a dallying and a wandering, the ego has finally, wearily, at last, landed. I’m home.
While I’ve been gone the patches of mildew have spread, stippling the interior walls of my living room with greyish patterns like poorly printed, ancient maps of archipelagos. And instead of wallpaper, I have vertical stripes of black threatening to break through the drywall every couple of feet, the mark of something moisture-based and imminent on the other side of that gyprock. When I walked through the place, spiders scattered like confetti in a backdraft. Something left small mammalian footprints on my chair.
And then there’s the mess.
The mess is such that it took me fully five minutes to realize I’d been broken into. It wasn’t till I walked into the living room and saw the suitcase that I most assuredly hadn’t left empty (it was nice of them to unpack me, even if they only put it on the sofa; hell, that’s all I ever do, myself) lying, as I said, empty, in the middle of the floor, patiently waiting to be filled with booty.
Oh, speaking of boots.Do you want to know what they took? Yes, you do; of course you do. Don’t be too proud to admit it now. We all want to know what losses other people have suffered, if only to reassure ourselves that we, at least, haven’t lost our hammered copper vase.
I lost my hammered copper vase. Shit, y’all know how I love me some hammered copper. They took my mercury glass Gazing Ball out of it, and then stuffed it and some assorted other stuff I don’t specifically remember from my bookcases because you know what? I have a lot of stuff in my bookcases although somewhat less than before, into a bag or something but not the suitcase because HEY the suitcase was still there. Aren’t you paying attention?
They lifted up about $700 worth of solid silver engraved cuffs, threw them on the floor, and grabbed all my junk jewelry that was underneath them. Unfortunately, they also got two of my actual silver bracelets: one made by a friend and the other my charm bracelet that I’d had since I was 10 or so. They may or may not have gotten the very fancy silver lace bracelet with a different monument on each panel that my mother got in Paris on her honeymoon.
They got every. single. pair. of. my. high. heeled. shoes.
Not my patent leather cut-out open toed booties with the ribbon ties. No. Not them.
But yes. Yes. They got them.
AND my leopard print stilettos. Yes. REALLY. The leopard print stilettos.
Once I’d recovered (as if anyone ever could fully recover from that) and taken a quick spin around the rest of the place, I saw they’d grabbed pretty much every DVD I own, my late mother’s jewelry box, and, of all the perverse, bastardly things to steal, my Harry Potter books.
Bad enough, but could be worse. Could have been a lot worse. I could have been home, for instance, which would have ended badly.
Well, I got myself calmed down, picked the suitcase up, and left to spend the night at a friend’s house. A few days later, I returned.
No-one had cleaned up in the meantime. Damn.
I did get one ego stroke, when a few very clued-in Anons suggested it was law enforcement or similar, grabbing the DVDs and leaving the good jewelry to make it look like a junkie. Unlikely, but if that is, in fact, the case, someone tell Officer Friendly I would like my charm bracelet back.
And the family silver.
Actually, it’s silver plate, not valuable, and about six mismatched patterns: Art Deco geometry, swirly flowers on curvy stems, all kinds of things. Two pearl-handled butter knives with curly, engraved blades that fascinated me when I was little. A long, serrated, ivory-handled knife, always warm to the touch. Four sets of sugar tongs and pincers. A couple of tea strainers. An absinthe spoon. Two pickle forks. Three baby spoons, one mine, and a baby fork with Little Red Ridinghood on one side and “Marguerite” on the other.
Marguerite was my Great-Uncle Ernie’s daughter, who died before she turned 25 of diabetes. That was before the Second World War. I always thought if I had a little girl I’d call her Marguerite, and now I almost feel as if I can’t.
Uncle Ernie used to come and take us to the zoo every Sunday. He was the kind of old man who is never not described as “kindly,” and had been the last person to drive a team of horses for Weston’s bakery, the foundation of the Weston billions. They retired him and the horses at the same time, but none of them wanted to be put out to pasture, and the customers raised such a stink that the company brought them all back to clop down the streets of Winnipeg for another ten years, until the horses really were beat and he was ready to settle into his shabby-genteel apartment downtown. It was where my parents kept the wedding presents that were too delicate to have in a house with two rambunctious little girls. After he died, his sisters got in there and we never saw those again either.
So. The silver.
Dear B&E Artiste: I would like it back.
And if you knew what I was capable of, you would want me to have it.