9/20/2020 4:17:00 PM Guest Column Unforgettable Moment
Paulette Ballard Guest Columnist
Unforgettable Moment by Anne Michael
Have you been so scared or shocked that your stomach seemed to sink, or your heart raced with the anxiety something bad was about to happen? That rush through your veins and a heightened sense of needing to escape? I’m talking about that one particular time you’ll never forget. With difficulty in retrospect, I have often tried to describe my feelings during that most unforgettable experience. It had been a horrifying mixture of shock, anger, shame, vulnerability, disbelief. And yet afterwards it had become one of the funniest experiences I can remember. What a paradox!
I had had a part in a play produced by the Lincolnton Theater Guild, Scrooge. I was Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge’s housekeeper. After celebrating the last performance attending several cast parties, I had called it quits at midnight and headed for home, exhausted. I had taken off my old-maid costume and piled up the black dress, pointed ankle boots, gray curly wig and heaped them up in a corner of the bathroom; so followed the props - a set of false teeth and old lady specs. I forgot to remove my facial stage makeup enhancing old age – dark lines and shadows. Up close, I looked frightening. I was single, lived alone and my appearance would only scare the pillow.
I heard the doorbell ring several times around 10 a.m. the next morning barely acknowledging it. I looked at the clock. It was Sunday. Whomever, they were not expected nor was the persistent ringing appreciated. A realtor’s for-sale sign was posted in my front yard but a management service handled the showings first getting my approval. There were no showings scheduled. And even with my house key in a lockbox, no realtor could legally enter my house without a scheduled appointment. That was grounds for revocation of their realtor license. If it were family, they had my phone number. I lived in a waterfront home; it was 6,000 square feet with plenty of storage and a great lot. I had filled most of the closets with clothes, theatre costumes, art supplies and paintings. I was anxious to sell the home but not desperate. There was a small market for my home, the economy was bad, and few buyers would qualify. So every would-be buyer was precious. But I felt whoever was at the door unannounced would have to come back later. I hopped into the shower.
In a few seconds I heard voices in my house. I turned the shower off, opened the shower door and listened. Realtors were in my house! I heard realtor jargon. “OMG,” I said to myself. I looked in the mirror. “OMG” I repeated; black theatre makeup was smudged all over my face. My hair was filled with sudsy shampoo. I could yell out to the intruders but they were closing in fast and within seconds I would be facing them naked. I could not locate a towel immediately so I ran down the back hallway leaving puddled footprints. I hid in a closet in a nearby bedroom backing up through a double row of hanging clothes. I fell over an empty plastic storage bin that collapsed toppling me backwards onto the cold tiled floor. My legs were strewn over the bin. My feet faced the closet door. I lay shivering in sheer horror that someone would open the door, part the hanging clothes and find me naked. I heard the clicking of lady’s heels and men talking. The voices were louder and I could hear one lady’s insults. “Who the hell is this weirdo anyway? Expensive clothes in every closet, huge frog paintings stacked in closets, wigs, false teeth and wild clothes left on the bathroom floor. The TV is still on and footprints; do you think she’s hiding somewhere?”
I was afraid she would open the closet where I had sought refuge. She did but she slammed it immediately making another point of some sort. My blood was boiling listening to her complaints. “Just leave then lady,” I mumbled to myself. I wanted to jump out of the closet naked and scare them to death. It would serve them right for trespassing. My adrenaline was pulsing in my muscles. I wanted to punch that lady. Then as quickly as they entered, they sashayed out the backdoor yacking and complaining the whole time. I heard car doors slam. I crawled out of the closet, looked out the window and saw the intruders drive away in four cars. I took a deep breath. My heart was still racing. I’ll never forget those people yet I never saw their faces. I wish I had had the nerve to make their day just as memorable!