This weekend my wallet was stolen, along with a few other personal items, and my beloved Blackberry (and the 22 years of contacts within it), from the front stoop of my apartment building. It was among a pile of winter clothes I was taking to storage: just a clutch of bags piled high with indistinct sweaters, and a pink leopard tote bag filled with a tangle of plastic hangers. I was chatting with an array of neighbors from my building, 4 or 5 of us standing outside catching up a bit before we got on with our Saturday errands.
I left the group and headed up to the top of my block to get my car, drove around the block (waiting at traffic lights, sure) to come up my street. Before I’d even parked I could see that boxes of shoes had been taken, and my sunglasses. I got out of the car in a panic, ran up to the stoop to confirm what I’d seen, ran back out to the street racing partway up and down the block, trying to spot someone carrying a bright-yellow box of shoes (a ridiculous but amazing pair of Fendi heels, six inches high, that I could only walk in in my office; since I don’t have the job, I was putting them away, to treasure as a memory of the heights I’d reached). But I could see nothing.
In the next moment, I realized that the pink leopard bag was gone. And that my wallet had been in it (stupid me). And my Blackberry (stupid, stupid me).
I buzzed my apartment to conjure my boyfriend, sat down on the stoop and started wailing.
Terrible luck, terrible, terrible luck. All my neighbors wafted inside or went off for their activities just when I walked away to get my car. There are neighbors out on either side of our apartment building on the weekend most of the time. But not in the 7 minutes I was gone. A neighbor in my building saw a man come up on the stoop and root through the bags, but she didn’t think anything of it, such is our sense of protection in our idyllic neighborhood.
We’ve all heard how crime makes you feel violated, and I’m not exempt. But more than that, I feel loss piling on loss piling on loss. I know it’s not helpful to collapse my year’s struggles into a single formidable wall of despair, and yet, that’s what I feel. Whom do you want to call most when you have such a sudden, unfortunate event happen to you? Your parents. I wanted to call my parents, and yet, they were gone. And I couldn’t call my brothers, because their phone numbers are only in my Blackberry.
After filing the police report (and being humiliated for have left my belongings “on the street”; I had to keep politely correcting the officer that the belongings were by my front door, 25 feet from the curb, and that neighbors had been out, up and down the block, but her point had been made), I escaped into a movie, afraid of being home alone and disappearing into my agony. Then reconnected with my boyfriend for a few too many margaritas.
The next morning, I stayed in bed until 11:15am—something I haven’t done since I was about, oh, 27—because I was afraid to get up and face all the bad feelings.
But face them I must. And here they are, some of them. There are unspoken bad feelings ratting around as well, but I don’t want to write them down. I’m trying hard to rebuild my life, and pull myself up out of a deep depression, to relocate my sense of purpose and joy, to be open to what’s next, to permit myself to move into change if that’s what’s coming.
It’s tempting to feel like this was a nudge from the universe: a little push that says, “Who you are is not in that Blackberry.” A little push that says: “Those items you love so much and have infused with so much power aren’t meaningful.” A little push that says: “Feel the hurt and find the truth for you within it. Your story is not yet fully written. Keep going, keep going.”