Late Night Visitors

Mel O'Sullivan - January 25, 2021

If the bloke knew what was going on in my head at the time he wouldn't have knocked on the door. Certainly wouldn't have brought his kid with him.

0130 in the morning is not the time to knock on a Veteran's door and make demands of them. Usually when I have trouble sleeping I wake up between 1 and 3 am. For the past twelve months or so I have been re-training my body to sleep. Basically that involves getting out of bed and reading something boring in low light until I feel sleepy again.

I live in a place where it is not usual to hear men talking outside our house at 1.30 in the morning. Usually when we are expecting late visitors they drive in the gate with all lights blazing and clearly announce their presence before coming in the house. Last night I was quietly reading when I heard angry voices talking outside the house. I looked up to see hazard lights blinking on the road.

My heart started pounding and my hands started to sweat. I'm a peace loving softie, but I was immediately wide awake and planning.  I identified the voices of two men and heard steps walking toward the house.

Yep - I'm ex Army - I have two very powerful Maglite torches racked up by the door for easy & fast access (mostly for things like late night trips to the stables treating injured & sick animals). My mistake was in turning on the outside floodlights to see if I could see how many people were walking up the road. I turned off the lights in the hope that they would get the hint that they were not invited.

They didn't.

My working dogs started barking loudly and growling at the intruders - this is completely socially acceptable where I live and encouraged. They kept walking in. By that time I was wide awake and had my Maglite in one hand. The other hand was holding the screen door locked. My Jack Russell Terrier held them at bay on the edge of the verandah growling and barking.

A large man and his teenaged son (both unknown to me) walked up on to the verandah, politely and gently told me they had broken down and asked if I could give them a tow. I knew the phone reception was good where they were broken down and that they and their vehicle would be safe while waiting for pickup. Sadly I do not have suitable gear to help them and politely told them so. He clearly wanted another answer from me but they left peacefully. He did let loose with quite a bit of swearing as they returned to the car. I didn't like the tone of his voice.

At that point I started to shake. I'm actually glad I was already awake because I hate to think what kind of reaction a surprise knock on the door at that time of night may have triggered. After watching the breakdown for another hour or so I went back to bed and spent the rest of the night half awake. The dogs barked again once more during the night and I was half out of bed before I knew where I was.

I eventually woke up with a full blown anxiety attack well in progress which took me half the day and a full yoga session to get back under control. I saw a footprint in the dirt on my back verandah which set me off again until I sheepishly recognised it as one of my own. I've been jumping at shadows all morning and lost a days work.

My husband slept peacefully through the whole thing.

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