What Do I Do Now?
Due to the numerous amount of emotions I have tangled up inside my mind right now, I am not sure how coherent this blog piece will eventually be. Usually, I’m feeling some sort of dominant emotion – sad, happy, angry, heartbroken – which translates into a cohesive and easy-to-follow piece for the reader. However, right now, I don’t even know what feeling is taking over my mind the most. Every emotion I am feeling right now – anger, frustration, confusion, fear, sadness – just seems like one big ball of, “What the fuck is going on?” I still almost feel like I’m sleeping right now – that this is all one big nightmare. You always hear about these types of situations on the news, or you watch it happen in the movies, but you never think it’s going to happen to you. You never think that someone will actually break into your home and steal thousands of dollars worth of items. You never think this will happen to you, until it does.
Last night I worked later than usual. I typically get home from work around 6-6:15 p.m. However, last night I did not arrive home until 7:40 p.m. I had a personal training appointment at 8 p.m., which happens to be with the gym located just down the block (about a 1-2 minute walk). My roommate also wanted to head to the gym tonight since she just signed up a few days ago. She arrived home just a few minutes after I did, around 7:45 p.m., and we were chatting a bit before we left the apartment. We left the apartment at 7:55 p.m., and I locked the door. I heard it click. And we were off.
My normal routine at the gym is to lift for about 30-45 minutes, then head over to the stair master or treadmill and finish up with some cardio. While I was still lifting with my trainer, my roommate walked over to me and said that she was going to start heading home. It was about 8:45 p.m. when I was about to start cardio and my roommate texted me saying, “The door was unlocked :/.”
“Wait… wtf,” I said. I was positive I locked it. I always wait to hear the ‘click’ since it’s actually a pretty tricky lock to figure out. We walked out together, so I knew she wouldn’t let us carry on without locking the door. I was seriously confused. “Was she accusing me of not locking the door?” I thought. But then my texting screen disappeared and an incoming call came through from my roommate. All I could hear was her hysterically saying, over and over again, “We’ve been robbed.”
“Maybe this is just a mistake. Maybe the landlord came in and needed to check on some things. Maybe we left the extra key with our friend Willy. Maybe she’s just joking around. Maybe… no, no, this is not real.”
I jumped off the stair master, grabbed my phone and my Beats, and ran to the locker room. My hands were shaking as I tried opening the lock to my locker. “What’s the fucking combo again?” My mind was racing and I couldn’t even remember my locker combination. Finally after the 3rd try, it snapped open. I threw my sweatpants and sweatshirt into my bag, threw on my winter jacket, and slammed the locker door.
I quickly pushed through the glass doors and sprinted out of the gym. It was still raining outside, and I was praying to God, “just don’t fall.” I wanted to grab one of the random guys at the gym and make them go with me, but I decided to just handle this on my own. I might be small, I might be short, but my anger and adrenaline made me feel like I was a pro football player running down the sideline. I was begging my roommate was okay, since I had no idea if anyone was still in the apartment. “Please God tell me she’s okay. Please tell me they didn’t hurt Aku.”
I walk through the first door, unlock the second door, and the third door (the front door of our apartment) is open with Aku crying, mumbling out words on the phone. I could tell she was still speaking with the cops and trying to utter out the facts: our names, our address, what’s stolen, etc. I looked in the apartment and realized immediately that things were pushed around. Our liquor bottles on the bar were moved and the second shelf was much more spacious than it was before. The items we had on the windowsill were moved to the top of the bar. And then, when I looked at the window behind the bar, I saw something. This is what ignited the shock in me where the blood started to rush to my face, my body felt numb, and my throat grew dry. A ladder was prompted up from the ground to our window. Someone climbed through our window, stole our stuff, and exited through the front door… all within less than 50 minutes.
Immediately after knocking out of my ‘deer-in-headlights’ coma, I ran to my room. My drawers were opened. My clothes were scattered across the floor. My Michael Kors purse which is always hanging up on the side of my wardrobe was thrown across my bed. My pillows were all disorganized. I felt like I was going to either throw up or faint. I wondered why I stopped crying already, but then again, I didn’t think this was really happening yet. But then I checked inside my drawers, and my laptop was gone. I checked my bed, and my iPad was gone. I checked the top of my dresser, and my rings were gone. I checked my bookcase, and my coin jar was gone. And lastly, I checked the drawer underneath my bed, and my underwear was gone. So not only is this person a criminal, they are a very disgustingly pathetic, perverted criminal.
“This isn’t happening. This is Astoria. This is one of the safer places in Queens. This is actually a “Dad-approved” place to live. I never heard of this happening here. Why us? Why why why why why why why….”
