The other morning I was driving up the lane, after school runs and dogs’ walk, when I saw my neighbours all outside in the middle of the road. Once they saw my car approaching, they started to walk towards me. One of them was barefoot and in his dressing gown. Something was not right.
I parked, and ignoring the wild barking of the dogs, who were not happy about being left in the boot instead of being free in the garden, I joined the little neighbourly crowd. Not that I had many other choices as they were unequivocally waiting for me. Their expressions were a mix of worry and puzzlement. Mine was too, I am sure.
“Are you ok?”. “Has something happened?” one of the neighbours asked.
In front of her questions, I was lost and standing there with idiotic expression, mouth half-opened without letting any word out.
“Your door was wide opened, and all the lights were on. I called for you, but you were not answering. I was afraid something had happened, or someone had broken into. I even tried to call and text you, but you were not answering your phone either,” she added a bit less worried and a bit more annoyed by my lack of acumen .
I still didn’t understand, but instinctively checked my phone and there were calls and texts, only the phone was still in silent mode. Then I instinctively turned towards the front door that looked correctly locked to me.
Still not speaking, I look at my other neighbour, who, despite being out in his dressing gown on a cold January morning, looked more rational:
“She came to me in panic, so I checked your house and then locked it. I had just got out of the shower and came out as I was.”
All the colours of the rainbow passed through my face. I felt so embarrassed and so so stupid. They had already caught me multiple times forgetting my keys on the door( from outside)….even overnight. Now they really must think I am brain dead.
Of course, I had a perfectly rational explanation for my umpteenth brain fart. That morning Clara got sick (a lot on my kitchen rug) right when we were leaving for school. I rushed to clean the most of the mess, and I threw myself the dogs and the kids inside the car. Ready steady go we went, so in a rush and, let’s admit it, so pissed, that I still have no recollection of leaving or switching the lights off and locking the door…..Well, maybe I don’t remember it because I didn’t do it.
While I am blabbing absurd explanations to my neighbours on top of excruciating painful apologioes, the dressing gown neighbour words suddenly echoed in my head:”I went in calling for you and when it was obvious nobody was inside i left locking the door…”
He went in….so he had seen the mess I left.
More embarrassment rose inside and out of me….the only thing I wanted was going inside my house and bury myself in my shame.
Except I didn’t have my house’s keys. I left them inside. Damn, I chased the dressing gown neighbour, who has my spare key and graciously asked to borrow them to open the door.
He didn’t say anything, but his grin spook by itself.
Once I was eventually inside my home, and the dogs were eventually out of the car, I didn’t have much time to indulge in my shame as I spent one hour and a half on my knees scrubbing the fecking rug and swearing.
-1always double-check if the door is locked
2-never again buy an under the table rug of such material (especially if you have old dogs)
3- if you are prone to clumsy forgetfulness just don’t be sensitive…..shame will be a recurrent feeling.