Throbbing limbs and aching joints registered their displeasure at the tiring journey Theresa had just subjected them to. But her heart was happy.
The women’s conference had been all she had hoped it would be, and more. There is a certain refreshing that comes from being in the presence of your Maker ― this week had been another reminder for her.
By the time she reached her front door, her stomach had joined the protestations. She could still see straight though, but it was with a bit of effort and strong will.
She ignored her disloyal limbs and joints and lugged her bags down her walkway.
Couldn’t you be just a little bit more patient? She chided the offending body parts. We’re home already and you can get all the food and rest you want. I think….
She started the hum a song she had learned at the conference. It was new, but it had stuck with her.
Then she stopped.
Someone was in her house.
She had not seen anyone. It was just this sense of knowing. For a moment, she panicked, as she tried to decide on a course of action.
Who could she call? She’d gone to the conference with her friends and they might be too tired to help ― maybe not, but at that point she couldn’t see it any other way.
And what would she say if she called the police? “There’s someone in my house”. “I didn’t see anyone. I can just sense it”. She wasn’t really looking to be THAT lady.
She dropped her bags and went to the back of the house.
On the very day she had brought her fiancé home, her grandmother had told her she was still a child with no sense. “Hide a key where no one else knows”, the woman had told her, “It might save your life one day”.
Theresa had taken it to mean her grandmother just didn’t like Jerome. She had even told her grandmother so but the woman had only regarded her with a look that wasn’t that easy to decipher ― was she hurt or disappointed that Theresa couldn’t see what she could clearly see? Or did she just feel sorry for her grandchild?
Theresa would never know because the woman had walked away, clucking her tongue and muttering something about teenagers with their heads in the clouds.
“I’m not even a teenager, and neither is Jerome”, Theresa had called out after her grandmother, “We’re in our late twenties”. But the woman had simply refused to discuss the subject further, even after years of prodding.
That was twenty-five years ago.
It only took a few years after her grandmother passed for the woman’s meaning to be crystal clear ― or had her meaning always been clear but clouded by hope and expectation? Looking back, that was probably the case, although it was still not that clear. But they did always say they were a family of dreamers, and that they believed the best about people.
Her grandmother had always said they did it without common sense. Again, it was not until after her passing that they understood her meaning.
But Theresa had always taken her grandmother’s advice to heart. The woman had practically raised all her grandchildren as they were always with her ― almost more than at home with their parents. Everyone knew the plans for every holiday. And when you started to act like you had no sense, everyone knew where you were sent….
“Grandma always knows best” was a joke among Theresa and her cousins as teenagers, but as they grew older it was easy to see that it wasn’t that far from the truth ― it was almost like she was a prophet. But she said it was just common sense.
So just like her grandmother had told her, Theresa had always hidden a key where no one else knew. And that’s how she had come home early from work sick, and had found another woman in her house, claiming to be her husband’s wife.
Had her grandmother always known that Jerome was wont to dash hopes and mock expectations the way he had?
Theresa retrieved the key and approached the kitchen door as quietly as she could. She took off her shoes as they weren’t helping her course of trying to be as quiet as she could. And then realizing she needed something to defend herself with incase she needed to, she picked up one. Deciding a plywood weight wooden wedge wouldn’t be very helpful, she dropped it, looking for an alternative. When she didn’t find anything that wasn’t too heavy or too dangerous, she picked up the shoe again.
“Anything is better than nothing”, she muttered, trying to convince herself. I miss my stilettoes days.
She said a short prayer before inserting the key and unlocking her kitchen door.