I stepped out of my room and looked at my roommate. Her face was covered in tears. Her eyes and cheeks were slowly turning to a darker pink color. I was still standing there, without any tears, and asked myself, “What is wrong with me? I can cry over a fucking Folgers commercial or some stupid Rom-Com movie but I can’t cry when I was just fucking robbed? What is going on?”
I asked her what was stolen from her room. She had her wad of cash stolen – $600 she was saving for rent. Her laptop was stolen from her desk. All her change/coin purses were emptied and stolen. Her three pairs of sunglasses were stolen. Her hard drive with her acting monologues were stolen. Her backpack that hung up in the corner was stolen. And lastly, a small vintage camera from her grandpa was stolen from our living room shelf. Some of these things can be replaced, but some of them, cannot.
The cops arrived quickly after Aku placed the call. Two gentleman came over and immediately started questioning us. We answered every question, over and over again, to each and every officer who came over. At one point, there were probably 8 officers in our apartment. We were strictly advised not to touch anything as it could be used as a print. That was the part that gave us some hope. There were obvious finger prints on our bar, the TV stand, and my dresser. The prints had a white residue (so we knew it wasn’t our prints) that we assume was caused from the ladder outside — chipped with white paint and rust. We used our phone lights in addition to the flashlights the cops were using to check the area.
It was an hour or two after the cops arrived, and I looked to my right and my older brother was standing there waiting to get into the front door. Anddddddd, there it was, there came the waterfall of tears drenching my face. The innocence and and concern on his face cut my heart like a hot knife to a stick of butter. He was still dressed in his overcoat and suit from work. I pushed over the officers and ran to give him a hug. I was crying on his shoulder and in shock that he came.
How did he know? Well, when everything first happened, I called my father who was in the same amount of shock that I was. However, I did not approve of my dad’s reaction when I said that we were robbed. My dad’s immediate response was, “Uh huh? How do you know?” And then… I lost it.
“HOW THE FUCK DO I KNOW DAD? MAYBE CAUSE ALL OUR SHIT IS GONE – MY LAPTOP – HER LAPTOP – HER MONEY. MY ROOM IS A MESS WITH SHIT EVERYWHERE OF COURSE SOMEONE WAS HERE! ALL YOU HAVE TO SAY IS ‘UH HUH?!?!?’ GOODBYE.”
Dramatic? Yes, since obviously not everything was gone. But of course he was just as shocked as I was. He called my brother and told him to leave work and go to my house. My brother was there when all my friends who I called weren’t answering or giving me blasé answers like, “Oh darn that sucks for you.” HAHA, no shit right?! Yeah, this all is just “darn” until it happens to you.
My brother stayed with us until the last two detectives left around 11:30 p.m. Before they left, they took mine and Aku’s fingerprints so they could make sure it wasn’t a match to the samples they swiped from the furniture. As the detectives were packing up their things, I said, “So what are next steps? Do we call you tomorrow? Do you call us tomorrow? When will you let us know what’s happening?”
Their answer: “There’s not really any ‘next steps’ right now. It takes a few weeks for the fingerprints to get processed back from the labs. If it’s a match to someone in our criminal database, then we will have a better chance at catching them. But until then, there’s not really much we can do. You can call the precinct if you haven’t heard from us in a while and would like an update on the case. Just stay safe and really try to observe your surroundings for now.”
Oh. So basically, what you just said, is that I just get to live in fear for the next few months of my life – correct? Since there’s absolutely nothing else to do right now except stare at the fucking wall all night since how the hell do you think we are going to sleep tonight?!?! What the actual fuck?!?!?!!
No, I didn’t say any of that. But that is exactly what I was thinking. I don’t know the ‘process’ of these things, and I never even watched any of those CSI shows or something. I honestly thought it takes just a few days or hours to match a fingerprint. WEEKS YOU’RE TELLING ME? Jesus. OH! And both of us are single as fuck – WHY CAN’T I HAVE A BIG, STRONG, MUSCULAR, PROTECTIVE BOYFRIEND FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE?!!?!?! I promise you, God, I’ll go to church every Sunday, I’ll stop drinking so much, WHATEVER-YOU-WANT, but PLEASE, just grant me some giant, muscular athlete to help me feel safe for a few months. I promise I’ll return him, but please, just let me feel safe again.
So here we are now, 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, and I’ve pretty much just zoned out for an hour to write this. I’m questioning what I even do tonight: do I go home or do I stay out? Do I wanna go home to make sure no one comes in? Or do I stay out because I’m scared of my neighborhood? Or because I’m scared of sleeping in a bed that has been polluted with some perverted villain’s hands?
What do I do now?
How do I feel safe again? How do I sleep again? Where should I go after work? Should I take off work? Should I call the precinct? Should I wait for them to call me? Do I cry? Do I scream? Do I even believe that this is really happening?
I will pray. I will be hopeful. I will continue to believe in Karma.
I will do the best that I fucking can to be okay, and that is the only thing I can do right now.