Seven days. Anxious in the house and just as nervous when out of it.
In the last week, my wife and I have been busy. We’ve paid visits to several neighbors and, I’m ashamed to say in some cases, introduced ourselves for the first time since we moved in the community over four years ago. We were surprised at how everyone was willing to talk about the incident and their anxiety. We were especially intent on trying to meet women who lived by themselves. The victim of the crime committed last week has not been home each time we’ve visited. I think we’ll keep trying until we can meet her. Over the weekend, we purchased and installed a new lock for the backdoor, put up faux wood blinds to cover the dining room windows, and installed a motion-activated floodlight for the back of the house. Security doesn’t favor laziness, and as my wife and I have found out, paranoia is a full-time job.
Last night, there was a community meeting where the police addressed everyone in our subdivision as well as anyone interested. From my wife’s account, it was a packed house with standing room only. I stayed home with the dog and to reset our wireless network since we moved the computer upstairs. But from what my wife told me, the police had nabbed a suspect for 7 out of the 13 burglaries.
“Just 7?”, I asked.
“Yes, he lives in the neighborhood. That’s how he knew when everyone came home, knew where all the single women lived.” She shuddered.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“Damien…Darrien Dwayne Bryant.”
“Yeah, a seventeen-year-old. But there was no way he was 240 pounds.” We were told by the cops that visited a week ago that the suspect that had committed the rape was large, 6′ 3″ and 240 pounds. “He looked pretty thin to me.” But my mind was still stuck on the name.
“I know Darrien.”
“You do? How?”
“We played basketball together.” My wife’s eyes were round as saucers. “I can’t believe he would have done those things. Oh that’s terrible.” My heart fell. Darrien ventured out a few times last summer and played basketball on my side of the subdivision because well, that’s where everyone came out to play. He played for the local football team and even though he was long and lanky, he was ripped with muscles everywhere. He wasn’t great at basketball, but was tall and strong enough to make up for any void in his skillset. I took a liking to him and always greeted him. If he was on my team, I never worried about our team getting the rebound. He didn’t seem dangerous to me– he liked my dog and knew our side of the street well. There were times when he didn’t seem so boyish to me, especially when he wasn’t smiling — it would be easy for others to dismiss him as a thug, I could see that, but it’s hard for me to picture him breaking into people’s homes and stealing from them, much less attacking women or raping them.
“I can’t believe you know him. They arrested him this morning. They’re not sure if he’s the one for the assault or the rape yet — they’re still awaiting results.”
“Are they sure it’s him, that did all the burglaries?”
“What’s the word they used…just cause? I don’t remember, but they found evidence to confirm it beyond reasonable doubt. They found stolen items in his house.”
“Oh. I guess that’ll do it.” I was disappointed that it was someone I knew and had interacted with. It made me wish I had known him more, tried harder to see what was under his ‘tough’ exterior. Maybe I could’ve been a part of his life. It made me wonder if perhaps the one reason why our house had gone untouched was just that, at least he knew who I was. “If he goes to jail. I’d like to visit him.”
“Honey, he’s going to jail. He’s charged with seven burglaries. He might not be the only one, they seem to think he will lead them to others, but he’s most likely going to end up in jail.”
“I’d still like to visit him.” She nodded.
Seven out of thirteen — which means there’s still a few missing pieces. I wonder if I know their names too.
The article in the paper says there were only 11 robberies, but my wife reported at the meeting that the number stated was 13 incidents. I don’t know if the assault negates a robbery or what. I can only say that there are no winners. My wife and I don’t feel that much better or safer. We just feel more fragile…but perhaps, as we’ve been praying, perhaps that’s a good thing.