Yesterday was a mess of emotions. I ran the gambit of fear to rage to generalized anxiety over how this was all going to turn out. I was home alone again that night, as my husband was still travelling for work. Although I had told the kid to come back at exactly 6:00, the fact that he had shown up at 9:15 the night before wasn’t very reassuring to my anxious mind.

In the last two years in my neighborhood, there had been at least two fatal home invasions. Although they had not been on my street, one of them was close enough for us to hear the gunshot. Each time, there was no sign of forced entry, and our poor excuse for a local paper was dismal in its disclosure of details. One is left to assume that it was between two criminals,  a drug deal gone bad or something along those lines.

But of course, my mind went to the worst case scenario. The articles in the paper did not articulate whether the lawn had been mowed recently or if the deceased had an outstanding check for a paltry amount. I was convinced that these deaths had been unresolved due to lawn-mowing disputes with these neighborhood hooligans.

Knowing that this night may very well be my last, I decided to work a bit later, leaving the office at about 4:45. I tried to resolve any outstanding issues in case someone would have to come in and deal with my work when the little monster showed up with a weapon and shot me for a measly $25.

I called a friend of mine, one who always carries a knife and won’t take shit from anyone to see if she could come over. She was going to the gym until about 7:00, but would come by after. That made me feel a bit better, even if she were a bit later and this kid was in the process of robbing my house as I lay dying, she could deal with him, of that I was certain.

Considering that it might be my last meal, I went to the Korean BBQ place and ordered my favorite meal. Although the woman at the counter was incredibly sweet, another customer was giving her a hard time about a smell that she found unsavory. Of course, she waited until after her food had come out and she had finished berating her two young children for *gasp* playing with their chopsticks.

To be honest, I had no idea she was complaining about a smell, but she wanted to speak to someone from the kitchen. While she was quietly complaining, I mentioned to the woman who took my order that whatever the woman had ordered smelled amazing (because it did), and the complainer’s ears perked up.

“You smell it too?” She said. I thought she meant her entree, and I said, “Oh yeah, whatever you ordered smells amazing!” Based on her reaction, I realized she was complaining about a smell from somewhere, and didn’t like being invalidated. I wasn’t about to back her up, because I didn’t smell it, and also, I like the very nice Asian lady who was putting my order together. I’ve learned never to screw with the people who prepare your food.

A few awkward minutes later, my order was ready and I took off toward home and my probable fate. I enjoyed the meal as a prisoner facing the electric chair would. The sides that she selected for me were all my favorites and it was like a bit of good karma for being nice in spite of the negative woman’s attitude. I kept an eye on the clock, figuring that any minute the little shit would show up and it would be go time. I ate in silence, feeling not unlike a scene out of a Tarantino movie.

Six o’clock came and went, and I busied myself with a YouTube playlist that I had prepared earlier in the day. Eventually, my friend texted me that she would be over shortly and I told her the little shit was a no-show. After she arrived, I felt better, having backup and a person who can keep me grounded. She stayed until 9:15, and then I decided the coast was probably clear for the night.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder what the deal was with this kid. Did he really have the check? It was pouring rain all day, so perhaps if his claim was legit he would wait for another day to bother me. Was it a scam? I couldn’t tell. But the check has still not been cashed and that unresolved issue was still hanging out in the ether. Whatever the truth is, I may never know until one of these brats shows back up with my check, if that ever happens. But at least today I get to fight another day.